Macarons – First Try

I made my first attempt at macarons this week. Yes, I know I said I would be trying them on the weekend but when the urge strikes, you go with it. So I did. I also journalled about the process. Today’s post will be taken directly from what I wrote. Without further ado…

January 11, 2017

Macarons. It’s a word that elicits oooohs and OH! from many. Most who oooooh do so because they know how tasty these delicate little cookies are –  crunchy exterior, soft interior, melt in your mouth decadence.

dscn0430Those who response is more along the lines of OH! know that they can be finicky to make. Humidity and weather can affect the cookies. Ovens vary. Ingredients should be the best available. Newbies should quake in their boots.

I don’t know about all that. This coming weekend I’ll be trying my hand at this French classic. I’ve made croissants; macarons can’t be that difficult, can they?

10:15 p.m.

Okay, not difficult but certainly “moody”. The first attempt has been made and, though delicious, I’d classify them as dismal. I will try again on the weekend. In the meantime, I’ll do more reading.

Now, to bed.

January 12, 2017 a.m.

Thinking and analyzing, two things strike me.

  1. Oven temp for the first batch was too high (325ºF); oven temp for the second batch was too low (200ºF).
  2. Too much moisture in the egg whites, hence the “aging” in a lot of the recipes I’ve seen.

I’ve seen a few people suggest adding a bit of egg white powder to help with the latter. It may be something to have on hand.

January 12, 2017 p.m.

When I got home this evening, I decided to bake off the last bit of the macaron batter. Brainchild that I am, I forgot to let them develop a skin, to dry out a bit before baking. Basically, they’re not much more than flat macaroons. 

dscn0433

Oh well. A bit of salted caramel sauce makes almost anything taste amazing.

 

A couple of lessons have already been learned. First, my oven is a piece of crap. We know it runs hot; we just didn’t know how hot. Last night, we purchased an oven thermometer. This morning, I set the oven to 150ºF just to warm it. The thermometer read almost 250ºF! To say I was a little shocked is an understatement! I will definitely need to monitor the temperature of my oven if my macarons are to be successful.

Second, when measuring my egg whites, err on the side of less rather than more and make sure to age them. The recipe I used called for 120 grams of egg whites, or the egg whites from approximately three large egg whites. Well, three egg whites was less that 120 grams; four egg whites was more than 120 grams. I went with four; I should have gone with three. As well, I should have aged them. What’s aging? According to most of the recipes I’ve read, to age your egg whites, you put them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, poke some holes in the wrap and allow your eggs to mellow out in the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours, or up to five days. It helps to evaporate some of the water in the egg whites and loosens the structure of the albumen.

I know I’m making it sound as if my first attempt was an abject failure. It wasn’t, really. The resulting cookies (they don’t qualify as macarons yet) were amazingly delicious. I gave John one filled with grape jelly; he didn’t care much for that one. When he saw that I was filling mine with salted caramel sauce, he tried one, too. He immediately let me know that the salted caramel sauce would not be lasting long. Truly, they taste great even though they’re not proper macarons… yet.

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3 responses

    • I hadn’t heard it before, either, Sharron. I’m learning more than I ever thought I would when I started thinking about making macarons. I’m realizing now that an oven thermometer is a good thing to have, no matter what you’re baking. Ovens can be temperamental, even new ones.

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