Other Desserts

French Macarons – First Attempt

Tomorrow my husband and I are celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary. Normally for our anniversary we would have a night out by ourselves and go to a fine dining restaurant … but not this year. Although restaurants are open for both indoor and outdoor dining in our city now, we are not feeling comfortable with going to one yet. So we decided to order in dinner and I will be making a cake.

I’ve spent a good part of the week planning this cake an I’m really hoping it turns out. I know it will taste good, but it’s the decorating I’m nervous about. I’m musically talented and a creative baker, but the visual arts were never my strong suit.

One of the elements I decided I wanted to add was some macarons. Macarons are a notoriously finicky dessert and things can go wrong at any point in the baking process. In preparation I read a bunch of recipes to decide what kind to make, and watch a video tutorial. Yesterday I decided to put my skills to the test and bake some raspberry macarons with a chocolate ganache filling. I was a bit intimidated with the whole process, as you can see by the complete disarray that my kitchen was in while I made them:

But I forged ahead and hoped for the best. The results were…. mixed.

The taste was amazaing! The raspberry flavour in the macarons really came through and matched well with the chocolate ganache. Some of them turned out like the picture at the top of this post. Nice and round with a bit of a foot (the more airy part you can see at the bottom of each macaron). But most turned out like this:

Most had little to no foot (apparently a macaron must) and as soon as I brought them out of the oven they started cracking! I decided to do some research and see if I could figure out where I went wrong. I did some more reading and watched a tutorial on common macaron mistakes and I think I went wrong in up to 3 different steps:

  1. I didn’t sift my almond mixture before adding it to the meringue. My recipe didn’t say to do this, but in reading other recipes that is a crucial step that stops the mixture from being too heavy.
  2. I either under mixed or over mixed my batter. That’s a harder one to fix since I’m not exactly sure which one I did, but I think I over whipped my egg whites. It said to whip them to stiff peaks, so I did it as I normally would for a meringue but other recipes say to whip JUST to stiff peaks so that there is not too much air incorporated.
  3. I may not have let them rest long enough before baking them. You are supposed to let the macarons rest and develop a skin on top before baking, which helps to create that classic foot. It was a hot day yesterday and a bit more humid in our house. So I let them rest for 1 1/2 hours until they didn’t feel sticky but the 2nd tray I baked, which had 10 minutes more resting time, came out much better than the first.

I’m going to do a 2nd attempt today. Keeping those three possible errors in mind. For the resting time, I’m going to let them rest in my cooler basement near the dehumidifier. I also saw a recommendation to bake them on upside down baking trays so there are no raised sides to prevent air flow in the oven, so I’ll try that. Hopefully these alterations help.

Wish me luck!

0 Comments

  1. Very impressed! I always felt macaroons were beyond me. I was looking at some hand sized macaroons in a patisserie nearby…so tempting to buy one…but I resisted!

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