Today I’m sharing another set of goodies I made for the Holiday Party we just hosted. If you missed the first post in this instalment, you can get the recipe for the 30 Minute No-Bake Panna Cotta Dessert right here.
These festive red shells were made by adding a generous amount of Americolor’s “Super Red”. About 4-5 drops will do the trick. I find Americolor’s gel colouring to be very stable when baked and I don’t lose too much of the colour in the baking process. When I first started baking macarons, I often heard that you need to add a LOT more colour than you actually need because the colour will fade after baking. After baking many a batches with Americolor, I haven’t found any problems with my shells losing its colour after baking. One of the interesting tidbits that arose in the discussion some of my IG baking friends had on one of my posts was that certain gel colour brands just don’t work as well. Another issue I can think of is that when shells get over-baked, they also tend to “lose” it’s colour because it has started to brown. So watch out for those two issues. One, you’ll need to get yourself some quality gel colours and two, you’ll need to know how to use your oven properly to bake macarons. Click the link to read that post.
Another coveted aspect of a picture-worthy macaron is the round and smooth shell. Here are some tips to achieve that plus a YouTube video I made in case you wanted to watch it instead.
TIPS for rounder, smoother macaron shells:
- Always use blanched (skinless) almonds to make the almond flour
- Always grind your almonds with the sugar to prevent it from become too buttery or gummy. Here’s how to grind your own almond flour.
- Grind store-bought almond flour too! This will remove clumps and further refine it.
- Always sift the almond mixture to aerate it and isolate large pieces.
- Discard what can’t be sifted.
- Pipe with an injection syringe for more control See it in my YouTube video and buy it here.
- Pipe shells onto a silicone mat for rounder shells.
- Make sure your meringue is stiff enough. If your batter is weak and too soft, it doesn’t hold a nice round shape when piped.
- Fold the batter well enough but don’t overdo it. The shells also get bumpy when it’s over mixed.
- Rap the tray hard against the counter to pop any trapped air bubbles
- Use a toothpick to pop any leftover air pockets (See this step in my Youtube video)
- Let the shells dry until they have developed a “skin”. This will prevent them from cracking in the oven.