Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Holy Macaron!

My First Batch of Macarons: Part success, part FAIL!

Hey ladies and gentlemen!

Have you ever tried making a macaron? Have you even heard of a macaron? Tempted to call them macaroons? No, not the same thing! You know, we're talking about those adorable whimsical often colorful little french sandwiched cookies, popping up all over the blogosphere, in trendy cafes and in our hearts! Well, they finally got to me. I could take their cutesy wutesy siren's call no longer, and despite the many many (many) many (did I say many?) fails of amateur bakers all over the internet and warnings of rough terrain ahead (pointing at me saying "that's you, stupid!") and even talk of necessary prayers to macaron gods for them to turn out ok, I decided, as usual, why not? After all, asking "why not" sparked the very site you are perusing! I would not know I had a talent for cakery had I not braved out that first one, being willing to fail to find out.

So, much like a drug addict recalls their first hit (omigosh did I just say that?) I am living my immortal memory right now, yes folks, last night I made my first batch of macarons and shall be deemed from this moment in time, insanely obsessed with making them repeatedly until at long last I figure these little buggers out, and prove that macaron gods don't in fact, need burnt offerings anymore, and the little charmers, macaron cookies delicioso, will eventually come from my kitchen and spread cheer amongst the office masses, family, the end. Shall we? I never thought you'd ask.

Last night. Oh my. Where to start? I started at www.Bravetart.com where I have been getting all sorts of inspired to try new and amazing things! Her recipes are unbelievable, her sassy attitude is right up my alley, and the photography makes mine look like my toddler took my photos for me. Hey, maybe he did? So what wanna fight about it? :) Ahh yes, last night. So, I made one batch. I baked several trays, experimenting all the way to try to understand them better and what makes them tick! Ok, when I say tick, I really mean crack, but hey, it sounded good.

Here's the LINK to Stella's recipe: http://bravetart.com/recipes/Macarons
If you are going to try to make these, please visit her page above and follow her instructions rather than mine, which I have included for reference only LOL On her page you'll find the links to the Macaron Myths and Commandment articles, and should read through the comments too! I'm an absolute beginner in the macaron department. Take everything I say with a grain of salt, except that you should visit Stella's macaron page!

French Macarons by Stella Parks

115g Almond Flour
230g Powdered Sugar
144g Egg whites
72g Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract (she uses beans but I had none on hand)
1/2 tsp salt

10 oz Filling of choice (I used Rose's recipe for Classic Lemon Buttercream from The Cake Bible)


1. Basically, you sift the powdered sugar and almond flour together in a bowl and set aside.
Almond flour and powdered sugar sifted...

2. Whip egg white, sugar and salt together in KA for 3 minutes on 4; 3 minutes on 7; and 3 minutes on 8.

3. Add vanilla, whip on 10 for 1 minute or until a stiff meringue forms and clumps in the whisk.

4. Dump dry onto the wet, and perform "macronage" seriously, this is a word LOL, which means deflating     the egg whites in the perfect super duper way hehe that doesn't ruin it all and make you cry!

Dump it in!

****Stella recommends around 40 strokes to get it around the "just right" point of piping consistency. Overmixing, where the mix piles up on itself and after about 20secs does not melt back down will ruin them as well as undermixing, where it goes all runny and un-useable! Gah!

So, once you think you've got it just about right, you pipe one macaron onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. If it has a sharp peak, you undermixed and need to pipe it al back out into the bowl and refill your bag. If it melts back into a smooth surface, enough anyways, to look like a macaron, pray and bake at 300F for 18 minutes, of course after piping the rest about 1.5-2 inches apart perhaps, and banging it on the counter a few times to kill any air bubbles.

All three of my batches had some cracked cookies (one had ALL cracked lol, see pic) and two of my batches had some feet like thingies. Pied is the proper name for them, so I hear! Some were sticky inside, some were shiny and smooth and released easily. All different, and crazy! I used silpat, where Stella uses parchment. I can't locate parchment ANYWHERE over here, so silpat is my only choice for right now. I'm at a loss of words regarding what I did right or wrong, and only repeatedly making them will help me learn I'm afraid.

First Batch: Some cracked

Second Batch: Collapse!

What I *suspect* I learned? (snicker snicker)

~Macarons are very temperature sensitive. Use your oven thermometer! I used mine.
~A too hot oven makes cracked macs.
~Watch your batter for stray areas of meringue that didn't get whipped properly (bowl side). Don't use it.
~Bake all at once if you can, I wonder if allowing my batter to bake one tray at a time messed it up  somehow. They all turned out so different!
~Use parchment over silpat if you can find it!
~If you fail, try again and again until you figure it out or go gray whichever.
~Pray to macaron gods.

THE END! (for now) I'll try again soon, and keep trying until I figure it out! I'll share my successes and fails with you, too.

Luckily, I got about a dozen that were presentable enough to be filled and taken to work with Hubby this morning. Word is on the street they were enjoyed, so that's always a plus! A huge thank you goes out to Stella Parks for her help in making these, and her advice after I made them and reported my results for diagnosis hehe. She is awesome! Macaronomnomnom!

Happy Baking my friends!

1 comment:

  1. Chris "I love baked goodies" CabanoAugust 9, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    The macarons, macaroni's, macaroon, i don't know how to spell it, but i do know you baked an awesome batch that you sent in with your delivery boy. speaking of the delivery boy, i haven't seen him in quite awhile. i can only hope that you have something special brewing seeing how your time here is coming to an end.


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