Adventures in Macarons (and my 2010 baking resolutions)
There are a few things I am determined to conquer this coming year. Call them by 2010 baking resolutions, if you will. Pie crust (I WILL make a successful pie crust even if it means baking pumpkin pies in July). Caramel (or any cooked sugar for that matter). Fondant. And now you can add French Macarons to that list (not to be confused with Macar-oo-ns, which are completely different creatures).
Don’t let their cute appearance fool you, these are tricky little suckers. The four you see in the pictures are about the only somewhat photogenic cookies we ended up with. Out of dozens. And even those have their (numerous) flaws.
This is a cookie that should not be attempted alone, especially for the first time. Which is why I was extra excited (and oh so lucky) when the lovely Erin of ErinsFoodFiles agreed to join me for a day-long macaron-athon.
And let me tell you, when food bloggers get together…
Good times are had by all. :)
We attempted two different kinds of macarons. The first batch was plain, we thought that not adding extra flavorings would increase our chances of success (right). I think we under-whipped our egg whites and the resulting batter was extremely watery. Think like flowing out of the piping bag before I could get it over the baking sheet watery. Yes, we made a nice big mess. But somehow we got them on the pan in somewhat circular blobs, and into the oven they go. We watched in anticipation as the things actually grew FEET! Feet! That must mean we succeeded, ON OUR VERY FIRST TRY!
Not so fast…
I think we must have undercooked them, even though we followed the recipe precisely. Because when we tried to take the cookies off of the pan, the outer shells separated completely from the overly-gooey centers. Big mess. Somehow we salvaged a few cookies that didn’t separate, most of the others just became lunch.
The second batch, we whipped longer and baked longer at a lower temp. They came out looking slightly odd, but with feet nonetheless (hooray!). Yet, again the problem with the sticking. These things just didn’t want to come off the pans.
We persevered, and rather than giving up and trashing the rest of our sticky and lopsided cookies, we made the ganche filling anyway. And even though many of the cookies were practically just a paper thin shell that could barely support their own weight, let alone heavy ganche, we filled them anyway. And you know what?
Best. Cookies. Ever.
Whatever. So our macarons weren’t the cute little pastel colored buttons that are all the rage. But I don’t care. I would much rather make an amazingly delicious ugly-duckling of a cookie, than a flawless and flavorless pile of blah.
I am going to make these again. I am going to figure out why the heck they stuck. I’m going to get them unstuck so I can pile on even more rich chocolate ganache. And I am going to eat them. All. Or split them if Erin is willing to bake en-tandem again (oh if only we had a double oven we could be a macaron factory, just about). Be sure to check out Erin’s blog today for another POV on the whole experience. :)
2010 will be the year it’s all going to happen. I am going to master the things that intimidate me most. Pie crust better watch its back!