Adventures in macarons… I swear, these will be the death of me. Each time I make them, they turn out differently. As I try to stress to my students, making macarons is all about practice. And whilst I am starting to understand a little more how they work, and there is a certain comfort in knowing they will always be slightly different, despite the fact that I follow pretty much the same recipe every time, the Taurus in me hates this.
This month, I am still working to battle hollow shells with my French meringue macarons and have changed up my recipe a little to lower the temperature and extend the baking time (300˚F for 16 minutes). This month, the raspberry shells were amongst my best shells ever. Perfect-looking and perfect consistency. I used a little freeze-dried raspberry powder in these to give them a wonderfully tart raspberry flavour…
Encouraged by the success of these, I felt like I should try the Italian meringue method again. Last time I tried this, I had fabulous results, so was keen to try again. I imagined I might make “Cookies and Cream” macarons to incorporate a little colour for some visual appeal. Alas, it was not meant to be and my macaron shells ended up looking rather tipsy. Not sure what happened, except that my trays might be a little warped – this happened before but not to this extent. I mean, really – this is scary!
Whoah, right? (and this is nothing fancy – it’s simply a tiny dob of different-coloured macaron mixture piped into the shell…)
In any case, the texture of these was pretty good – not hollow and nice and chewy inside so despite their weird appearance, I filled a few of them…
These *tasted* great. I used chocolate ganache and a cream cheese frosting and put a little bit of both in. Weird looking, yet tasty. And certainly presentable. Right???
Not happy with these (yes, my name is Mardi and I am obsessed with macarons) I decided to go back to the French meringue method and just do some simple macarons with two different shell colours (white, plain shells and raspberry shells) filled with two different-coloured cream cheese frosting. The raspberry shells I made were perfect. Not hollow at all. The white shells were not completely hollow but were, in fact, very different than the raspberry shells – much more brittle and less chewy. Sigh. To add to my perplexed woes, the cream cheese frosting, normally so creamy and smooth, just didn’t work like it should. I mean, I make this multiple times a month and it NEVER looks like this (below). It was more like a cream cheese spread than a frosting – sort of whipped butter crossed with cream cheese. In any case, even if it wasn’t smooth and creamy, it tasted great – especially after a day in the fridge and brought to room temperature…
But I am NOT a happy camper this month. Despite three very successful classes at le Dolci in the past four weeks, as well as a “girls’ night out macaron party” at a friend’s house all with pretty great results, of course it turns out that the ones I make to post on my blog are sub-par. Oh well, I need to believe what I tell my students, which is that one must make mistakes in order to learn, and always know that making macarons is like that elusive box of chocolates – “You never know what you’re going to get.” Onwards and upwards. There’s always next month!
This post participates in Mactweets. This month’s theme was “Colour my World”.
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Mardi Michels is a full-time French teacher and part-time food blogger based in Toronto. Her blog, eat.live.travel.write focuses on culinary adventures both near and far because she travels as often as she can!
by Food Network Canada