Macarons: Fail

Posted on August 23, 2011


Cooking fashions come and go, but french macarons seem to be in for the long haul.

I avoided them for a long while, but the regular MacTweets from Twitter friends like Sarah at Maison Cupcake led me to have a go early last year.

I prepared by reading lots of blogposts, recipes and online tutorials and filled my head with far too much information. The complex descriptions included ‘the mixture should flow like magma’ (who has seen magma flow?) and numerous scary statements like ‘You MUST do this’ (age your egg whites for 2 days) and ‘NEVER do that’ (stir more than x number of times)

I was ready to hyperventilate by the time I picked up a whisk to make my pistachio macarons.

What came out was a slightly flacid looking, snot green attempt. They tasted pretty good, but they were not attractive.

Determined to try again, I tried a chocolate version a week or two later.

They were a bit prettier, but not the traditional shape. Far too rounded on the top, apparently, and by the time I had made them I ran out of energy to make ganache so I just filled them with Nutella.

It was another year before I tried again. The next ones made for an all-day magazine editing session were filled with white chocolate ganache.

I thought these ones looked ok. They even had the elusive ‘feet’, but I got a few comments about how the subtle flesh tone made them look like…*ahem* well, work it out for yourself.

Oh, and did you know that white chocolate is a nightmare and it doesn’t really set in a ganache unless you use twice as much as normal chocolate?

I didn’t. But I do now.

So after another late night baking session I decided that macaron making was maybe not for me.

That was until a couple of weeks ago when we were making goodies to take to Deb’s Baby Shower.

Louise asked if I could make some lemon macarons as Deb loves them. I just had enough time to age the egg whites for two batches and I decided I wanted to follow a Mowielicious recipe. I set off to get the dried egg white powder that was in the recipe but it seems to be something that no one stocks around here. Even the local specialist cake decorating shop had not got any.

In the end I merged a couple of different recipes due to my compromised ingredients.

That was my mistake.

What a disaster.

The first batch were bad; the second were worse, they spread too far and didn’t cook in the centre. Four trays full of those lemon coloured sticky blobs I made. I couldn’t even scrape them off the paper. Not even with my teeth no matter how hard I tried!

I was at the end of my tether by the time George came in and threw them in the bin. In a panic about what I could take instead I managed to scrape together the ingredients for some teeny lemon meringues that we spread with the lemon curd and fresh cream.

“THATS IT!” I said “I am not making macarons again!”

Then…just a couple of days later, Mowie announced that his next book will be about Macarons. Now I know the photos will be beautiful and I am sure that the recipes will be tempting and easy to follow…and I really do hate to be beaten.

Perhaps I’ll try making them just one more time, when the book comes out.

Watch this space