Adventures in Macaron Making
My mom is in town. She comes over every couple of weeks to hang out and see Marin, help me out/give me a break, etc. She’s done this since I was about 30 weeks pregnant with Marin and Dustin was on an out of town rotation for two months. Her company and her help is invaluable. It’s also something I really look forward to because it gives me the time and the right company to try out all sorts of new stuff in the kitchen. This visit, the attempt was aimed at macarons. Not those awful American coconut macaroons. No, the ever so delicious, delicate French cookie, known for being temperamental and somewhat elusive to master.
In anticipation for this event, I began to research my tush off. I consulted macaron masters the web over. I didn’t expect full on success the first go round, but I didn’t expect monumental failure, either. I suppose the results landed somewhere in that vicinity. Armed with what I decided was the best recipe and method, as well as a visual demonstration, I was ready to go. Well, kind of.
You see, most of the macaron recipes I had determined would yield the best results were insanely precise. Baking, of course, is much more reliant on precision and measurements than cooking. The recipes I had selected were so precise that I needed a kitchen scale, as the ingredients were to be weighed by the gram, not measured in volume. After much deliberation on the day, I just went for it. I would wing it, I thought. And quite honestly, except for the egg whites, I think I didn’t do a terrible job with weight to volume type conversions. Admittedly, I am not a math person. Like, at all. Did I think that one through? Ehhhh, not so much. In fact, I kind of thought I was rocking it. Everything was going according to instructions… or maybe in my macaron delusions that was the case. The first round turned out like this:
The flavor was excellent and I loved the Bourbon Vanilla Bean I scraped in. I think I even ate a few of these cookie type things. OK, I know I did.
Macaron: 1. Traci: 0.
I could not let the cookie win. At least, not by such a large margin. So back to Google. On to YouTube. I needed volume measurements for my next attempt. I just wanted something to sort of resemble the macaron I was after. Precision could come later. Skill can be refined. I didn’t care about all that anymore. I needed something that would give me that crunchy shell with the soft, chewy interior. So after watching a few videos, I settled on this one by Honeysuckle Catering. She was cheerful, pleasant, and the recipe was simple and uncomplicated. So back into the kitchen I went. The only alteration I made to the recipe was adding a teaspoon of vanilla (as I was out of beans. Must buy paste.). Based on this recipe and the addition of one teaspoon of rose water, I decided that was an acceptable thing to do. At this point, whatever.
I don’t know who won this round. Did it look like a macaron? Ummmm. Cracks? Um, yes. And before you say anything, of course I rapped it on the counter. Feet? Um, sort of. I mean, I told myself I saw a few feet. Taste? Yum. Alright, so maybe this one goes to the macaron as well. Especially after you consider the fact that the filling I selected (white chocolate cream cheese) never solidified before I piped it. Oh, later, yes. Much, much later. And believe me, I did not rush it. I’ll go with a buttercream filling next time. Yes, there will be a part deux. This tiny little cookie may have knocked me down, but believe me, I’ll get up again. Let’s go, macaron.