I have been baking macarons almost every other day for months now, trying to perfect them. I have tried the Italian meringue method and the French method.
I have looked at all the troubleshooting websites and forums, and tried all suggestions, and still, my macarons come out ugly.
First of all, they are *completely* hollow on the inside, just one big air pocket.
Second, the feet are really tall and wider than the cookie, and have a lot of rough little holes in them. Instead of delicate ruffly little feet like I see in all the pictures, mine are big, lumpy, rough, and full of tiny little holes.
Third, my macarons are fragile and the slightest touch causes my finger to go through and produce a hole in the cookie. When I bite into them, a layer of the top shell comes off in one large flake.
I thought my batter might be overmixed/undermixed, and I have tried folding my batter more, and folding my batter less. I have tried folding it until its looks like lava and when I drop some back into the mixture it incorporates in about 20 seconds (which is what several websites said to do)
I thought it might be my oven and the temp might have been too high or too low. I tried every temperature setting between 285-310. Nothing worked. They still come out the same. I have tried the middle rack, the top rack, the lower rack. I have even tried putting a wooden spoon in the over door to let the heat escape and circulate, still, no dice.
I thought I was possibly overbeating or underbeating my meringues. I tried to beat them more to a super stiff peak. I tried to beat them less too. Either way, my egg whites look kind of "foamy". There's a big chunk that sticks to the beater (I use a Kitchen Aid mixer) and the rest sits on the bottom of the stainless steel bowl. I have chilled my bowl and not chilled my bowl.
I have tried aging the egg whites, not aging the egg whites, and microwaving the egg whites for 10-15 seconds. No change.
I have tried letting the piped macarons rest for anywhere between 15 min to 1 hour.
I measure all of my ingredients with a kitchen scale. I use good quality thick steel baking sheets that don't warp in the oven. I use fresh parchment paper. I pipe them with a piping bag and tip, keeping the tip very close to the baking sheet, pushing the mixture out, then stopping (so it goes from the middle outward) I don't know if its my piping "technique" that's messed up, or if its my folding/mixing technique that I'm getting wrong when mixing the almond meal/powdered sugar mixture into the meringue.
Maybe the problem lies in how I'm beating the meringues? I've tried starting the mixer on low for 2 min, then medium for 2 min, then high for 2 min until a stiff meringue forms but that didn't help.
I've tried starting at a low speed then high. I've tried going to straight to high (8 on the mixer) Still no change.
I feel I should also mention that sometimes my macarons stick to the parchment, even though I've baked them at 300 for 26 minutes!!! Which seems way more than enough time! They will never come off if I try to pull them off-I always have to use an offset spatula.
I use liquid food coloring when I do use it, other times I use none at all. Still the same result.
What am I doing wrong?! I don't understand it! I feel like I'm at my wit's end! I've tried anything and everything and they still come out like crap. Well I should rephrase that. They taste delicious, they just look bad! And are completely hollow with huge oversized wide rough feet! Am I piping them too big? I do make pretty large macarons (maybe 1.5 inch across) but I assumed that just bake them longer and it shouldn't matter. Maybe that's the problem? The size?
These little cookies can be a real BIG pain in the ass. So tempermental. Ugh.