The Tip To Prevent Macarons With A Cracked Top

As delicate as they are delicious, homemade macarons are a tricky project to master. Never mind trying to keep the shells intact after baking; it's a hard enough task getting them to come out of the oven with a smooth polish. Even if you avoid all the big mistakes when it comes to baking macarons and manage to get the perfect size, shape, and texture, they could still come out a little cracked on the top for no discernible reason — especially if you haven't slammed your pan hard enough after piping.

The biggest culprit behind cracked shells is the air bubbles left in the dough before baking. They expand while sitting in the hot oven and — unable to escape the batter — end up rupturing the shiny skin created during the drying period. Ideally, you want to give your pans a few good downward slams against the countertop after piping the batter and before resting to force out any bubbles that might have sneaked their way in. It helps to flip the pan around for a few extra taps that'll really make sure you're getting all your shells de-bubbled. If necessary, a gentle poke with a toothpick will deal with any stubborn air pockets clinging to the surfaces.

Other potential causes behind cracked macarons

Still ending up with macarons cracked right out of the oven, even if you're evicting all the air bubbles as thoroughly as you can? There might be other issues at play that are ruining your batches. Cracked macaron shells can also be caused by improper drying, overbaking, and undermixed meringue.

Tapping out all the air bubbles in your batter won't give it the right finish if you're not waiting long enough for them to develop a sealed membrane before sticking them in the oven. Similarly, leaving them in there too long will leave you with pesky fractures all over regardless of anything else; it's important to keep your eye on the timer and avoid circulation problems from overcrowding your oven.

Lastly, you just might not be whisking your meringue enough to really cultivate that chewy, firm consistency. While it's extremely important not to over-mix your final wet batter — that'll result in a case of missing feet — you shouldn't be afraid to get aggressive with your meringue before folding it all together. Stiff peaks are essential to not only the smoothness of your shell, but also the quintessential mouthfeel when biting into it. Consider adding a pinch of powdered egg whites to really stabilize and stiffen your meringue, and you'll be making perfect-from-scratch macarons every time you pull out the piping bags.