Small and Mighty: the Macaron
Ah, the macaron. Small and sweet, perfectly prim, and a force to be reckoned with. I made a batch of these last night, and I’m still trying to figure out all the ways I went wrong — but at least they taste delicious! I’m not much of a baker, preferring the trial-and-error type of prep involved with savory dishes over the mathematical precision needed for baking. However, I’ve been watching MasterChef, a reality show (hosted by the ferocious Gordon Ramsay) where ambitious home cooks compete in various cooking challenges, so I felt inspired to try something outside of my comfort zone. I also wanted to use the beautiful new hand mixer my mom gave me for Christmas, and test my meringue abilities.
Long, long story short, I’m optimistically calling these macarons a 75% win and a 25% failure. They look absolutely nothing like the photo in the recipe I followed (and definitely nothing like macarons in the windows of Financier and other fancy bakeries), but they do taste really, really good.
Looking back, it is laughable how simple the recipe made these cookies seem. When I was piping the batter out of a ziploc bag (yep, not a pastry bag, just a ziploc bag), I realized I had no idea how tall to pipe the macarons. After hurriedly Googling “tips for macarons,” there are entire WEBSITES devoted to all the problems you can encounter. I pressed on and ended up with some deflated and dense cookies to sandwich around a delicious lemon buttercream frosting.
I think my biggest issue was not beating the eggs enough. “Stiff peaks” did not exactly form before I folded the dry ingredients in, so that probably prevented my cookies from being as tall as they were supposed to. I was supposed to start beating on Medium, but it was probably more like Medium-Low, before working my way up to High. Oops.
Thank goodness they taste delicious. It was a lot of effort, but I’d much rather have a good-tasting cookie that looks bad rather than a bad-tasting cookie that tastes good. I think that’s what Gordon would want as well. Right, Gordon?
Or maybe not.
- December 31 2013 | - Read More →