Bonjour mes amies! Today we are taking a trip to France with these pretty macarons! I’m so excited to finally try these beauties out. Like seriously how cute are french macarons?? As it turns out, these petite pastel pastries are a bit difficult to master, so I made sure to google “perfect french macaron recipe” instead of the plain old “french macaron recipe”. Problem solved, eh? I chose the link to ohsweetday.com which has lots of tips and tricks on how to get the so claimed ‘perfect’ macaron. Me being the chefy macaron expert that I am (not), I’ve decided that I’ll be the judge of that perfection, thank you.
A macaron is a sweet meringue-based pastry made with sugars, egg whites, almond flour, and food coloring. When there’s that few ingredients in a baked good, it is so so so so so so easy to go wrong. Baking is a very tempermental art, and the weather plays a large part in the turnout. It’s always good to bake on a sunny day, because sugar, salt, and flour absorb moisture from the air. Luckily for me, I waited until the last minute to make these and guess what? It was pouring down rain. That was warning sign #1. I started off by drawing 12 1.5 inch circles on two sheets of parchment. It’s important to make the macarons all the same size for a few reasons. 1) they’re sandwiches, so your top needs to be the same size as the bottoms and 2) there is a very short time between cooked and browned, so the macarons need to be on the exact same page in baking. That was step 1. Step 2: process almond flour and powdered sugar in food processor until fine. This was pretty simple, so I didn’t feel compelled to document it. Step 3: whip egg whites until frothy, on low, then add 1/4 cup of sugar. Whip on high until very stuff peaks form.
Looked pretty stiff to me.
Step 4: Fold in almond mixture until just combined. I folded in the dry
ingredients and separated the mix into three bowls, since I wanted to be all cute with different colors. I used these three gel food colorings.
Add food coloring and fold until the mixture falls off the spatula in ribbons. This was a bit vague to me. How long is too long? What do the ribbons look like? Not too sure so I’m classifying this as warning sign #2. I really don’t know if I over mixed it or under mixed it, but here it is.
Does it look like the Easter Bunny had a baby shower and this was the color scheme? Yes. Do I still love it? Yes. Here they are, all piped and pretty! I could tell from the get go that the batter was very wet, like sliding out very quickly and the pipe lines dissolved immediately, so I’m calling that warning sign #3. It says to let them dry out for at least an hour and a half on rainy days, so that’s what I did.
While they were drying out, I made a simple vanilla buttercream (just butter, powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla: whip butter and powdered sugar like you mean it-at least a few minutes until it’s lightened considerably in color. Add the vanilla and a bit of heavy cream until desired consistency is reached). The buttercream was VERY sweet, even though I cut back on the sugar, so I whipped some heavy cream and added melted semisweet baking chocolate to have a lighter filling. Millions of hours later, I got to put my lil macarons in the oven. This process took way longer than I anticipated, but I am nothing if not patient! This pan came out relatively good!These…. not so much. The blue and yellow pan were all brown on top but under cooked on the bottom (????), and they stuck to the parchment and practically crumbled. So. Yeah. I had too many warning signs to not see something like this coming. Also.. they didn’t get very pretty and puffy? Almost as if they were supposed to rise but didn’t? Not sure about that either. Here’s the finished product:
They aren’t terrible by any means, but I am a baker, for goodness sake! I’ve been making chocolate chip cookies from scratch since I was 10! It’s safe to say I hold myself to a higher standard than this, but ah well. There’s always room for improvement, especially in this case. I didn’t really enjoy the taste of them, to be perfectly honest. Both the fillings were delicious, but I just didn’t like the cookies themselves! Which made me sad! I was so excited and let’s just say I was a bit disappointed. Go back and read the first paragraph of this post, which I wrote prior to making the macarons. Go do it. Right now.
Done? Told you I was excited. Ah the bitter taste of defeat. Or maybe I’m tasting these macarons.
My taste testers loved them, much to my surprise, so I’m sure I’ll make them again at some point. On a sunny day. With just the right amount of mixing. With more research. More trial and error. Yenno, all that jazz.
See you next week.