January 13, 2010

Chewy or Moist Macarons?

I'm getting obsessed with the texture of my macarons. I made some macarons with mango and lychee mousse filling for the Mactweets challenge and they were quite soft. Basically my macarons used to be pretty chewy and I was trying to figure out how to get them more moist and soft and now they're TOO soft and almost falls apart when you bite into them. For the life of me, I can't figure out the changes I did other than always trying to lower the sugar content, changing ovens (since I moved), or maybe it's just English eggs!

Ok, let's take them one by one. I think the most consistent thing I've been trying to do is to lower the sugar content. I started baking using the basic recipe at Syrup and Tang though I can't remember which one but I think the ratio of egg white : almond : castor sugar : icing sugar was 1: 1.25 : 2.3 : 0.3. This meant that the total sugar content was 2.6x of the egg whites. I found that too sweet and now I use a basic recipe which is 1 : 1.3 : 1.7 : 0.5 which is a total sugar content of 2.2x. So is sugar the main determinant of how chewy or moist the macaron is? Since a macaron shell is basically a meringue with ground almonds, i.e. a meringue with less sugar will result in a less stable and softer meringue as opposed to one with more sugar. With less sugar content in my macarons, I was weakening my meringue structure, resulting in a softer shell. Does the type of sugar and the proportion matter? Perhaps I should be using more castor sugar in whipping the meringue and reduce the icing sugar, thereby keeping overall sugar content the same but with a stronger meringue for a harder finished product.

However, there are a couple of other observations I made - when they come out of the oven and are still fresh, the shells are chewy. Even after a day in the fridge (plain shells sans filling) they are still chewy (too chewy in fact). It is only after I fill them, stick them in the fridge to rest, take them out and bring to room temperature that they start softening. Now what does this mean? Perhaps it is the moisture in the filling that is the main cause of the softening of the shells? But then again, previously I did the same (fill them and let them rest) and they were chewy.

Or could it be the oven temperature and cooking time? According to Syrup and Tang, a too chewy macaron is the result of overbaking (too long or too hot), which means I might be underbaking my macarons currently (@135C/convection or 150C/convention for 14 min). Or it could be just the macaronage (mixing method), or too little almond meal. The variations are endless!

This is why I'm obsessed and going nuts. If anyone knows why macarons are chewy/moist, let me know. I'm going to have to experiment much more but it's so much effort making multiple batches! Going macaloon-y!

7 comments:

Foodie said...

I had the same issue with chewyness! however i have recently read that this is due to over cooking/high temperature! i guess it melts the sugar too toffe almost!

Janine said...

Hello!

I'm just starting out on my macaron journey, just like you did a few years ago and I'm encountering some of the problems you described in this post!

I was just wondering - did you ever find out why your macarons turned out chewy? I've tried changing the temperature, the sugar:almond ratio but they still turn out quite chewy! :(

Do let me know if you did find out, thanks :D

heavenwildfleur said...

Hi Janine! I found that the temperature that I use now i.e. first preheated at 180deg then turned down to 150deg (with fan) works for me. I found that actually if I let it rest at least one day before eating them, they turn a lot more moist (with the fillings inside them). The longer you leave it, the softer it gets. I'm guessing that the moisture seeps in through the environment and filling and makes it less chewy. Hope this helps you!

Janine said...

hey thanks for the reply! do you keep them in the fridge with the fillings or outside? I'm in Singapore too, so I'm afraid humidity might rear its ugly head :S

heavenwildfleur said...

Yeah definitely keep them in the fridge. In London I keep them in the fridge too. Only take them out abt half hour before serving to rest to room temp.

Janine said...

Hey I tried keeping it in the fridge and taking it out for an hour before eating and indeed it's less chewy :D thanks for your help! Now onto tackling the root issue as to what made it chewy!

JigsawJones said...

I just tried these for the first time and mine are super chewy as well. Luckily, I have a second batch going in soon, and since I've read this, I'm going to lower the temp in the oven and try not to bake for too long. We'll see how it goes...

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