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Third Time’s the (Lucky) Charm!

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So remember how I said I was going to give in to peer pressure and make something green for St. Patrick’s Day? I decided on the French macaron. Having made these before (it was my first time back then) with success, I figured it wouldn’t be any harder the second time around. But just to be sure, I spent a few hours reading, and studying recipes, methods, pictures, and watching videos, just to be sure I wouldn’t mess up.

Bear with me, there are a lot of photos. Mainly because I like showing my fails, to give you an idea of what a fail looks like, so you can try and avoid it.

And you may be wondering why this is under the “Blog” section, and not the “Recipe” section. Well, this ended up being more about the journey, than the finished product. But no worries! I’ll be sure to post the recipes in here as we go along. :)

For reference, I decided on using Brave Tart’s lovely how-to and recipe on macarons, here.

Attempt #1: This fail was totally my fault. I over-mixed and the result was a thin, pancake-like batter.

(Attempt 1 before)

(Attempt 1 after)

Ok, no problem. I separated a few more eggs, and left them out on the counter to try again the next day. I was cool, calm, and understanding. The next day, I go at it again, this time, making sure not to over-mix.

Attempt #2: I took my time mixing. It was fluffy and thick, so I kept going, and then I hit the sweet spot of “lava” (which, by the way, I hate this description.). I felt a lot better this time, I knew I hadn’t over-mixed, and I even let them out on the counter for a whole hour this time (to create a skin). This fail made me mad. I didn’t take an “after” picture because they went straight in the trash. Wasteful? Shamefully. But they turned out E.X.A.C.T.L.Y. like Attempt #1. Cracked tops, and no feet/lace.

(Attempt 2 before)

Ok, gloves are coming off. I went stomping off and sat down and pondered. I was out of “aged” egg whites, and patience. “Screw it,” I said, “I’m going to go buy more egg whites.” So I went to the store, and this time, I bought a carton of regular, 100% real egg whites. COLD, and FRESH.

::GASP::

I like breaking rules… and really ugly glass-top coffee tables (but we’ll save that story for another day.).

Attempt #3: So I started, yet again, for the third time. Just to be spiteful toward the batter, I under-mixed, put some in a bag and piped a few.

(Attempt 3, under-mixed batter, before)

See how thick that is? That is an example of under-mixed batter. It should not be that thick. But I was acting like a brat, since I over-mixed the batter on Attempt 1, I thought of trying under-mixed.

Then I continued mixing about 6 more times, until I reached the same “lava” consistency as before, and put that in a bag, and piped the rest.

(Attempt 3, good consistency batter, before)

Well, the under-mixed batter cracked:

But look! The “lava” consistency came out the right way!

So what was different this time? Nothing. Absolutely nothing aside from my cold, fresh egg whites. And my attitude. I’d like to mention, this is also how I passed my drivers test when I was 16. I started off really polite to my tester, and in a good mood, but the guy was a total jerk and started (literally) screaming at me. So I put on my bitch gloves, and got down to business. I did a perfect 3-point-turn, and nearly perfect parallel parking. Nailed it!

I have nothing to add as far as “technique” for making macarons that someone else hasn’t already said. Take your time, read through the instructions, and check and double-check your measurements. Again, the recipe I used for my macaron shells came from Brave Tart, seen here.

For the filling, I decided on a tart and gooey lime curd; and just to be cheeky, I painted the tops of the macarons with gold lustre dust ;)

Ingredients
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c lime juice
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Add the sugar, lime juice, lime zest, and salt to a pot. Mix together, and until sugar is dissolved.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk your egg yolks together, and take a ladle of the hot lime liquid and whisk into the egg yolks. This is called TEMPERING. You are slowly raising the temperature of the egg yolks so they wont freak out and turn into scrambled eggs later on.
  3. Add all of the egg yolks to the pot, whisking vigorously. Make sure your heat isn’t above medium, and after incorporating all of the yolks, slowly stir until the curd begins to thicken. About 10 minutes or so.
  4. Add butter, and stir. It should look like the consistency of pudding. If you need it to look green, go ahead and add some food coloring.

There you have it. My long journey of the French macaron. I’m going to take a nap now. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


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4 Notes

  1. Stella says:

    Congrats!! They look awesome! Macaron making is all about learning. I’m actually working on a new post about how only the meringue and macaronage matter. Cold whites? No problem. Hazelnuts instead of almonds, same diff. The important thing is getting the hang of the process, and learning from your mistakes. I have a feeling your macaron adventures will be smooth sailing from here. They look absolutely phenomenal. What an intense green!

    • admin says:

      I definitely agree. It’s so deceiving! Such a simple thing like mixing can make or break a cookie. I’m glad I kept trying though. And thank you for your wonderful walk through! :)

  2. Vysanthe says:

    Macarons are a bitch. Good work on your last lot! Lime curd sounds delicious; I want to make lemon or passionfruit flavoured ones some time. As someone who makes batches of 2000 macarons in a professional pastry kitchen, as well as attempts at home, I can tell you that it’s all about how you mix it. None of this cold/room temperature bullshit eggwhites, but you also have to rest your mix before you pipe and before you bake but not too long. I also have an issue with “housewife’ recipes that don’t measure in grams, because ratios are very important! Sifting is important for that smooth shiny texture. And I like to bake it at oven at 180 celcius then when you chuck them in there, drop it to 115 and cook for 18 minutes.

    yeppppp. I have to make some more for a party sometime; but I DO hate making them at home >_< Food colouring also stuffs it up and it's better to use gel/powder colour which is a bit more expensive.

    • admin says:

      Thank you! :) I cant imagine making so many macarons, especially professionally. That would be way too much pressure for me, lol.

      I agree, ratios are extremely important. I loooove my scale, and would definitely advise everyone to consider getting one.