Maca-wrongs Turned Maca-right

I’ve had macarons on my mind, on my mind for a long time.

If you, like me, find yourself gawking at zillions of recipe-filled blogs in your free time, then perhaps you, like me, have noticed the rise of the elusive macaron.

Everybody who is anybody has seemingly attempted to make the small cookie treat, and anybody who is everybody has seemingly mentioned just how difficult/finicky/impossible this recipe can be.

Did you say ‘impossible’ to make?

Challenge accepted.

I had to try to make them for myself. This feat was made even more impossible by the fact that I’ve never actually eaten a macaron. insert gasp.

An attempt it was. A success it was not.

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A fail made even more dramatic with the use of the ‘grayscale’ button on the photo-editing program I use. Major fail.

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But, I’m not a quitter.  And I’ve never had a real macaron. And the almond flour cost me $11 so giving up wasn’t a cost-effective option.

I researched a little more. I whipped egg whites a little more. I measured out ingredients by the gram a little more.

And at last, they looked more like macarons. The tops of the small meringue cookies didn’t have more cracks then the Liberty Bell.  They even tasted like macarons, or at least how I think a macaron ought to taste.

An improved attempt it was. A semi-success is what I called it.

My maca-wrongs were maca-right this time.

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I HIGHLY suggest you read this blog post by Annie’s Eats. I found it to be very informative in my quest to fix my messed-up macarons.

Basic French Macarons
Source: Bouchon Bakery Cookbook via Annie’s Eats
Printable Recipe

212g almond meal
212g powdered sugar
82g and 90g egg whites, divided
236g granulated sugar
158g water
buttercream or ganache for filling

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, combine almond meal and powdered sugar. Stir until combined. Make a well in the center. Add in 82g egg whites. Mix until combined. It will be thick. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine 236g sugar and 158g water. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Turn the heat on medium-high heat.
In another bowl (I never said this recipe was a one-bowl thing!), combine 90g egg whites and a pinch of granulated sugar. When the temperature of your sugar-water mixture reaches 200F degrees, begin whipping egg whites. Continue whipping on medium speed until they form soft peaks. If you get soft peaks before your sugar-water reaches the appropriate temperature (248F), keep them moving on low speed.
Once the sugar-water reaches 248F, remove from heat. While beating the egg whites on medium speed, slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl. Continue until full incorporated. keep mixing until mixture has stiff, flossy peaks.
If you plan to color the cookies, add gel food coloring at this point.
Add 1/3 of meringue to the almond mixture. Fold it together. Continue folding in meringue, a little at a time, until the batter is smooth. Note: you may not need to add all of the meringue to the almond mixture. You want the mixture to ‘run in thick ribbons off of the spatula.’ I added all the meringue.
Place batter in a pastry bag with a 1/2inch round tip opening. Pipe round circles of the mixture onto parchment paper lined baking sheets.
Place in oven and reduce oven temperature to 325. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until tops are smooth and each shell has a ‘foot.’ Let them cool on baking tray for a few minutes.
Allow to cool. Fill and sandwich together. Store in airtight container.

Oh vey. Not easy.

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