The Macaron Diaries, Part 1

I will freely admit I am not a fan of macarons. The very first time I bit into one, I was so disappointed because it looked amazing, but was just odd about the taste. There’s something overall a little gross to me about the sweetness of the almond meringue that reminds me of marzipan (also not something I am fond of), and the price to me just wasn’t worth it. It may have also been the fact that my first was a strawberry macaron in which the filling tasted like cheap jam.

Despite that, I love learning new recipes, and two years ago as the macaron craze in Australia heightened, I attempted to make some of my own. I failed dismally, apparently as one does when making macarons for the first time. My first try came out looking gorgeous (but not like macarons at all!), and the second looked like they were tornado survivors. Now that I have a little more baking experience under my belt, I’ve attempted to try them again, and document where I’ve gone wrong. I had a lot of egg whites left over from making parfait for Christmas dessert, and was wondering what to do with them. I started thinking of what requires a lot of egg whites … ahh, macarons!

In the defense of macarons, they are gorgeous looking creations when done right 🙂 And I am a sucker for gorgeous things.

Ingredients

100 g egg whites
50 g caster sugar
200 g icing sugar
110 g ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla

Method

1. The egg whites were in my fridge for two weeks – this wasn’t by design, but simply because I’d been too busy to do anything with them. People talk about the age of the whites and the temperature making quite a difference, but I have read from a reputable source that it doesn’t appear to do much. I whipped egg whites until soft peaks form, and then add caster sugar. I mixed until the meringue was quite thick and firm, so that when I took the whips out of the mixture they were coated in the meringue.

The meringue. Possibly not stiff enough?

The meringue. Possibly not stiff enough?

2. I then combined the ground almonds with the icing sugar and added it to the meringue after making sure there were no lump. Next, I began folding in the mixture with a plastic thingy (I have completely forgotten the word for it). Initially it seemed like it didn’t want to mesh together, but eventually the mixture was combined. Now here is where I think things started going a bit wrong. Everyone is scared of either under or over mixing. People say you shouldn’t fold the mixture more than 50 times otherwise it will become very runny. At 50 folds my mixture still seemed a little under mixed, but going by the sage advice of better bakers than I, I attempted to bake the first batch.

The macaron batter. Certainly doesn't look like lava. This the batter I used for the first batch - much too lumpy.

The macaron batter. Certainly doesn’t look like lava. This the batter I used for the first batch – much too lumpy.

3. So apparently macarons are meant to spread out a bit on the baking tray to form a smooth top. Mine did not do this. Instead, they stubbornly stayed exactly where I’d piped them. Oh well. After 30 min, I popped them into the oven (preheated at 150 degrees celsius) for about 20 min. They came out a little too darkened and also a bit lumpy. They did however have cute little feet!

Macaron batch #1 before and after baking.

Macaron batch #1, unbaked and baked. Looking a bit sad and lumpy.

4. Good thing I’d only used half my mixture! I folded the batter 5 more times to see if it made a difference, and it did. This batch came out less lumpy, but the feet did a little extra spreading in some places. These are also too dark – next time I should check them at 15 min in my oven, but sue me, I was playing Dishonored on my computer.

Macaron batch #2. Looking much better, but still not perfect.

Macaron batch #2. Looking much better, but still not perfect.

Things I will need to check the next time I do it will be:
– Is my meringue stiff enough?
– Is the meringue/almond/sugar mixture like lava? (they say this is the desirable batter consistency)

Any other advice would be much appreciated!

Adieu!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s