The ingredients overall worked, but baking them was a complete flop the first time around. They came out perfectly the second time. What I did differently the second time.
Piping: I used a real pastry bag. I tried to shortcut it the first time and it was a sloppy mess. I also rubber-banded of the end of the bag so the batter wouldn't leak out and cut it right before piping. I made a template on a piece of parchment paper with circles as a guide for piping so they are more uniform in size. Template was taped to the table and I placed other sheets of parchment on top of template to pipe. On round one, I noticed the macarons I piped toward the end of the sheet were more loose, so on round two I took a break and iced my hand so that the heat from my hand wasn't loosening up the batter.
Baking: preheat oven to 375. Before putting sheet in, reduce heat to 325. Bake 5 min. Rotate tray. bake 5 min. Take sheet out and reheat oven to 375 for next sheet. I found I could not bake more than one sheet at a time.
Baking sheets: They did not get "feet" on any sheet other than an old, thin baking sheet. My thermal sheets and baking stones did not work.
After filling: let macarons sit for 24 before serving. Something happens to them to soften the cookie ever so slightly that makes them just like the European macarons my friend was craving. Serve within 48 hours or freeze.
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The ingredients overall worked, but baking them was a complete flop the first time around. ...