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Mandarin Chocolate Macarons (FAILPROOF Recipe!)

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Get macarons right! This recipe will give you the perfect macarons with smooth and shiny shells that will melt in your mouth, leaving you with a subtle mandarin and chocolate taste. No drying time needed! Video tutorial, step-by-step photos, useful tips and techniques are provided for foolproof French macarons.

Ahh, macarons! You’re in love with their delicate chewy texture and crisp outside layer that melts in your mouth but you dread making them? I’ll tell you my unusual story!

The first time I’ve ever made macarons was around 7 years ago. Here in Belgium – being located near France where macarons are very popular – you can find them pretty much everywhere, supermarkets, bakeries, shops… However, when I moved to Australia 7 years ago, I started baking a lot of sweets, bread, and pastries as I was missing those from home. I usually am more into cooking savory dishes as I’m used to simply popping into a bakery and grabbing whichever patisserie I feel like. But my time overseas taught me how to make all these homemade.

Someday I probably came across some macaron photos and thought “why not?” making this. I did not even read extensive articles about its preparation, just found a recipe and went ahead. Trust me or not, my very first macarons came out perfect, with smooth shells, macaron feet not too high not too low, and no crack. Back then I had very little idea about how notorious these little treats were regarding how difficult they are to succeed!

A few years later, making macarons for the second time… they came out flat, cracked with barely any feet. This is when I began reading the hows and whys macarons are so complex to achieve perfectly. Egg whites not firm enough, too much macaronnage or not enough, atmosphere too humid, oven too high, almond powder too coarse… Multiple criteria must be respected to succeed at making macarons, along with practice.

What is the difference between French, Italian and Swiss meringue?

French meringue is the simplest and quickest one to make but is less forgiving in terms of mistakes. The meringue is more delicate than the Italian one. Its consistency is mellow inside and crispy on the outside. This method consists in beating sugar and egg whites together until you obtain airy and firm egg whites.

Italian meringue is a little more technical and consists in heating up sugar and water to make a syrup poured into egg whites while beating. A thermometer is used to control the temperature of the syrup. It is the most stable of all meringues. In terms of taste and consistency, the Italian meringue is sweeter and less chewy than the French one.

Swiss meringue is an in-between the French and Italian methods in terms of complexity. This technique consists in beating egg whites and sugar over a bain-marie for the start then finishing out of heat just like the French meringue. As a result, the egg whites become very dense and shiny. Its consistency is more firm, and less delicate than the French meringue.

Which equipment do I need to make macarons?

  • scale – you cannot do without a scale, ingredient quantities cannot be approximate. It is not recommended to use cups and spoons for measuring.
  • food processor – not necessary if you buy almond powder already finely ground and made specifically for macarons. But for general almond powder from the store, it is always safer to use a food processor to grind it further and get it as fine as it can be.
  • hand mixer or stand mixer – compulsory for beating egg whites, don’t even consider a whisk you will not get whites firm enough even with the strongest muscles in the world. Note that some stand mixers even at their maximum power aren’t powerful enough to beat very firm egg whites. A trusted brand for this purpose is Kitchenaid. Hand mixers on the contrary always work well but require you to stand and hold it all along.
  • piping bag + nozzle – to pipe out the meringue, you will need a nozzle with a large round tip. I use a 1 cm / 0.4″ diameter nozzle. Avoid using a nozzle smaller than 7mm / ¼ inch.
  • spatula – necessary for the macaronnage process (folding the meringue)
  • sieve – to ensure a smooth meringue, almond powder and icing sugar must be sifted to remove any big chunks.
  • baking paper – lay macaron shells either on baking paper.
  • baking tray (optional) – I like to use a perforated baking tray, it helps air circulate better.

What ingredients do I need to make macarons?

  • almond powder – sometimes you can find very coarse almond powder in some supermarkets. Make sure you buy the fine one. Some patisserie tool shops even sell extra fine almond powder made specifically for macarons.
  • icing sugar – known as confectioners sugar in the US. Do not use any other type of sugar, granulated / caste sugar is too coarse.
  • egg whites – do not use cold eggs just out of the fridge. Egg whites must be at room temperature. Cold white is harder to raise and beat and tends to spread out while baking.

NOTE: separating egg whites from yolks 24h in advance isn’t compulsory. It did not make any difference for me.

  • caster sugar – make sure to buy the extra fine sugar.
  • gel food coloring – the best food coloring for macarons is either gel or powder. Do NOT use liquid food coloring, that will liquefy your meringue.

Top two crucial tips to avoid failing macarons!

So many things can go wrong when making macarons. However, I found that the biggest mistakes usually occur either because egg whites are not sufficiently beaten, or because of too much or not enough macaronnage.

Draw particular attention to these two points for successful macarons:

  • firm whites: beat the whites long enough so that they get firm enough. You know that they are firm enough when the whites agglomerate in the middle of your whisks. Even if your whites already hold when turning your bowl upside down, do not stop beating if whites have not agglomerated in your whisks yet. The whites won’t be firm enough, your meringue will likely be too runny.
  • the macaronage: keep checking every time you fold 2-3 times if the meringue is slowly falling in like a ribbon. Then directly place the meringue in the piping bag and pipe out the macarons. If you do not fold enough, the meringue will be too thick. If you fold too much, the meringue will be too runny. In both cases, macarons won’t come out as they should. This is the importance of checking regularly if the meringue falls like a ribbon.

Do I need to leave macaron shells dry for an hour before baking?

I used to rest macaron shells dry for 1h at room temperature so that they develop a ‘skin’ before baking. However, I now found a quicker technique. Preheat your oven to 120°C (250°F) once preheated, turn off the temperature but leave your convection fan on. Place macarons in and let them take a shower, meaning leave them in for 2 minutes door open. After 2 minutes, turn the oven temperature to 130°C (265°F), close the oven door and start baking. This process replaces the drying time at room temperature and actually gives your shells a shinier look.

Oven temperature and baking time vary depending on your oven

Baking time and temperature can vary from oven to oven. You may possibly have to run a few tests. My oven is particularly strong, so I bake at 130°C (265°F). For the average oven, you could try baking at 140°C (285°F). As for the timing, it varies between 10 and 14 minutes. Here too, make a few attempts if required. Macarons are cooked when they come off easily from baking paper. If they are too sticky, bake them longer.

How to make perfect French macarons?

Make the chocolate ganache

  1. Chop chocolate into small pieces.
  1. In a saucepan, add cream and mandarin zest. Bring it to a boil.
  1. Pour the cream over the chocolate and combine together until smooth.
  1. Add in the mandarin juice. Mix well together.
  2. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Make the macarons

  1. In a food processor, add almond powder and icing sugar then process to make them as fine as possible. Do not overmix or it could become a paste.
  1. In a mixing bowl, add egg whites and caster sugar. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat on medium-low for 3-4 minutes or until big bubbles disappear. Increase to medium-high speed and keep beating for 3-4 minutes. Add in the orange food coloring here. Increase to high speed and keep beating until you see the meringue becomes very firm. When sufficiently firm, the meringue should agglomerate in the middle of the mixer whisks and you should obtain firm peaks when taking the whisks out.
  1. Sift all of the icing sugar/almond powder over the meringue. Discard any remaining bits.
  1. Using a spatula, start the macaronage process. Fold the meringue with the spatula against the borders of your bowl. No need to be gentle. This process will help break bubbles and smooth the meringue. While folding, keep checking the consistency of the meringue. You can stop the macaronage (folding) once the meringue falls very slowly as a ribbon.
  1. Preheat the oven to 120°C (250°F). Use convection mode.
  2. Prepare your piping bag (a 1 cm nozzle is great for macarons). Fill it in with the meringue.
  3. Lay some baking paper over your macaron template – you can download it here – and secure the sides of the baking paper to avoid it from slipping. Pipe the meringue out holding your piping bag vertically. Then cut the meringue by doing a quick circular motion to stop it from running.
  1. Transfer the baking paper and macarons onto a baking tray. Tap the baking tray several times on a bench. That will get rid of extra air bubbles and smooth out the macaron surface.
  1. Place the macarons in your preheated oven. Turn off the heat to 0 but leave the convection fan on. Leave the oven door slightly open (2-3cm / 1 inch) and let the macarons dry for 2 minutes (* Note 6). This will dry the macaron shells instead of leaving them dry at room temperature for 1 hour. This process also gives shinier shells.
  1. After 2 minutes, close the oven door, increase the temperature to 130°C (265°F) (* Note 5) and let the macarons bake for 10-14 minutes (depending on your oven) – my oven requires 13 minutes.
  2. Once baking time is up, turn off the heat and leave the macarons in the oven with an open door (2-3 cm / 1 inch) for 2 minutes.
  1. Take out the macarons. Let them cool down. Macarons should come off easily from the baking paper. If sticky, they’re undercooked.
  2. Use a piping bag to fill them in with chocolate ganache.
  1. Place macarons in the refrigerator for at least one night, to give them some moisture. They’re best after 2 days left in the refrigerator, the ganache will moisten the macaron shells.

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perfect macarons with smooth and shiny shells filled with madarin chocolate ganache

Mandarin Chocolate Macarons

Get macarons right! This recipe will give you the perfect macarons with smooth and shiny shells that will melt in your mouth, leaving you with a subtle mandarin and chocolate taste. No drying time needed! Video tutorial, step-by-step photos, useful tips and techniques are provided for foolproof French macarons.
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 13 minutes
Servings: 25 macarons
Calories per serving: 83kcal
Author: Emma Choi

Equipment

Ingredients

meringue

  • 100 g almond powder
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 80 g egg whites at room temperature
  • 80 g caster sugar
  • orange gel food coloring | or powder food coloring (* Note 4)

chocolate ganache

  • 65 ml cream
  • ½ mandarin zest
  • 90 g dark chocolate
  • 25 ml mandarin juice

Instructions

Make the chocolate ganache

  • Chop chocolate into small pieces.
  • In a saucepan, add cream and mandarin zest. Bring it to a boil.
  • Pour the cream over the chocolate and combine together until smooth.
  • Add in the mandarin juice. Mix well together.
  • Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Make the macarons

  • In a food processor, add almond powder and icing sugar then process to make them as fine as possible. Do not overmix or it could become a paste.
  • In a mixing bowl, add egg whites and caster sugar. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat on medium-low for 3-4 minutes or until big bubbles disappear. Increase to medium-high speed and keep beating for 3-4 minutes. Add in the orange food coloring here. Increase to high speed and keep beating until you see the meringue becomes very firm. When sufficiently firm, the meringue should agglomerate in the middle of the mixer whisks and you should obtain firm peaks when taking the whisks out.
  • Sift all of the icing sugar/almond powder over the meringue. Discard any remaining bits.
  • Using a spatula, start the macaronage process. Fold the meringue with the spatula against the borders of your bowl. No need to be gentle. This process will help break bubbles and smooth the meringue. While folding, keep checking the consistency of the meringue. You can stop the macaronage (folding) once the meringue falls very slowly as a ribbon.
  • Preheat the oven to 120°C (250°F). Use convection mode.
  • Prepare your piping bag (a 1 cm nozzle is great for macarons). Fill it in with the meringue.
  • Lay some baking paper over your macaron template and secure the sides of the baking paper to avoid it from slipping. Pipe the meringue out holding your piping bag vertically. Then cut the meringue by doing a quick circular motion to stop it from running.
  • Transfer the baking paper and macarons onto a baking tray. Tap the baking tray several times on a bench. That will get rid of extra air bubbles and smooth out the macaron surface.
  • Place the macarons in your preheated oven. Turn off the heat to 0 but leave the convection fan on. Leave the oven door slightly open (2-3cm / 1 inch) and let the macarons dry for 2 minutes (* Note 6). This will dry the macaron shells instead of leaving them dry at room temperature for 1 hour. This process also gives shinier shells.
  • After 2 minutes, close the oven door, increase the temperature to 130°C (265°F) (* Note 5) and let the macarons bake for 10-14 minutes (depending on your oven) – my oven requires 13 minutes.
  • Once baking time is up, turn off the heat and leave the macarons in the oven with an open door (2-3 cm / 1 inch) for 2 minutes.
  • Take out the macarons. Let them cool down. Macarons should come off easily from the baking paper. If sticky, they’re undercooked.
  • Use a piping bag to fill them in with chocolate ganache.
  • Place macarons in the refrigerator for at least one night, to give them some moisture. They're best after 2 days left in the refrigerator, the ganache will moisten the macaron shells.

Notes

1. the two most crucial points are:
  • firm whites: beat the whites long enough so that they get firm enough. You know that they are firm enough when the whites agglomerate in the middle of your whisks. Even if your whites already hold when turning your bowl upside down, do not stop beating if whites have not agglomerated in your whisks yet. The whites won’t be firm enough, your meringue will likely be too runny.
  • the macaronage: keep checking every time you fold 2-3 times if the meringue is slowly falling in like a ribbon. Then directly place the meringue in the piping bag and pipe out the macarons. If you do not fold enough, the meringue will be too thick. If you fold too much, the meringue will be too runny. In both cases, macarons won’t come out as they should. This is the importance of checking regularly if the meringue falls like a ribbon.
2. almond powder: grind it quickly in a food processor helps the powder become as thin as possible, for an increased chance to obtain smooth macaron shells.
3. caster sugar: adding sugar all at once to the whites or adding them in several batches gradually does not make any difference. To make it easier, add it all at once before starting.
4. food coloring: food coloring quantity highly depends on the brand you’re using. Some brands are more pigmented than others. For macarons, use either gel or powder food coloring. DO NOT use liquid food coloring. It may liquefy a little your meringue.
5. oven temperature: baking time and temperature can vary from oven to oven. You may possibly have to run a few tests. My oven is particularly strong, so I bake at 130°C (265°F). For the average oven, you could try baking at 140°C (285°F). As for the timing, it varies between 10 and 14 minutes. Here too, make a few attempts if required. Macarons are cooked when they come off easily from baking paper. If they are too sticky, bake them longer.
6. drying macarons: quite a lot of people tend to let macarons dry out for an hour before baking them. Instead of doing this, I dry macarons in a preheated oven, door open, for 2 minutes. This is a technique used by famous Youtuber and macaron artist Sugar Bean. It reduces the drying time and actually gives macarons a shinier shell. And, quite frankly, waiting an hour or not to dry macarons out did not make any difference to me.
7. ingredient quantities: cups and spoons are not appropriate measuring tools for recipes such as macarons where quantities have to be exact to the point. A scale is necessary.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1 macaronCalories: 83kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 2gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.001gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 7mgPotassium: 36mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 42IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
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