I have caught the Macaron bug.
And now I will detail my adventure/illness at fattyChat, because you’re not fatty unless you love sweets. Read on if you do!
I was first introduced to these little treats by a friend, who was at the time obsessed with them. My first macarons were from Tom Keller’s Bouchon. Knowing fully well who Tom Keller was, I assumed I was in good hands. My first bite was pretty good but far from life-changing. No offense to Tom Keller himself but the cookie was simply too sugar-y and maybe even too fragile for me.
My second macaron was from Maison de Patisserie, and it was far from satisfying. The cookie crumbled in the bag before I even had a chance to taste it! This poor experience coupled with my mother raving about her new favorite cookies (from Cocola in Santana Row, not Maison) led me to my first macaron attempt.
Attempt No.1 was decent. Luckily, I found a link off the same friend’s blog to Helen at http://www.mytartelette.com/, who takes amazing pictures and even more amazingly, leaves recipes (which are hard to find now on some blogs/websites)! She also leaves wonderful tips and step-by-step pictures can be found in her article in Desserts mag. Thus I must credit much of my success of my first attempt to Helen.
Attempt No. 2 though was a disaster. I found an article and recipe in my newly subscribe Food & Wine mag and decided to try it, thinking I would be more successful with the Italian method. Previously, I had used the French method that requires a little more patience because of the 45 min to a hour “sitting” time after you pipe them. The Italian method allows you to bake the macarons immediately and also give the shells a “shinier” look. I wouldn’t know since my turned out to be flatter than floppy disks :( It was then that I read that once you find a recipe that works for you, stick with it!
So I went back to Helen’s recipe, and found myself much happier. I slightly cut the sugar content though because they were still too sweet for me and thankfully, there was no noticeable difference in the outcome. Attempts 3-5 were also good where I had fun experimenting with raspberry flavours and heart-drawing but somewhere around attempt 6 or 7, my macarons began to crack! Some were also feetless, or lacked that little rise/airy-ness between the bottom of the shell and the top. I quickly ran to my computer to research what in the world was going on, only to read that even the most experienced bakers have flops with these fickle things once in a while and nothing more. I literally tossed and turned all night last night, trying to figure out what I could do and counting down the hours until I could try again.
Attempt… 8? Feels like so much more. I have finally achieved perfection! Well, they aren’t perfect perfect but the feets are beautiful, I found no cracks! and they are pretty flat. My first couple of batches had peaks and were resembled mountains. These had a little bit of that but much less so I’m content. The only complaint I had with this batch is that they began to brown in the oven and thus you cannot tell from the outer shell that they are actually raspberry flavored! Tomorrow I will increase the amount of fruit powder and decrease the temperature of the oven a bit.
I’ll let you guys know if that seems to help. I’ll also post about fillings next time! Thanks for reading :)