Monday, August 9, 2010

Making Chocolate Macarons in a Humid Climate

Living on the sea coast definitely has its good points but when it comes to making macarons the humidity literally kills them. Cracked and feetless – this is how normally our macs end up. But not this time, meaning we made them, woohoo!

Armed with patience (in huuuge amounts) we finally managed to dehumidify the air and all the ingredients to a such point that skin formed during the resting time. Without the dehumidification no matter how many hours we leave macarons to rest before baking the result is the same tacky and damp cookies that cracks during the baking. Sometimes I even have the feeling that the batter becomes more liquid with the resting. So, the dehumidification is really worth the efforts.

We turned the air-conditioner on 5 hours in advance on a dehumidification function. We dehydrated all the ingredients, including the 3-days aged egg whites in the oven on a defrosting function for the time we watched a movie :). For the almonds – we used whole blanched ones and dehydrated them before and after grinding. We weighed out all the ingredients after dehydrating. I have weighed out the egg whites right after separating them from the yolks and they were 85 grams. After 3 days ageing and the time for dehydrating in the oven they were 77 grams. This shows that the weight of the ingredients changes significantly after drying, so it's better to weigh them out right before making the batter.

Forming a skin is a crucial point for producing good macarons with the French meringue method. If a skin doesn't form the macarons are feetless and cracked. And the humidity of the air is a crucial point for forming a skin. So, when living in a humid climate the dehumidification is a very important factor for successful macarons.

Dehumidify, dehydrate, dry – this is the solution!

For the recipe: For the meringues we used as a base Tartelette's recipe but considered as proportions, meaning 1,22 gr almonds / 2,22 gr sugar per every gram of egg whites.
All the ingredients were weighed out after dehydrating.

Chocolate Macarons Recipe:
Addapted from Helene (Tartelette)
Makes 18 4,5-cm macarons (36 shells)
  • 77 gr egg whites (3-days aged);
  • 20 gr granulated sugar;
  • 94 gr blanched almonds;
  • 170 gr powdered sugar;
  • 13 gr cacao powder.
Dehydrate all the ingredients in the oven on a defrosting function for about an hour and a half. Actually we forgot to dehydrate the granulated sugar and the cacao powder, but it was ok. If they are a little bit warm wait to cool down.
In a food processor grind the almonds till coarse semolina size. If needed dehydrate again for half an hour.

After dehydrating weigh out the ingredients and adjust the proportions - 1,22 gr almonds / 2,22 gr sugar per every gram of egg whites.

Place the powdered sugar and the ground almonds in a food processor and grind finely. Add the cacao powder and pulse 2-3 times to blend. Sift the mix to remove any clumps.

In a large bowl begin beating the egg whites on a low speed. When they are foamy gradually add the granulated sugar. If necessary increase the speed to medium (but not high). Beat till glossy meringue. Do not overbeat.(If this happen add some more egg white and beat a little bit till glossy. But in this case you'll have to recalculate the recipe).

Remove the beaters. Add the almonds/sugar mixture in two or three times and fold carefully until homogenous.

Line a baking pan with paper. Pour the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (we use № 7) and pipe about 4cm large rounds leaving 2cm space between them. Tap the pan on the counter several times to bring up any air bubbles.

Let the macarons rest for 30 – 45 minutes to form a skin. At the end they should not be tacky on touch. When living in humid climate dehumidifying the air is very important for the final result.

Preheat the oven to 160º C. When the shells are no more tacky on touch, bake for 13-15 minutes.

Remove from the paper and let cool on a wire rack. (If not using immediately, store the shells in an airtight container.)

For the Chocolate Ganache:
Bring the cream to a simmer. Then pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Wait for a minute, then stir to obtain a smooth ganache. When the temperature falls to 50ºC add in the butter. Mix well.
Place a plastic wrap directly onto the ganache to prevent forming a skin and put in the fridge for half an hour to set.

To assemble: Fill a pastry bag with the ganache and couple the macaron shells with a good twist of ganache.
Store the macarons in an airtight container in the fridge. Let them rest for 24 hours before eating.


  1. Bonjour,

    Je m appelle Pierre Herme et j aimerais venir faire un stage chez vous pour perfectionner ma recette de macarons.
    Je suis disponible pendant le mois d aout.
    Dans l attente de vous lire.
    Pierre et Frederic

  2. Hi hi :D
    Frederic, vous etes bienvenus avec Dessie :)
    Mais, est que tu as vu qu'il faut atteindre 24 heurs avant manger. Une vraie torture pour toi :D

  3. Fantastic! Thank you so much for this page, I live near the beach in Sydney. Yesterday I managed to make blackcurrent macarons that didn't crack, they had a good skin (thanks to my hair dryer) and a small foot; hopefully with your aircon and dehydrating oven ideas they will puff up like yours! Great information, I cant wait to try this. - Alex

  4. Alex, the hair dryer never occurred to me, but it sounds reasonable. Wish you luck with the macarons making.

  5. Hihi thanks for your blog. The city I'm living in is getting very wet everywhere and all my macaron is so ruined!! I've a question abt defrosting the egg, have you tried just letting the aged white dot at room temperature rather than defrosting it in the oven? Coz my oven doesn't have the defrosting function. Thanks for ur answer.

    1. oh, yeah, no problem to let them sit at room temperature. I'm using the defrosting function just to slightly diminish the water content in the egg whites.
      Eli, if you live in a humid climate I suggest using the Italian meringue method, it gives better results(at least for me).
      Thanks for stopping by :)

  6. Hi,
    Try the hair dryer. I'm sure you'll get good results. Good luck. You have interesting ideas.I must try Chocolate Macarons for my kids.

  7. Hi, i live at the mexican caribbean, I'll try with the italian meringue and the air conditioner and let you know. Tks!



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