Macarons: You CAN use store-bought egg whites!

How to use store-bought egg whites for macarons

I've been toying with this recipe for almost a year now. At first, it was general annoyance at having to wait days, aging egg whites and trying to use up leftover yolks. But after failed attempts, near misses, and almost successes, I became obsessed. There had to be a way to wake up in the morning and just make macarons. It shouldn't be weather dependent, aging egg-whites dependent, or anything else - just grab your ingredients, use solid techniques, and go.

So let me review. Ever since I started making macarons (it took several attempts to get to my basic recipe, check out The Great Macaron Challenge) I've been particular about my egg whites, aging them, loving them. Most macaron recipes will tell you to do the same. If they make mention at all to 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 don't have the strength to hold the structure of a meringue, people claimed it would never work.

Undeterred, I used my basic recipe, substituting pasteurized egg whites for aged egg whites and had promising, but not perfect results. So I tried again, and again, and again. Basic flavors, complex flavors, higher baking temps, lower baking temps. I kept plugging away until I cracked it. Until I could make repeatable quality macarons.
The trick? Adding fresh egg whites to the store bought. A standard large egg usually gives me about 30g of fresh egg white. My recipe usually started by separating 4 eggs, aging the whites for a least a day (preferably 2) and finding something to do with those yolks. This recipe can be made with just 1 freshly separated egg white combined with the pasteurized store-bought whites to make 120g total. They take a while to reach full volume and I think it is easiest and fastest when you start out with 2 good fresh eggs. Start there and once you get experienced with the feel, then pull back down to one. I also consistently used Organic Valley pasteurized egg whites. I tried a couple other brands but can't recommend anything besides the Organic Valley, I found them to whip into meringue fastest and most consistently.

Boozy Epicure's Updated Macaron Recipe
Makes about 120 shells or 60 cookies

240g powdered sugar 
150g almond meal (or any nut flour combination)
50g caster (superfine) sugar (or granulated sugar run through the food processor)
120g egg whites (all aged or pasteurized mixed with fresh)
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
7g dehydrated egg whites

Start by prepping 4 half sheet pans with parchment paper or silpats. Have your piping template (I downloaded this one from yumarama ages ago and love it) ready to go as well. I don't know about you, but I cannot pipe consistently sized and shaped macarons without a template. Also prep your piping bags with plain round tips. I use disposable wilton 12" bags, this recipe fills two bags and pipe 4 sheets.

Start by weighing out your powdered sugar and almond meal and placing in your food processor. I like to process mine for a full minute to get them mixed and break down any lumps. Sift the mixture into a bowl and move on to preparing the meringue.

Measure the caster sugar and dehydrated egg whites into a small bowl and combine. 

Measure your egg whites into a large bowl. Combine the pasteurized and fresh whites by mixing them with a whisk by hand. Whisk in the cream of tarter then move to the hand mixer. Start the hand mixer on low speed and once the egg whites are foamy, start adding the sugar/dehydrated egg  mixture a little at a time. Once the mixture is added, up the speed of the mixer and beat until the whites are as close to stiff peaks as you can muster. I never get as tall or big a meringue as I do when I start with aged whites, but you should be able to get them sturdy enough to do the old school trick of turning the bowl upside down without the mixture running out.

Top left: the clear whites are fresh, the opaque came from the container. Bottom Right: Macaron batter at ribbon stage.
If you are using food coloring*, add it now and fold it gently into the meringue. Once it is incorporated, start adding the almond/powdered sugar mixture. I like to do this in 4 additions. Put some of the mixture in and gently fold together. One trick with macronnage, instead of using the spatula to cut into the mixture and fold, I like to rotate the bowl and scoop from the bottom and fold over itself. I feel like it is more gentle on the meringue.

*A note on food coloring. For several months I was having a very difficult time with my colored shells browning on me. Turns out I was using food coloring that wasn't heat stable. I changed to the brand Ameri-color and not only does the color hold better, they don't brown, and since the gels are more concentrated, they didn't disturb the batter ratios the way other food colorings did.

Once the batter is mixed and coming off your spatula in thick ribbons (whatever you do, don't over mix!) add it to the piping bag and pipe your macaron shells onto the parchment or silpat with the template underneath. Once they are piped, remove the template, pick up the pan with both hands, and tap it formly on the counter a couple of times to bring up/pop any air bubbles in the piped cookies.

**Preheat your oven to either 300  or 350 degrees F.**

What's awesome about this recipe is that I had success baking these macs using either my traditional method of 300 F for about 17 minutes, or the Pierre Herme method at 350 for 12 minutes, opening the door to release steam at the 8 and 10 minute mark.

Whichever baking method you prefer, while your oven is preheating, let the shells rest until they have a skin and do not stick to your finger when you touch them. If your batter is correct, this should take 30 minutes or less, no matter how humid it is outside. I've found that when my piped shells took longer to get the skin, it was always a sign I had made a mistake, either too much liquid (from food coloring or excess egg white) not stable enough meringue (from under beating egg whites or over-mixing the batter) or recipe proportions wrong. This causes either cracked shells, or thin, crunchy feet, or no feet at all.

From what I've read, convection ovens really help you get that meringue cooked and dried out without over browning your shells. I don't have a convection oven (yet!) to test that theory, but if you are worried about browning, you can also put an empty cookie sheet in the top oven to shield your macs.

When they are done baking, let them cool, then sandwich the shells around the filling of your choice.  Buttercream, chocolate ganache, jam, and caramel make tasty fillings. I tend to pipe the filling as well. These need to rest 24 hours in the fridge so the cookies can mature (freshly baked macs are crunchy, that soft delicate texture comes from the filling softening the shells.) After they've matured, eat 'em up! They also do well in the freezer for longer storage.

Silpats vs Parchment
I use both. The silpats give you a little more ruffle in the foot, the parchment macarons tend to be a little taller. I honestly done't think it makes much difference.

Top: Parchment, Bottom: Silpat

Special Flavors
For most macs, I make the plain shells above with food coloring and rely on the filling to give me flavor.

For the rose macarons above, I made the filling from 2oz of butter, 2oz cream cheese, 1/2 tsp rose water, 2 tsp rose syrup, pinch of salt and 1 tbslp heavy cream all whipped together with powdered sugar to taste.

For pistachio macarons, I replace 40g of the almond flour with pistachio flour (or finely ground raw pistachios) as well as use a bit of green food coloring. For the filling, I use the same 2 oz each butter and cream cheese, 1 tsp finely ground raw pistachios, 1/2 tsp almond extract, pinch of salt, 1 tblsp of heavy cream and powdered sugar to taste.

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