I’m writing this post to help the wonderful people in the vegan meringue Facebook group. All of my experience with making vegan macarons has been with the recipes created by Charis at Floral Frosting. If you need anymore help or information about making macarons, she posted a great video here. I’m going to attempt to outline my method, which varies a bit from Charis’s and then give a few pointers on how to avoid some common problems. This is not meant to be a complete guide to vegan macarons, just my experiences!! Also, remember no matter how they turn out, they’re still delicious!
2. Sift together 1 and 1/4 cup almond meal and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a large bowl. Try to scoop and level your cups, don’t pack anything down.
Edit: I now weigh out 125 grams almond meal and 65 grams powdered sugar. I’ve tried increasing the amount of powdered sugar with disastrous results. Grind any large bits that don’t sift in a spice grinder or food processor, then sift into bowl. Discard any large bits that don’t sift.
3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and draw circles about 1.5 inches in diameter on the underside of the paper. (Also not necessary, but it helps keep size consistent.)
4. Make sure your bowl and whisks for making meringue is completely clean. If you have a stand mixer, use a balloon whisk. I use a hand mixer with beaters, and it works fine. Start whipping aquafaba until soft peaks form. Add a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar and beat until fluffy.
It should be stiff enough that it doesn’t move if you tilt the bowl at all.
5. Start adding sugar one tablespoon at a time. I beat for at least thirty seconds after every tablespoon to make sure it’s completely blended in. I use 7 tablespoons, because I had problems with my meringue collapsing with more.
Edit: I now add 8 tablespoons, but realized my half cup is actually 9 tablespoons. My meringue turns out stiffer when I add slowly rather than all at once. Continue whipping for another 5-10 minutes until meringue is very stiff and glossy peaks hold when you pull the beaters out. This is the time to add colors/flavors if you want them, but be light handed as the extra moisture can affect the batter.
It should stay inside the bowl without moving if you tip it upside down.
6. Sift in half of the almond/powdered sugar mixture. Use downward strokes to fold into meringue, and when it’s mostly incorporated, sift in the other half. Fold a few more times until mixed in.
7. Start macaronnage. I use my spatula to flatten batter against the side of the bowl and scoop up from underneath.
This can take as few as 10 strokes or as many as 25, depending on how much you originally folded the meringue. It’s safer to undermix the batter than over mix, as it will warm up from the heat of your hands in the piping bag.
Edit: I’ve had a few batches where my meringue was so stiff it took more than 35 strokes. The count really depends on how strongly you’re mixing and how much you originally folded.
8. Twist the end of a piping bag closed after attaching coupler and a large tip below (I use a Wilton 12. ) Pour batter in, and when you are ready to pipe, close the top of the bag and untwist.
Mine start with tips that start to settle after a few minutes.
10. Smack the baking tray on the counter a few times to loosen up any bubbles and help form feet.
If any tips are still poking up, use a moist finger to press them down.
Rest for 2 or more hours. I like to have a fan blowing on the tops. You will know the tops are done when they are dull and spring back when you touch them.
11. Preheat oven to 210°F (100°C.) When it is preheated, bake on the top rack for 30 minutes (start at 20 minutes for smaller shells), then turn oven off and leave door closed for another 15-30. Open the door a crack to let them slowly come to room temperature.
Feet will usually form for me within about 10-15 minutes of baking.
Edit: I bought a new baking pan and have successfully baked for 20 minutes at 225°F then left the door shut for another 15 minutes with good results.
12. Let the trays cool completely. LET THEM COOL COMPLETELY. Seriously, stop touching them. When they are COMPLETELY cool gently peel the paper off the bottoms of the shells.
13. Top shells with filling of choice and match a similar sized shell to the top. Refrigerate for 24 hours to let the magic happen. They will absorb the moisture and be much better on the next day than they are immediately.
• No Feet- this can be many things. Undermixed meringue, overmixed or undermixed batter, too much humidity, not a long enough bake time, not. Long enough rest time, or not big enough taps on the counter. They are formed by the moisture of the cookie escaping as steam out the bottom, so you want the shells to be nice and tough on the top to withstand the upward momentum of the steam.
• Insides are hollow- oven was too hot or batter was not mixed long enough to release most of the air. Or the batter was too thick and the inside sunk to the bottom while the tops puffed up. Egg based macarons have this happen sometimes as well.
• Insides are not cooked – increase cooking time by 5 minutes or try starting with a preheated oven. Could have possibly had too thick of a batter – reduce almond meal in the next batch.
• Insides are too crunchy – reduce cooking time by 5 minutes or give them 24 hours to absorb filling and soften slightly.
• Batter is too thick – too much almond meal (scoop and level, don’t pack) or your meringue was not stiff, but liquidy. Or you used cornstarch instead of powdered sugar. Don’t laugh, I did it.
• Batter is too thin- you overmixed during the macaronnage, or had too much meringue to begin with. There’s not really a fix, but try baking anyway, they will still taste good! This batch was a bit too thin, but worked out anyway.
• Insides stick to the paper- cook 5 minutes longer, try preheating, and WAIT for them to cool. Make sure you are using parchment paper and a gentle hand. Sometimes this still happens to my middle few macarons, but no one will notice once the filling is in them!
They still taste just as good, either way!
More macaron pictures: