Macarons require the pans be perfectly clean without any oily residue. Using an old stainless steel pan with oily residue can ruin your macarons, even if you made the batter perfectly.
If you’re having trouble baking your macarons, you can use fresh parchment paper on your aluminum baking pans. The parchment paper will hold back as much oil as it can.
Another option is to use a Silpat on top of your aluminum baking pans. A Silpat is a silicone baking mat that helps the macaron spread out to be flatter and rounder than using parchment paper. A Silpat is designed for even heat distribution to bake your macarons. It is considered the gold standard for baking commercial macarons.
Nordicware makes an aluminum baking sheet with high sides on the edge of the baking pan. The Silpat fits directly inside the baking sheet right to the edges.
The high edges of the pan allows the Silpat to stay in place when banging out the air bubbles of your macarons. The Silpat ensures the macarons do not move around like parchment paper does.
I’ve been using Nordicware aluminum baking pans for over a year now, and I’ve had a lot more success making macarons with them over stainless steel. I used to use an old stainless steel pan, and the moment I switched to aluminum I have had consistent success baking macarons.
Nordic Ware’s natural aluminum baking pan has very high edges, which makes grabbing the pan out of the oven much easier.
The baking pan is designed that silicone baking mat’s will fit perfectly inside the edges of the baking pan. There is no part of the baking pan that isn’t covered by silicone, therefore you can pipe the maximum number of macarons onto the baking sheet.
For a half sheet, you can fit 40 macarons shells piped onto the baking sheet. This will create 20 filled macarons.
Typically 1 batch of macarons makes 40 filled macarons, therefore it’s best to have 2 half baking sheets.
Piped macarons need to be on a baking sheet, and a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
The air bubbles need to be removed from the macarons before baking, this is usually done by banging the bottom of the baking pan. Another option is dropping the baking pan onto a flat surface to remove the air bubbles.
How to clean aluminum baking sheets used for macarons
To clean your aluminum baking sheets, soak them with soap and water and wash with a cloth until clean.
Allow the pan to air dry completely before storage.
Do not wash aluminum baking sheets in the dishwasher as this can cause them to oxidize and break down.
Macarons need their aluminum pans to be perfectly clean. There can be no oily residue present on the baking pan. If there is, the macarons will absorb the oil and will not turn out. The macarons will be sticky and under-baked, or will not turn out at all.
If you’re having trouble removing the oily residue from the aluminum baking pan, pour very hot water on the pan, and this should remove the oil from the baking pan.
Americolor has an array of gel paste colors that only use a tiny amount to give a batch of macarons a burst of color.
Strong color using a small amount of food coloring
Use only a toothpick amount of gel for every batch of macarons
bright and dark colors available
no separation of the color
color spreads evenly
squeeze bottle – ergonomic and economical
Americolor’s “student kit” comes with every color of the rainbow to get you started. It even comes with black just in case you want to make some cookies and crème macarons.
When you’re coloring macarons, you need to add more color than you think. As you add the meringue, the color will become lighter than the initial macaronage batter.
Typically you need to add the food coloring to your egg whites, then add your icing sugar and almond flour. Then you will add the meringue.
The meringue will dilute out the color since the batter will become larger.
Make sure to use more color and make it darker initially that you would like the macarons to have. It will take some practice to make sure you get the color you’re looking for.
You can even use the gel paste color to paint on macarons after they have finished baking. Emulsify the gel food coloring with a bit of almond extract and paint the food coloring onto the macarons.
Can you use regular food coloring in macarons
Macarons cannot use water based food coloring as the liquid will interfere with the consistency. Macarons have a very specific liquid to dry ingredient ratio. By adding liquid food coloring to the macaronage batter this will throw off the recipe and unfortunately, the macarons will not turn out.
How do you add food coloring to macarons
Use a toothpick to obtain a small amount of food coloring.
Add food coloring to your initial egg whites. Mix the color well until it fully emulsifies into the egg whites.
Add in your sifted and measured almond flour and icing sugar.
Mix together until combine. The consistency should be a paste at this point for macarons. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate all of the almond flour and make it a uniform color throughout the macaron mixture.
What can you add to macaron shells other than food coloring
dried and crumpled roses
Adding a dusting of food decoration to the top of your macarons before they dry. Right after piping your macarons you can add a little of the above foods to your macarons and let them dry for 30 minutes before baking them. It will add a pop of color and flavor to your macarons.
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The best silicone pastry mat is the Silpat silicone pastry mat. They are one of the most durable and long-lasting silicone pastry mats.
Silpat silicone pastry mats are able to be used 2000-3000 times before needing to be replaced. You should only need new pastry mats every 10 years, depending on how often you bake.
Silpat silicone pastry mats have one of the highest tolerances for heat in the oven. Usually silicone pastry mats are only good up to about 420°F before they start to deteriorate. Silpat pastry mats can be used up to 500°F in the oven.
Silpat silicone pastry mats come in a variety of sizes that fit perfectly in a baking sheet.
Silpat baking mat sizes
Full Sheet Size, 16-1/2″ x 24-1/2″
Countertop Workstation Mat, 15-1/8″ x 23″
Half Sheet Size, 11-5/8 x 16-1/2
Toaster Oven Baking Mat – 7 7/8″ x 10 7/8″
Octagonal Microwave Size Baking Mat – 10 1/4″
Cake Liner Round 9″
Silpat temperature range
Silpat’s can be used in the freezer and up to 500°F in the oven.
What to use Silicone Pastry Mats for
Silicone pastry mats are special because they can be used to create fancy chocolate decorations in the freezer, and be used in the oven to bake macarons.
Silpat silicone mats allow macarons to spread wider, which produces more of a rounder and flatter macaron. Silpat silicone pastry mats are commercial grade, and are used in bakeries worldwide. Since the Silpat produces the ideal macaron that is round and flat, this gives macarons a more professional look to them.
Silpat pastry mats can be used in the freezer to create unique chocolate decorations. You can pipe chocolate directly on the Silpat and then place it in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Gently peel the chocolate decoration off of the Silpat mat and it’s ready to use.
Silpat pastry mats fit perfectly in a baking sheet. Instead of using parchment paper to line your baking sheet, you can use a Silpat pastry mat. Silpat pastry mats work very well when baking foods like croissants and scones.
Silpat silicone pastry mats can be used to line a baking sheet to prevent the baking pan from getting quite dirty and difficult to clean.
How to clean a Silpat silicone baking mat
The silicone has a non-stick coating to it, which makes it very easy to clean. Wipe the Silpat mat clean with a cloth soaked in soap and water. Rinse the Silpat with hot water.
Silpat silicone mats need to be perfectly clean without any oil residue on them to be used for macarons. If you silicone mat has an oily film to it, use hot water to remove the oil effectively from your silicone mat.
Blanched almonds have their skins removed. The skins contain oil. If you were to blend almonds together with their skins on, the oil leaches out of the skins and creates an almond paste.
If you blend blanched almonds together you get an almond flour. The almond flour made by using blanched almonds is a crumbly and fine texture.
Is almond flour the same as ground almond?
Almond flour is made with blanched almonds, whereas ground almonds have their skins on them still. Ground almonds contain oil making it an almond meal. Almond flour has the almond skins removed when they are blended, therefore it’s more of a dry, crumbly texture.
Why are macarons made with almond flour
Macarons are made with almond flour because it creates a smooth, velvet, chewy texture for the macaron shells.
The almond flour texture creates the melt in your mouth feel to it when you bite into them.
Almond flour combines well with the meringue making the macaron batter smooth and thick, ideal for piping.
How to make almond flour for macarons
Take approximately 1 cup of blanched almonds and place them in a food processor.
Blend on high until finely grounded.
Scrape down the sides of the food processor.
Blend on high again until completely ground into a fine, crumbly texture.
Sift your almond flour and measure for your macarons.
Be sure to sift the almond flour again when you go to make macarons, just in case they clump up again by the time you use them.
You can also sift your icing sugar with the same sifter.
Icing sugar clumps up into balls of icing sugar. You want your icing sugar to be like powder, aerated, and feel like dust when you mix your macaron batter together.
The ExcelSteel Heavy Mesh Colander is built keeping in mind best practices for ergonomics. If you’re someone who bakes a lot of macarons, this is the sifter you’ll want to save your hands.
Handles on both sides – easy to hold steady while sifting
Made so it can rest on the top of a bowl
Stainless steel – strong, resists wear and tear, dishwasher safe
Are there other reasons to use a sifter
A sifter increases the surface area available for mixing to the liquid ingredients. This means the ingredients will be more evenly spread throughout the mixing process, creating a balance of flavors and textures.
What is a sifter used for
A sifter is a kitchen accessory that usually has a handle and metal basket. The basket has metal criss crosses creating a bowl shape that allows small pieces of food to pass through.
This breaks up chunks of food into tiny pieces.
The process of sifting adds air and lightens the food (flour, icing sugar).
This is especially important when making a cake. This allows the cake to cook with small air bubbles throughout the cake. The cake has a bouncy feeling when you push your finger into it. You can feel and taste the difference of a cake that has had the flour sifted.
When do you measure your ingredients, before or after sifting
Measure your ingredients for baking always after sifting. Sifting aerates the food, making it lighter. If you measure beforehand, you could be putting too much of the ingredient in your recipe.
Why do you measure your ingredients after sifting
This is the accurate measurement. Spoon the sifted ingredients into a bowl on your scale to get the weighted measurement.
Even when baking a cake where you are using your measuring cups, you need to spoon the sifted ingredients into your measuring cup. Then level off the excess with the back of a knife (flat edge). This way, you will not be packing your flour into the cup and may inadvertently over-measure the amount of flour and then have your recipe not turn out how you want it to. Too much flour or not aerating your flour will result in a dense cake which will be difficult to chew. It wont give you that light, spongy texture that you picture when you’re eating cake.
How much should you sift at once
Only ⅓-½ full basket
Otherwise, your flour or icing sugar will go over the sides and make a huge mess.
How do you use a sifter
Fill your basket ⅓ – ½ full of your first ingredient.
Move the sifter side to side using your hands.
Tap the edge of the sifter gently to let the food fall into the bowl.
For excess food that isn’t coming through the sifter – the dregs of the last bit – discard this. Don’t try to force it through.
Spoon and measure your ingredient – either with a scale, or with a measuring cup and level off with a knife.
How to clean a sifter
Bang the excess into a sink or into the garbage can
If it’s very dirty, wash it with soap and water. Allow to dry fully before using. Never use a sifter when it’s still wet.
Only sift and measure one ingredient at a time
Use your sifter over a larger bowl than you think you need
Don’t overfill the sifter – this will take more time than if you only sift a little at a time
Use a spoon to gently measure out your sifted ingredient
Think about your own ergonomics when selecting a sifter
Do you want an extending handle
Do you want handles on the side
How big are the holes for what you’re sifting – do you need small or large holes
How large of a sifter do you want
The larger the sifter, the bigger the bowl needed to catch the sifted food
What foods can you use with a sifter
Flour (almond flour, all purpose flour, bread flour)
Icing sugar (powdered sugar)
A sifter is one of the tools you need in the kitchen at certain times – making a cake, macarons, etc. Select a sifter for your kitchen that you know will work for the desserts you will be baking, and that will last a long time. You will have your sifter for years to come.