Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Baking Adventures: Zumbo Macarons

Its been at least two years since I last made macarons, but this time I had the handy help of Zumbo packet mix which a friend so kindly gifted me.

Now I've always maintained that the beauty of macarons is partly due to the huge amount of skill required to absolutely perfect the art of making them. So much effort goes into making such a tiny little morsel and also such premium ingredients. Firstly you have the stability of the meringue to deal with, then consistency of the mixtures to ensure you crunchy but not dry shells which do not have hollows, have perfect 'feet', are not burnt or overworked and then a filling that complements that with all the flavours balancing perfectly. My first disclaimer is that having a packet mix really to me only assisted in saving time from having to separate egg whites and measure out ingredients. Ultimately a lot of love and time is required!

Anyway, I took a lot of photos along the way so you could see how they turned out:
You get three packets - one for the meringue (essentially powdered egg whites), almond meal mix and then the filling mix. The fourth item (bottom right) is two piping bags and the circle template.

I started by marking out my circle template on my baking paper. I've actually kept this template because its uber useful and cute! The outer ring is the exact spacing required between your circles so its really easy to use.

This was my final mix in the piping bag - I knew that my meringue mix wasn't stiff enough so I worked it for a lot longer than the directions implied. And then when I put my almond meal mix in, I knew not to overwork it so I didn't complete the last step. That said, I think mine was actually a little more runny than it should've been, but I am always a fan of underworking rather than overworking. I loved having the piping bags included because as you can see it was neat and easy to use and I just threw it away after!

So this might not be the best photo, but this is how many shells I was able to make out of my mix. Definitely more than enough for the '15 servings' implied on the box. Granted, they said it makes 15 so that you could pick out the best 15 pairs of shells.

The shells straight out of the oven. These did not 'feet' as much as the second tray as I didn't leave them out to rest long enough prior to baking (as I was being impatient).

And voila the end result! Keep in mind I didn't pipe the filling (too lazy) and I honestly don't think its necessary, unless you want perfectly evenly filled macarons.

So my verdict -
Are they easy? Indeed, yes they are definitely not difficult.
Are they failsafe? A resounding no here. I mean mine turned out well, but I can imagine a lot of people who think packet mixes would be easy would not appreciate that there are a lot of 'pressure points' to baking macarons as Zumbo points out which could make or break the end product. I have done a lot of research about making macarons so I knew what to do, how to fix potential issues, the temperature control of my own oven and how macarons bake out in that environment.

Ultimately, if you're an at home baker who really wants to try out macaron making then go ahead and use this packet mix as it definitely makes it more 'macaron for dummies' like, but do not expect them to turn out perfectly. Then again, I'm a bit of a perfectionist so others may be OK with how they turn out regardless!

Oh and were they yummy? Well of course, how can salted caramel macarons not be yummy? :)


  1. Oooh I tried this pack out too and it's definitely not as easy as you would think. There are still some pain points and I definitely got better by the 4th packet. Yours look great and so yummy!!

  2. They've turned out lovely! I wouldn't mind being able to bake macarons but it sounds so terribly difficult to attempt - even with a packet mix!

  3. They look pretty amazing given you didn't pipe them! I think they would definitely be easier than making them from scratch - for that, I require an extra pair of hands :)