Making perfect macarons is a tricky thing to do. Even the most experiences pastry chefs sometimes find macarons to be a challenge. The shells can crack, they can come out lumpy, they can be too dry and they can spread too thin- so much can go wrong! However, once you perfect the macaron shell, you will be blessed with one of the most amazing, heavenly desserts around!
You likely already know how delicious a perfect macaron can be and maybe you have already achieved those flawless macaron shells. Now you may be wondering how you could make a macaron without using an oven. No oven?! For a macaron?! Is that even possible?! The short answer, yes! And here is how.
Why Skip the Oven
There are a few reasons why you might be interested in making macarons without using an oven. The first reason could be that you just don’t have an oven on hand. Maybe your oven broke or you just never had an oven to begin with (small apartments are notorious for having no ovens, for example!). This would be an obvious time when you would need to get creative and think of another way to make macarons.
You may also want to skip the oven because of the heat an oven throws off. If it is a hot summer’s day, no one wants to turn on an oven! But if you still want to make macarons, you may be interested in making them without adding extra heat to your house via the oven.
Ovens also use a lot of energy. Not only do they take a while to heat up, burning through gas or electricity, but then they have to maintain the temperature so they are constantly cycling on and off. Making macarons without an oven can be a more economical and environmentally friendly approach.
Toaster Oven Method
So many people are unaware of how useful their toaster oven can be. It is not just for making toast! In fact, if you are the proud owner of a toaster oven, you actually have a mini oven right there on your counter. It functions the same as your larger oven but on a much smaller capacity. That means, you can definitely use it to make macarons!
Using a toaster oven to make macarons will save on energy, as you will only be heating a small oven rather than a larger one. The toaster oven will also heat up faster, cutting back on the energy used during the preheating stage. It will also not produce as much ambient heat making it the perfect option when you are baking on hot days.
Many toaster ovens have a convection option which is perfect for making macarons. If you have this feature, simply set your toaster oven to convection, turn the heat up to the temperature required in your recipe and then bake your macarons. It will be just like making them in a full sized oven, only smaller!
Troubleshooting Macarons Made in the Toaster
If your toaster oven does not have a convection oven setting, simply increase the heat by 25 degree F. This means, if your macaron recipe requires 325 degrees F in a convection oven, set your toaster to 350 degrees F. Simple as that!
One thing to watch for when using a toaster oven rather than a large oven to bake macarons is the rapid browning of the shells. Because toaster ovens are so small, the heating elements inside are much closer to the tray of macarons. This means the shells may brown quickly or the tops may dry out before the centers are done cooking.
If the tops begin to get too brown, gently lay a piece of foil on top of the par-baked cookies. The foil will prevent the cookies from getting too dark while the macarons can continue to cook.
Toaster ovens tend to have dramatic hot spots, once again, because they are so small. Be sure to rotate your macarons if needed and keep an eye on where the hot spots are. You can always pipe the cookies onto the tray strategically to ensure no cookies are directly in a hot spot.
Use Store Bought Macaron Shells
While making macaron shells is part of the complete macaron experience, you may want to consider purchasing the cookie shell. When you do not have an oven or are trying not to use your oven, the easiest way to make macarons is just to buy the only part that requires an oven- the outside shells! After all, you can still make delicious filling for the macarons without using an oven. Pipe your homemade fillings into the premade shells and voila! Fresh macarons!
Since macarons have become very popular, you should be able to find macaron shells for purchase fairly easily. If you are in the grocery store, check both the cookie aisle as well as the frozen dessert section of the store. Many macaron shells are sold frozen to ensure they stay fresh with that chewy center and crispy outside.
If you have no luck in the grocery store, ask a local bakery if they have macaron shells you could buy. Most businesses will happily sell you the macaron shells if you ask! Then, you can go home and make macarons without an oven as all you need to do is whip up some tasty fillings- no baking required!
As one of the most difficult cookies to make, macarons certainly require specific conditions to bake correctly. When you are trying to make macarons without and oven, this challenge becomes even harder.
Luckily, you do have a few options that will work well. The toaster oven method is tried and true and your macarons will come out fantastic, especially if you have that awesome convection mode on your toaster oven. There is also no shame in purchasing the macaron shells and this will definitely guarantee that your macarons are amazing.
So now you are ready to make macarons without an oven and don’t worry, they will come out great! Happy baking!