August 15, 2010

Macar-oh, no!

Recently, my fascination in French Macarons has grown exponentially. Now don't confuse them with macaroons, their equally yummy coconut cousins... These are macarons - one "o" and very French! After seeing them scattered around the internet and never having tasted one myself, I decided it was time I dove into the world of finicky French pastries. I've never needed to meticulously follow a recipe like this before and I don't think I've been so determined to get something right! Not only are these colorful confections delicious, but they are adorable as well.

image: credit

My mission began after reading this recipe. I got what ingredients I lacked and set to work. The directions, I thought, were pretty straight forward. After following them quite closely, I was extremely disappointed when they came out speckled, runny, and gooey.

Macaron: V.1.0 - Failure :(

Mistake #1: While I set my egg whites out overnight as the recipe instructed, I didn't understand WHY I was keeping eggs out and covered them tightly with plastic wrap. Seems logical, right? Wrong! The purpose of leaving your egg whites out is to let some of the moisture evaporate out. Covering them with plastic obviously defeats that.

Mistake #2: I was unable to find store-bought almond flour so I settled to grind my own almonds into dust. That would have been fine had I known to Blanche the almonds and remove their skins first. Not a fatal flaw, but the asthetic is lost when the shiney shells are speckled with almond skin.

Mistake #3: I am pretty sure my proportions were off, causing the batter to be super runny.

After lamenting the loss of my first batch, I set to doing lots of research. Once I read a bit of information from Syrup and Tang, I began to understand what went so wrong. I altered my course and tried it again. This time, I hit the mark... The yummy, crisp, chocolaty mark.

Macaron: V.2.0 - SUCCESS!

Ahh, success!
The only thing I would do differently next time would be to put less chocolate ganache in the middle... A strange concept, I know. Mine aren't quite so perfect, but they are edible and much prettier than the first attempt. Needless to say, but you guys will be seeing some more of these little lovelies soon... Both in edible form and wearable form :)

Moral of the story - Always try to find out WHY you're supposed to follow recipes to the letter.
Also, keep in mind that cooking is an ART, while baking is a SCIENCE.

Have you ever had a recipe turn out TERRIBLY wrong? Comment! I'd love to hear about your trial and error stories :)


  1. Wow those look so good! I want some!!

    When I was younger, I used to try to 'invent' recipes. The worst was when I made some delicious looking cupcakes that had like 8 cups of salt in them instead of sugar. One bite was like swallowing sea water. Actually, I think my fizzy drink concoction was worse.. I thought that people would like milk, diet coke, and chocolate syrup mixed together. I never understood why my parents would 'save that one for later'.. haha.

  2. Thanks, I will have to give them a try! Great tips!