When making macarons, you must make sure that you….
BEWARE THE MACARONS MONSTERS!
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:
Oh well, I’m not about to have wandering macarons stop me from attempting this great dessert! On to the strawberry mint filling!
Strawberry Mint Whipped Cream
About 1 cup strawberries
About half a dozen leaves of fresh mint
3/4 cup of heavy cream
1. Cut and halve strawberries and add strawberries and mint to a food processor.
2. Pulse until you get a puree.
3. Use mixer on highest setting (at least for my hand mixer), and beat heavy cream until it magically becomes whipped cream (i.e. forms stiff peaks).
4. Adding in about 1-2 tbs. of puree at a time, gradually and slowly whisk in (I mean, gingerly fold but do it using a whisk) to the whipped cream until enough flavor/color is incorporated. I think I ended up adding a little over 1/4 cup in total of puree. You don’t want to add too much or the whipped cream will fall flat and you won’t be able to work with it.
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!