French macarons are for me like heaven on Earth. The airy consistency and the strong flavors combine to make the ultimate confection.
For a while I was too intimidated to bake macarons. But after researching techniques online and reading various blogs, I finally had the confidence to give it a go.
The recipe I tried was a Martha Stewart recipe – mostly because it had been heavily reviewed and I found helpful hints in the comments section. I also referred to the Tartelette’s blog – she has a ton of flavor options and gorgeous photography.
The first time I made macarons it wasn’t a total disaster, but I forgot to add the red food coloring to make them look raspberry-flavored. Oh, and you don’t want to see the mess I made piping them out of the pastry bag. Batter was all over me. But I was able to get the little feet with my first try! They were also quite delicious with the raspberry jam filling.
I won’t lie: my second attempt was a disaster. I took a stab at pistachio macarons. They tasted great but looked awful. The macarons were more oval than circular and didn’t have feet. I added too much green food coloring so they looked like Incredible Hulk macarons. And the filling – chocolate ganache – was too runny.
But I wasn’t deterred. I had read that for many people it took several tries to master baking macarons.
I still haven’t mastered it, but boy do they taste great every time I make them!
This last time, I again tried pistachio-flavored macarons with chocolate ganache filling. And I decided not to take any short-cuts and follow the recipe to the letter. A couple of things I discovered…
- Be sure to use the whisk attachment and not the paddle attachment on your stand mixer. Up until now I had been using the paddle. Don’t know how “whisk the egg whites in mixer” eluded me.
- Sift, sift and sift some more
- Take the eggs out of the refrigerator well before you need to use them. It takes a while to get them to room temperature
- Take your time. Don’t combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar together all once.
- A drop or two of food coloring goes a long way
Also, this time I made the chocolate ganache filling first so that it could cool and solidify. It made a great difference.
So, I’m taking a break from baking macarons. It is time-consuming for so few cookies. The last batch took me about 2 hours from start to finish and I only netted about 16 macarons.
Next time though, I’m trying lemon-flavored macarons. Yum!
- Scrumptious Saturday: Baking Macarons! (stephidee.com)
- Peppermint and White Chocolate Macarons (allisoneats.com)
- Foodie Underground: Why Macarons Are Not the Next Cupcake, But Deserve Your Respect (ecosalon.com)
- The key to the perfect French macaron (mujerboricua.wordpress.com)
- Little Pink Pops (robertsandcompanyblog.com)