Macarons - Can you use store-bought liquid egg whites? My first attempt.

Using store-bought egg whites for macarons
Friend or foe to the french macaron?
I am breaking the rules today. 

If you are like me, every time you make macarons you have to figure out what to do with all those leftover egg yolks. There are entire blogs dedicated to just that question. Yes, I've made pasta and custards and carbonara, but come on, sometimes you just want macarons without having to deal with wasted yolks.

*This was my first attempt using store-bought whites. Click here for my updated recipe and post. 

But as I perused the grocery store and saw the above package, I thought, no way. Ever since I started making macarons I've been particular about my egg whites, aging them, loving them. And for good reason, every macaron recipe will tell you to start by separating eggs. If they make mention at all to the above pasteurized egg whites, they will tell you officially not to use them. I had held to this hard and fast rule myself. The fear? Liquid egg whites are pasteurized, which I'm guessing means those same proteins that you rely on to hold the structure of a meringue, are compromised by the heat required to pasteurize them.

And then I started reading the reports. I had heard that there were people actually making macarons out of store-bought whites. I still hadn't seen these "mystery macarons" myself, much less tasted them. But I thought it was worth a test. If nothing else, before I swore of liquid egg whites forever, I could at least say I had tried using them.

So I bought the package and got to work. I was going to make pistachio macarons, using the french meringue method, since that was my go to, most solid recipe. Today was not the day to play with crazy food coloring combinations or make super fancy fillings. I just wanted to see if doing what I do normally, I could use this product. I got all of my ingredients together.

To say I was turned off when I opened the package was an understatement. These liquid egg whites were very liquid, and an oddly tan color. But nevertheless, I forged ahead.

These certainly don't look like egg whites to me?
They got relatively foamy right away. That was a good sign. But then I kept mixing and it seemed like nothing was happening. So I kept mixing. Finally, with much more mixing than ever required before, I started seeing a meringue. I never quite got the peaks or volume of the past, but I got a basically stable meringue to form.

Okay, it wasn't a complete bust, something was happening.
This was as far as these babies would go.

 So I added my food coloring and began my macronnage.

2nd addition of dry ingredients.
Batter almost done.

And they piped like normal.

Piping bags ready to go.

 But how would they end up? Baking time was coming, and baking macarons is the trickiest part.

I set my oven for 300 F, waited for the skins to form on my macarons, then popped the first tray in.

After about 10 minutes, they were looking awesome, beautiful tall feet, I was excited and hopeful. But after the next five I saw the previously tall tops had sunk. Something wasn't right. The meringue wasn't holding. I was going to have hollow shells, or worse, collapses.

Collapsed shells. So sad.
They also browned a bit, but that was the least of my worries at this point. I figured it was time to try a different baking technique. I was going to follow Pierre Herme's way, starting them off at 350 F and opening the door to the oven to release heat and steam. The result...much better.

So now I had completely cooked shells without hollows, cracks or collapses. But they were still browning too much. I had one tray left. Once more chance for glory. I moved my oven rack lower and waited for it to come up to temp, then put my last tray in.

 Oddest result - these were the brownest tray yet. But still, no hollows, no cracks, no collapses. My only thought is that I put my third tray in too soon after my 2nd, so the oven was kicking up heat to get it back to temp, and I had put them closer to that direct heat.

Trays 1, 2, and 3, all in a row...
So there you have it. I have to admit that I'm surprised the liquid egg whites worked as well as they did. They make the batter a little more wet, but I think that with some practice baking, I could get a better result.

And the flavor? Honestly, the difference between the liquid egg whites vs separating them myself in terms of quality and texture, pretty darn close.

Close enough that I want to experiment some more and see if I can't get this method perfected.

***Note: after a full 24 hours maturation, a few comments on the texture. The liquid egg white macarons seem to straddle right in between traditional french and italian macarons. They are definitely more toothsome than traditional french.

So what do you think? Have you tried making macarons with liquid egg-whites? Any differences in your results?

This subject has been updated! Click here for my updated recipe and post. 

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