What is Special About Macaron Baking Sheet?
Being delicate cookies macaron has a chewy texture and various tastes. This weightless dessert is known almost by anyone. In order to bake it at home you should be very tolerant and attentive to details. The accurate measurements specified in the recipe are very important. You just have no right to make mistakes if you do not want to fail in this matter. First, you have to use scales and refuse the cups for measuring the ingredients. Secondly, you should know the secrets which influences the result very much. For example, the egg whites should be of room temperature, separated several hours before cooking and the piped little circle should age some time before starting baking. Thirdly, you should have the appropriate oven and the appropriate baking sheets. About the last component of the success we are going to speak from top to bottom. But first, we should come to know more about subject of the occasion.
What Are Macarons?
A macaron is a world known French cookie or confection which resembles meringues. Being created in 18-th century, this dessert became famous thanks to nuns baking them to sell and survive during the French Revolution.
The macarons are made of egg whites and sugar with addition of almond powder. They are colorful and can have various flavors being represented in the form of two round halves with flat bases cemented with jam, ganache or other tasty butter paste. So you have a tiny sandwich cookie. Being crispy outside, inside they are mild and in the whole they melt in the mouth. Delicious! To achieve such a result, the cook must have needed skills and particular bakeware of high quality.
There are two ways to cook them: the “French” and “Italian”. The former demands that the egg whites should be whisked so that you get stiff-peaked forms. Then you should add powdered sugar and ground almonds step by step continuing gentle whisking to get the desired consistency. You are knocking out air and this process is known as macaronage. In accordance with the latter method you should whisk the egg whites with a hot sugar syrup until you get stiff-peaked forms. Then you are expected to mix almonds and icing sugar separately, as a result you have a smooth paste. Now you combine the beaten whites and this almond paste, fold them together carefully. This method is more complicated as it requires control under the temperature of the sugar syrup.
Peculiarities of the Baking Process
Look, you can take a standard aluminum baking sheet, line it with parchment paper, or you are free to prefer silicone baking mats or at last there are bare non-stick sheet pans which are also good. Though, the experts insist that silicone is much better compare to other surfaces. You can try any variant. The thing to pay attention is spreading of the batter, time and evenness of cooking and easiness of removal. The macarons should not spread too much. It is better when they maintain a dome shaped form being not completely flat. And for course they should be removed without sticking as far as they are very delicate and can be broken almost at any touch. You should agree that it is important to understand the properties of your oven to achieve the needed result. So experiment with various baking conditions.
Find the best rack position and temperature which can be specified in the recipe, still here you can allow your own settings if you sure that they work better. The recipe will teach you to bake during the needed time and at needed temperature but still you can get brown or on the contrary undercooked cookies. And here the importance of the sheet pan is obvious. The material it is made of and the construction can change the time of baking. The silicone for example is not good heat conductor that is why you will need a minute or a couple of minutes to extend the process.
The sheet with rims will also make baking longer while rimless one allows the hot air circulate free and cook the macarons faster. And the way you cool the cookies does matter. If you leave them on the sheet pan which is hot just taken out of the oven you will get overcooked dessert. You should take it into account. Let’s consider the material the sheets are made of.
Being the extremely convenient material the stainless steel still has some undesired properties which make it not the perfect one for bakeware. First, steel does not conduct the heat very well, that is why the cooking time will be extended and the heat will not be spread evenly. Besides, it cannot provide the non-stick surfaces that is why you will have to line a sheet with a baking paper or silicon mat. And when it is there is no benefit of its non-reactivity. This is a strong point! The steel is completely safe and does not leak any chemical elements to the foods. And even though we are speaking about stainless steel, we cannot exclude its getting rusty if you forget to dry it immediately after washing and apply dishwasher.
As we have said the aluminum is considered as the best heat conductor meaning that a sheet pan made of this metal is heated quickly and the temperature is distributed evenly all over the bakeware. On the other hand, the tray gets cool faster when it is pulled out of the oven. Thus, you can control the baking process and avoid burning. Aluminum is very light and you will manage to hold it easily by hand even when it is full with pies. Now you should know the weak points of this material. Aluminum can change color and taste of the foods which contact with it, that is why you are recommended to use parchment paper of silicone mats which provide the non-stick properties and prevent the above reaction. Another moment to consider is warping. It happens when you cook at the high heat in the oven. The baking sheet becomes uneven bending in some places and that is not very good because you’ll usually fail to spread the food in an even layer. In order to prevent this drawback, choose the heavy sheeting pan with thick sides and bottom. Or you can prefer the gauge aluminum.
As we have mentioned above the silicon mats are the best solution when we speak about baking macarons. First of all, the innovative technologies allow to produce the save silicon which is not reactive. It is safe when used at the temperature specified by the producer. Though, silicone rubber is an inert material being safe for your health, you should remember that the temperature limits here do matter.
The mats are used both to prevent sticking and protect a baking sheet from dirt. The mats are stain resistant but needs to be cleaned anyway. The non-porous surface does not gather odors and you can experiment with various tastes. They are durable and even being used intensively, they have perfect look and the initial properties.
The baking sheets made of all the above materials are relatively easily cleaned. There are the particular recommendations for each one but in general you can use warm soapy water and soft sponges which will be enough for scrubbing the places with brown stains. Here you should remember that metal can be corrosive and you are not allowed to soak this bakeware into water. Also you can apply the particular method with baking soda. Just wash a baking sheet under hot running water, sprinkle the dirty surfaces with soda and rub using a not abrasive scrub. The soda should not be dry. If it is, you can add some water to mix a paste. Spread it evenly on the sheet and leave it for about 20 minutes. Rub again and rinse it with water. Do not forget to dry the sheet pans with kitchen towel. If you think there is a need, repeat all the above procedure.
The Market Offer
A good sheet pan is vital for needed even heat conduction when you bake macarons. You should avoid burnt bottoms and choose only the best one. There are the reliable manufacturers who produce the pans which do not rust and warp.
- Nordic Ware offers perfect nonstick reusable mats which are sized like a half sheet pan. The smooth baking surface is cleaned with warm water easily and air dried. It withstands the temperature up to 400 0 F in the oven.
- Mastrad macaron baking sheet. This is a French brand which offers the marvelous appliance with small ridges designed especially for tiny round cookies being able to hold the batter within a desired form. These silicone sheets are flexible and non-stick. You can turn out the ready macarons of perfect size easily without failure. It is good for other cookies and meringues too. The size of the sheet pan corresponds to the standard half-sheet tray.
- Velesco allows enjoying convenience of non-stick using much less oil or refusing of it at all. There are multi-purpose sheets which are good for macarons also. Here it is possible to buy the mat of any size almost. All of them are made of premium quality materials which are not toxic and have strict FDA approvals. They are durable, long lasting and cleaned without scrubbing. Can you imagine that? And they can be stored rolled if it is more convenient for you.
- Mosuch markets a macaron baking sheet mat made of flexible food-grade quality silicone. It is easy to clean and can be washed in a dishwasher but still you’d better do it by hand. Here it is possible to make similar sized cookies. The various colors are available. The producer guarantee 100% money return if you the mat does not meet your expectations.
Here you can find even more silicone macaron baking sheets. Just visit the site and look through the offers of various brands.