The first thing to know about making macarons is that it is way harder to successfully make them than it may seem.
It is almost better to start with what not to do, so that you know exactly where you can go wrong and avoid those problems as much as possible.
While we won’t be covering the entire macaron-making process from start to finish today, we will give you a little help with one of the major steps: piping!
So, how do you pipe macarons? The best tips we’ve found for piping macarons include: using a template, holding the piping bag properly, squeezing the piping bag from the top, finishing with a “flick” off to the side of each macaron, and eliminating bubbles before, during, and after piping.
Continue reading the article below for more details on these tried and true methods for piping perfect macarons!
How Do You Make Macarons?
Macarons can be very finicky, but with some practice and the right tools, you too can successfully whip up some beautiful macarons to impress your friends the next time they come over!
It begins with what is called the “macaronage,” a French patisserie technique that involves mixing the ingredients together in a certain way to create a smooth batter for macarons.
After going through all of that effort, using the proper piping technique is absolutely essential when making macarons because the ingredients used are very delicate and the desired result is very specific!
After the bases are done baking, they are sandwiched together two at a time with a filling, usually some type of buttercream or ganache.
The ideal macaron will have a slightly chewy texture, which is why it is so important to get the piping right!
Tips For Piping Macarons
The macaron shell is arguably the most important and recognizable component of the macaron. You definitely want to pipe it correctly so it will bake well!
After surveying several of our baking aficionado friends and watching countless macaron videos on YouTube, here are the top tips that we’ve gleaned for piping the perfect macarons.
1. Use A Template
This is the first tip on the list for a good reason. As the saying goes, you don’t need to “reinvent the wheel,” especially when it comes to making macarons — just make sure you find the right size to fit whatever baking sheet you plan to use.
There are tons of free templates available online or you could try making your own and print them off. Otherwise, if you prefer a reusable option, you can even buy a silicone baking mat with a macaron template already on it!
The standard-sized, circular macaron you find in bakeries or stores will likely be somewhere between 1½-2 inches in diameter, so this would be a good place to start.
If you plan to use a paper template, you can simply place it underneath a sheet of parchment paper on the baking sheet, then gently slip it out before placing the sheet in the oven to avoid burning.
If you are using a silicone baking mat, make sure it is non-stick, food-safe, and capable of withstanding up to 350°F in an oven.
There are also clear silicone mats that allow you to slip a paper template underneath and take it back out again before baking.
Our recommendation is to find silicone mats that already have macaron template designs on them for a convenient, reusable option. Macarons may require experimentation — this is a way to keep at least one variable constant!
2. Prep Your Piping Bag
The size of the piping bag you will use should depend on how much batter you plan to use.
If you are trying macarons for the first time, there are many all-in-one kits available for you to buy which would cut down the stress of selecting materials separately.
However, if you already have piping bags in your kitchen (or if you’re on a limited budget), focus on using the right size of piping tip and preparation of your piping bag instead.
Try following these steps to cut down on mess when filling the bag:
- Fit the tip to the piping bag by putting the tip inside the bag first.
- Next, find a large cup or tall container with plenty of room.
- Twist the end of the bag with the tip first and tuck it into the container under the rest of the bag so the mixture won’t come out while you’re filling.
- Ensure the open ends of the bag are folded over the rim of the container, as you would do when putting a garbage bag in a bin.
- Now you are ready to transfer the macaron mixture from your bowl to the bag! Pour carefully. Then, tie off the top of the bag and take it out of the container.
- Lastly, cut around the tip at the bottom of the bag about 1/2 of the way up the tip, ensuring the wide mouth of the tip is still snugly fit inside the bag.
3. Hold Upright And Squeeze From The Top
Piping icing or other batters can require a variety of different techniques, but macarons are quite particular as to how they should be made.
You should hold the piping bag upright over the center of each spot on your template and squeeze from the top of the bag in one fluid motion until your macaron reaches the right size.
Before piping onto your template, check your piping bag for any air pockets or bubbles and re-tie the top as needed to eliminate air.
Then, pipe out the first bit of mixture to make sure it is lined up and ready to come out of the tip onto your template with ease.
Because the appearance and structure of the macaron shell must be smooth and consistent, try to avoid the following mistakes that will result in hollow, fragile, and crumbly macaron bases:
- Drawing, spiraling, or filling in the circle on your template from the outside in.
- Piling or stacking your mixture by pumping multiple times.
4. Finish With A “Flick”
This step will probably require some practice, but is nonetheless very important to the end result of your macarons.
As the previous tip indicated, hold your piping bag vertically over the center of the spot on the template and squeeze from the top.
When your macaron is at the right size for your template, slightly pull the piping bag off to one side and simultaneously stop squeezing.
Hopefully, your macaron will maintain an even shape and smooth surface without creating a dimple at the top.
5. Tap The Bubbles Out
After piping all the macaron mixture out onto your template, check each one for bubbles — eliminating these air pockets is crucial to maintaining smooth and sturdy macarons before baking in the oven.
Some folks prefer to lightly bang the baking sheet onto the counter a few times to pop these bubbles.
If you prefer a less noisy method, hold the baking sheet up and tap the pan from underneath to shake the air out. However, you could risk dropping the pan or messing up the size of the macarons if the baking sheet is tilted for too long.
Either way, you can also do a spot check for bubbles by taking a toothpick and smoothing over each piped macaron.