So, where do I begin…. OK, I started this blog to document my success and my failures at cooking. I wanted this blog to show my struggle in the kitchen and to be an honest account of my journey.
To say I was excited to try french macarons, is an understatement. I’ve been printing off a few different recipes a day for the past week and watching endless YouTube tutorials. Yesterday, I could barely sleep thinking of which fillings I’d try and what cute colors I’d make them (I’m a total loser…I know). The plan for this chilly winter Saturday was to head over to the grocery store first thing and pick up our ingredients. Then spend the afternoon having our own little macaron makin’ party. I woke up super early and while Chris was still sleeping I slipped down to the kitchen, started a big pot of coffee. Then buried myself under a big warm blanket and popped on some old beautiful french movies. I love them! I’ve spent far to many Sundays wasting the day watching them, the older the better. This morning was filled with (I think maybe the most beautiful actress to ever live) Anna Karina. A Woman Is a Woman from Jean-Luc Godard (1961) to be exact.
As soon as Chris woke up I forced him to finish his morning coffee as quickly as possible so I could start our macarons. As soon as he finished his last sip I dragged him to the car and off we went. We ended up going to two different grocery stores to get everything we needed (almond flour) and headed home. As we made and ate breakfast I watched more YouTube tutorials… “I finally got them right on my fifth try” one said, another explaining how they’ve tried for over a year before perfecting them. I wasn’t going to let their negativity stop me. I was determined.
I mixed and whisked and whisked some more (we don’t have a mixer)…popped them in the oven and sat on the floor asking Chris the time every couple minutes anxiously awaiting my sweet perfect little treats….
As I opened the oven… I was horrified! What I had created was far from the perfect Parisian delicacy I was so excited to make. It was a mess! The pan had warped in the oven so half of them slid to one side, the bottoms burnt and the consistency was like hot chewy sugar gum. All I could picture is a young perfectly french Anna Karina shaking her head in disappointment. As Chris and I broke into laughter staring at my miserable sugar disks, Chris unable to hide his amusement “Bet, you were thinking you’d be the first person to nail these on your first try?” . We cleaned and cut as best we could to get some descent shots of the finished product and that was that. They sit on the counter being the first cookie in history to be completely ignored by both of us.
- 1 1/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon icing sugar
- 1 cup almond flour
- 6 tablespoons fresh egg whites (from about 3 extra-large eggs)
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- To make the macarons: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and ground almonds. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites with salt on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. Continue to whip until stiff glossy peaks form. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the confectioners’ sugar mixture until completely incorporated.
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Fit a pastry bag with a 3/8-inch #4 round tip, and fill with batter. Pipe 1-inch disks onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. The batter will spread a little. Let stand at room temperature until dry, and a soft skin forms on the tops of the macarons and the shiny surface turns dull, about 15 minutes.
- Bake, with the door of the oven slightly ajar, until the surface of the macarons is completely dry, about 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet to a wire rack and let the macarons cool completely on the baking sheet. Gently peel off the parchment. Their tops are easily crushed, so take care when removing the macarons from the parchment. Use immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
- To fill the macarons: Fill a pastry bag with the filling. Turn macarons so their flat bottoms face up. On half of them, pipe about 1 teaspoon filling. Sandwich these with the remaining macarons, flat-side down, pressing slightly to spread the filling to the edges. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
*recipe originally from marthastewart.com
I don’t even know If I can bare another attempt. Maybe, one day I will sacrifice another Saturday and dedicate it to the making of such a wonderful little cookie. “Bet, you were thinking you’d be the first person to nail these on your first try?” …YA, I did.