Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Macaron

Yes, yes, I know. It's been a little while since I've  posted. Things have been hectic lately with the new job, all the snowboarding that needed to get done, and the little baking orders along the way. Posting just got away from me. So where do I begin. Let's dive right in with the bane of my baking existence then, shall we? The macaron is such a finicky little pain in the creation. Who the heck came up with such a high maintenance dessert? I swear, if you even look at them the wrong way, they will produce no feet. If you know macarons, you know the importance of proper feet. Read: feet = good. I know my feet are a bit uneven still, but I'm not unhappy with them. Um, that's probably enough talk about my feet...

In the beginning, I made lots of mistakes:

1. Using a thin, warped baking sheet. Go for good quality, thick & heavy, aluminum ones.
2. Parchment. I had trouble with this, but luckily, I went crazy buying multiple silicone mats at an after-Christmas sale one year. I © Silpat.
3. Over-mixing - I got a chewy, flat cookie that was impossible to get off the parchment.
4. Over-blending the almond/confections sugar in the food processor - I think I got some sort of gummy goo paste from the machine overheating the ingredients.

OK. Now that I've come clean of all things mistakes I've made and learned from, I can say that I've had much success the past few times with the Italian meringue method. As if making these cookies wasn't stressful enough, you get to make syrup to incorporate into your perfectly peaked egg whites too. This method will produce beautifully domed shells for you. For me, only the rear half of my baking sheet will yield gorgeous shells as my oven is around 30 years old, is typically 50°F too hot, doesn't close properly nor has a door handle. No matter. It's probably a good thing. A convection oven is the only standing between me and a complete obsessive compulsive baking disorder.

I've searched high and low for a good tutorial and Mrs. Humble has the best one. She breaks it down to a science... literally. Her tutorial is complete with scatter plots and comparisons of ingredients adjusted by time, mass and temperature. I could have been in Biochem lab really. So I'm not going to post a recipe or instructions, because really, who am I to be telling anyone else how to make macarons.  But if you are having trouble making them, check out the tutorial. It changed my life.


  1. Awesome! For some reason (well I'm so scared to try), I have never done macaroons! I've always been telling myself to do it but I always seem to feel overwhelmed by it! Yours look sooo perfect and super delish! Yum!

  2. Thanks Rylan! Macarons are totally intimidating and you've got to prepare yourself to try a few times - unless you're just that gifted. Check out Mrs. Humble's blog. Btw, love your herb garden :)