My first post! Let me start by chronicling my past 6 weekends of French macaroning adventures.
Oh French macarons, you finicky little creatures. How I love and loathe you at the same time. I had been procrastinating making macarons for the longest time. I wanted my first to be rose flavored, and when my best friend found and bought me rose water, I knew it was go-time.
My first week, raspberry-rose, was a hot mess. They tasted amazing but I was ill prepared. I also tried to make a white ganache and it was awful. So I had to pull a last minute buttercream which was a lifesaver.
Expectations (courtesy of Laduree) vs Reality
Week 1’s lesson: Do not add any liquids to the macaronage batter, you will utterly ruin your cookies – domed cookie, no feet. Also, quality chocolates are a must for ganache.
Let me tell you, I spend most of my week after work/during lunch break researching and troubleshooting macarons. Week 2, I’d already been obsessed. I needed to perfect these little delicacies. The flavor this weekend was going to be salted caramel. As quoted by my sister “Salted caramel anything is the effing bomb.”
That’s right, I finally have liftoff! FEET!!! YESSS! Look at the perfection, I thought I had done it. But I was wrong, these babies were hollow. They sure did look pretty though, and I purchased boxes to give away to friends because there was no way I was going to eat all these cookies.
Week 2’s lesson: when you’re banging the trays to knock out the excess air, do not be afraid to drop them and make some noise! Time to research hollows.
Week 3, inspired by Stan’s donuts, I decided to make pistachio lime macarons. There are no pictures this week, they were a complete disaster. Watching videos and reading blogs, someone suggested to continue the macaronage until you can write a number 8 with one continues batter stream. The batter was too far at that point. Result: flat macarons. Delicious though, my favorite buttercream flavor by far.
Week 3’s lesson: “When in doubt, lime buttercream” is my new motto. Seriously, that sh*t is delicious.
Week 4, oh boy. As I write this, I’ve come to the realization that I’m devoting a lot of my life to these little cookies! They have definitely become a passion of mine. This week, I made 2 flavors: Saturday was Passionfruit and Sunday was Taro/Coconut.
Oh they were beautiful and tasted amazing. My official taste tester (my bf, not my dog) said they were the best flavors I’d made. Oh but the hollows! After all my research, reading that my batter still had too much air, I thought I had finally defied all odds! They looked really cute in the macaron boxes I had just acquired though.
Week 4’s lesson: DAMN YOU, HOLLOWS! Also, nuts.com is amazing. Look at all the amazing loot I got (below) from them at affordable prices. And everything comes in a resealable bag – a baker’s dream come true.
Week 5, had a pint of fresh strawberries, so decided to keep it simple. Cooked down and strained my strawberries for the buttercream the day before. I read that my cookies were rising too fast and decided to cut the baking temp to 275°F. Results: still hollow. No pictures because I was starting to become disheartened. I began to think about giving up.
Week 5’s lesson: Cook down your fruit more til they’re really thick, or else it will be too runny for the buttercream and cause you to use more sugar.
Week 6, my bf’s birthday. I thought by now, I would have mastered the cookie for my bf’s birthday. I had this planned from week 1, pb&j macarons since those were his favorite sandwiches. This week, I decided to turn on the convection option on my oven at 300°F. The first tray, I could tell right away they were hollow. I was beginning to lose hope. Then I remembered a tip from the very first macaron recipe I tried “when you get hollows, turn up your oven temp.” So I went for it, 320°F convection. I should’ve listened to Miss Ann Reardon from the get-go (https://www.howtocookthat.net/public_html/easy-macaron-macaroon-recipe/) because this batch, it was perfect. I sacrificed a shell and cracked it open: no hollow, macaron perfection.
I made a buttercream from the previous week’s strawberry reduction and swirled it with a peanut buttercream. It was tough keeping my bf out of the kitchen for his pb&j surprise.
Week 6’s lesson: If there’s hollows, turn up your oven temp!
Why didn’t I turn up the temp before? Well I tried but my cookies browned (lime pistachio). Turns out I was using the wrong food coloring. I bought the first gel coloring I saw and it was for icing. Icing coloring is not meant to be cooked, so they will brown faster than your cookie. Buy yourself some proper Americolor.
Also, here’s the recipe I use:
30g granulated sugar
100g egg whites
200g powdered sugar
120g almond flour
pinch of salt
When making a different nut flavored shell, substitute half of the almond flour w/ the flour of your choosing.
That’s all for my first post! Doubt this will get much traction but I just had to write this all down. It was like a constant battle/argument with myself these past 6 weeks trying to figure all this out.