Ok, I’m being hard on myself. This is, however, a journey of learning. If I’m not critical of myself, how else will I learn?
What I made yesterday were very basic macarons. I want to get them right before I start playing with colours and filling flavours. They’re getting better. However, they’re hollow. I realized that almost immediately upon taking them out of the oven.
There are things I definitely did right. The texture is great. The flavour is amazing. They’re just…. hollow. That said, the macaron on the right, the one with the cocoa and chocolate ganache, is better than the macaron on the left, apart from being slightly underbaked. What’s the difference? Well, the one on the right is from the first batch of macarons baked. The oven was a touch hotter than subsequent batches. Lesson learned: set the oven at a touch higher than 250ºF. The oven needs to be closer to 325º than 300º (don’t forget – my oven runs about 50º hotter than indicated).
Here’s what Natalie, over at Love and Macarons writes:
To get rid of hollows aside from the batter making, you need to make sure your oven is the right temperature. Raising up the temperature a little higher than 300 (my recipe) if your oven thermometer says it is not actually 300 will help. I bake on the middle-high rack, since my heat is mostly from the top. I use a convection oven as well. You also need to bake them a little longer, like 13 minutes. This will prevent hollows and ensure a stable inside. However, the trade off is that you will have crispier macarons than normal. If you have a high-moisture filling, it will disappear with a day or two of maturation. If you have a low-moisture filling like buttercream, you can additionally brush the bottoms of the macarons with milk or whatever will go with your flavor, like jam or coffee. This will help maturation proceed faster, and your once-cripsy macarons will turn into fluffy, soft, chewy confections.
And this quote from Not So Humble Pie
Overall, after testing several batches of macarons under different conditions, I found that temperatures in the range of 270-310°F for 15-20 minutes produced the best results (in my kitchen, mind you). The lower you go the longer you’ll need to cook them. Minding them carefully as should you go too low and too long, you’ll make extra-crisp meringues not macarons and they’ll require a prolonged maturation to become proper macaron cookies. Too low and too brief and your cookies’ will have hollow shells since the insides will never dry out enough to set and then collapse while cooling. While testing progressively lower temperatures (towards the 250-275°F range) I also noticed that the cookies were more likely to be hollow.
So, the conclusion I’ve come to is that I’m doing everything right but I need to monitor my oven more closely.The same post that the above quote came from also linked to the video below. It shows the process very well, especially how to blend the sugar/almond into the meringue.