Day 4: Imperfect Chocolate Macarons
I’ll admit that after yesterday’s excitement over making a cookie that I had only previously ventured to buy from a bakery may have gone to my head a little. I should have waited a bit before attempting one of the most challenging cookie recipes to get right: French Macarons.
Oh, macarons, who do you have to so very delicious and beautiful and difficult to make? I have attempted this madness once before, several years ago at Christmastime and I vowed then that I would never try them again. They were lumpy. The batter was difficult to pipe evenly. And I had a sore arm for days from the effort of all the folding and piping. It would be better to just buy them when I wanted one.
I wish I had remembered that, but this week, I think I may have lost my mind a little. This is only the fourth or fifth incident that has happened to me this week that began with hope, but ended only in disappointment. Apparently, hope really does spring eternal, personally and in the kitchen.
Ah, well, what can a person do except try to learn from the situation and move on?
So, here’s what I learned.
1. Just because a professional pastry chef tells you that a recipe is full proof, does not mean that it actually is, especially if you don’t follow the directions exactly.
2. Looks aren’t everything. I dreamed of a beautifully smooth cookie, but got mostly lumpy, cracked cookies. Still, they tasted really good, according to the husband.
3. Macaron batter has to be piped, not scooped. I did remember having trouble with the piping last time, so I thought I would try to scoop them. After all, they would be more uniform, right? Well, yes, they are all the same size, but they are also lumpy and cracked. The last pan that I piped looked better; still not smooth and shiny, but better.
4. It’s probably best to try the recipe as written once or twice before deciding to double, triple, or quadruple the recipe, like I did. Silly me.
My only consolation in all this is that they really did taste quite good. They are intensely chocolatey, the shells are crispy, and they are nice and chewy on the inside. I filled a few of these with some mocha buttercream that I had stashed away in the freezer.
Everyone in the house who did not make them loved them. I am disapponted by the way they look, but I will say that these really are pretty easy, very tasty, and quite a treat. They have humbled me and it’s taken me about a day to come to terms with it, but I think in the end that it has been a good experience for me. So, if you get one in your cookie tin, please don’t judge it by its looks alone. Beauty is more than skin deep.
If you would like to try this recipe, you can find it here. Maybe it will work out better for you than it did for me, but if it doesn’t, don’t despair. They will be delicious anyway.
p.s. Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a tin of cookies! We got some wonderful snow yesterday. I love snow. I love how the whole world goes quiet when it snows. Do you like snow? What’s your favorite thing about snow?