Last night, on a whim, I baked a batch of macarons. This would probably be at least the 10th batch I have ever baked, if not more. I didn't have any aged egg whites on hand so I had to use fresh ones despite many recipes warn against using fresh egg whites. I tried to compensate this by adding egg white powders to the fresh whites. The point of using aged whites is that some of the moisture would be evaporated in the course of aging thus better for forming the meringue. I have not seen any differences personally since I seem to fail even with 5 days old whites.
Macarons use an incredible amount of sugar because macarons are essentially meringue, which consists of just egg whites and sugar. Ignorantly, the first time I attempted macarons, I cut the requisite sugar in half and not surprisingly, I had a batch of rough skinned and feetless maracons. Since then, I have been desensitized to the amount of sugar when it comes to macarons.
Last night's batch was perhaps my most successful batch yet. All of the macarons grew feet, albeit tiny feet. The skins were beautifully smooth, and most importantly, most of them came off my silpat without leaving much behind. Since I started my macaron craze one month and a half ago, my grandma and I have been studying each of my batch in order to pinpoint the mistakes. We ultimately agreed that the problem lies with the oven temperature. I have toyed with different oven temperatures from 280F to 320F. I have also tried both convention baking and convection baking. Ultimately, I settled for 320F in convection oven with the door ajar slightly.
Everytime I browse through blogs like Tartelette, Cannelle et Vanille, Veronica, Mad Baker etc and looking at their beautiful tall-feet macarons, I can't help but take out another egg white to age. I hope that one of these days, before I use up all the eggs in the world, I can also achieve macarons as beautiful as theirs.
Here I post some useful links to different macaron recipes and tips:
The recipe/ratio I used in this batch was from Syrup and Tang.
**Please excuse my below-quality photo. I gave my usual camera to my grandma to bring to Canada because her camera broke a while ago and she wanted a smaller and more portable camera. So from now til I get a new camera, I will be using my 10 years old camera for all my culinary exhibitions. For some reason photos taken from this camera seem darker and has a bit of orange hue, so I had to tamper a bit with it in photoshop.