Strawberry Mint Macarons

by Jenn on June 6, 2009

in Desserts,Flops,Gluten Free

When making macarons, you must make sure that you….

BEWARE THE MACARONS MONSTERS!

dscn46952macaron-375x500

Ok, so I had a little bit of fun here.  How could I not? My macarons turned out a total flop – not in flavor mind you, but in appearance.  Of course I had a gut feeling this was going to turn into a challenge…but I am not one to walk away just because something is hard.  I have to prove I can do it!  My first try was just that, a first try ha.  But the overall concept worked, it was just the shape that I need to work on….

To make macarons, I did a LOT of research, and found that by far the best resource and macarons chef in the world is Tartelette - she has a number of types of macarons in her blog archives, in just about every flavor you could imagine (not to mention some gorgeous pictures).  If you are going to make macarons, I strongly suggest that you read her “Macarons 101″ in Desserts Magazine.  There are a lot of tips in that article that I’d never have picked up on otherwise.  But then, I didn’t catch all the tips obviously since I have a rather carnivorous looking macaron cookie.

Her basic recipe for the shells hardly ever changes – the ingredients are simple:
90 g egg whites
30 g sugar
200 g powdered sugar
110 g ground almonds

However, if you are like me and don’t own a scale at home, this can make things a bit tricky.  So, I did the best I could using some math and this conversion chart, and came up with the following volumes:
3 egg whites
2.5 tbs sugar
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup ground almonds (I own tons of almond meal)

Next came pulsing the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a food processor.  I then beat the egg whites  and gradually added in the sugar until what I thought where stiff peaks (they passed the turn the copper bowl upside-down over your head test) – then just fold the two together and pipe on to a sheet lined with parchment paper.  I added in 2 drops of red food coloring here too, to make them pink.

Getting parchment paper was another story – I went to my local grocery store, and looked by the foil/wax paper, and no such luck.  So then I did the next logical thing which was to ask an employee.  Here is how the convo transpired:
Me: Excuse me, do you know where I can find parchment paper?
Employee: I don’t even know what that is, lady.
Me: It’s like wax paper, but not waxy, you use it for baking…
(Employee wanders off mid sentence)
Intercom: Some lady wants to buy wax paper what aisle is wax paper in?
(Employee comes back)
Employee: Aisle 15.
Me: Yes, I looked there, I couldn’t find it…
(Employee ignores me and goes back to what he was doing)

Apparently parchment paper is a crazy product that no normal person should know about.  Lesson learned.  I eventually did find it, next to the ready made pie crusts.  Anyways, for something like this, use parchment paper.  The last thing you want to be doing is scraping your cookies off because they stuck to your pan.  That is a 100% sure way to ruin them.

I baked mine, but they didn’t quite turn out like they should.  You see, macarons are supposed to be fairly flat, but with “feet” on the bottom, like in this wikipedia pic:

Well, mine didn’t just have feet, they grew legs and just about walked off my pan! See my macaron cookie attempting to to travel:
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Oh well, I’m not about to have wandering macarons stop me from attempting this great dessert!  On to the strawberry mint filling!

Next I piped it on to my mishapen macaron cookies:
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Then topped with another cookie to form a cookie sandwich, and enjoyed the deliciousness of it even if it didn’t look so pretty.

To make my “macaron monster”, I piped some whipped cream dots for eyes and filled his mouth so that the mint leaf tongue would stick, and then stuck in two lavender blossoms for the pupils.  A couple of streaks of chocolate gave him a comb-over, haha.

So I really have no idea what went wrong with my macarons.  If you can help me figure it out, I’d gladly appreciate it!

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica June 6, 2009 at 11:25 pm

I love the first picture :) Sorry they didn’t turn out the way you wanted but at least the flavor was still good!

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Caitlin June 6, 2009 at 11:39 pm

Huh, I’m trying to figure out what happened there – almost looks like you didn’t fold enough? Or they weren’t dry to the touch on top? I’ve never had them explode like that, just crack or get a lopsided foot.

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littlebluehen June 7, 2009 at 12:00 am

Even if they weren’t perfect, I enjoyed your embracing of the mess in your styling and laughed out loud hard enough to warrant sharing the post with my husband. The monster is great!

I had some less-than lovely baking results this week, too, but everything tasted good!

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shannon June 7, 2009 at 3:52 pm

What temperature did you use? I know Helen suggests 290F, but I have found that to be too low for my oven. I use 315F convect.

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PatW June 7, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Did you put strawberries in the macaron batter? The extra liquid might have thrown it off.

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Erin June 8, 2009 at 1:06 am

Hahahaha! I love it! It looks like it belongs on Sesame Street.

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thepinkpeppercorn June 8, 2009 at 1:38 am

That monster is hilarious!

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amy June 8, 2009 at 4:13 pm

omg sooooo qt! your post is making me real hesitant on making them! yes.i have never made macarons. hehe.

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WendyGK June 9, 2009 at 12:14 am

I know a place in Columbus where you can get some lovely macarons. :)

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Paula February 22, 2010 at 3:40 pm

My first Macarons came out the same way. http://kokeile.vuodatus.net/blog/2372583/epaonnistuneet-macaron-leivokset/ (With huge feet) :D I’m quessing you used too hot oven? I found a possible answer here: http://joepastry.com/index.php?title=troubleshooting_macarons&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

I’m going to try again again some day. :) Not giving up!

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Jenn June 7, 2009 at 4:35 pm

I set it right between 280 and 290F – I don’t have a convection, just a plain old regular oven…I also made sure to let them rest before baking like she had instructed too…

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Jenn June 7, 2009 at 4:41 pm

I very well may not have folded enough, I’m not sure. This is probably the part where I am least sure that what I was doing was correct. They were dry to the touch on top though because I made sure to let them rest…

Yeah it’s like they went all vertical when baking it’s really odd.

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Jenn June 7, 2009 at 6:03 pm

No strawberries were in the macaron batter, just 2 drops of red food coloring (maybe that was too much? there is no such thing as powdered food coloring at my grocery store)…the strawberries made their appearance in the whipped cream filling, which I am currently using as a dip for eating more strawberries :)

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Jenn June 8, 2009 at 4:15 pm

No you should try them, don’t be hesitant! Maybe yours will work out better than mine :)

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Jenn June 9, 2009 at 1:03 am

haha I know, and they were SO good too! That was actually what inspired me to attempt them…I just had to figure out how to do it :)

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