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Recently, my girlfriend Maggie has been raving about macarons. Not macaroons, but macarons. Fun Fact: Did you know there is a MAJOR difference between macarons and macaroons? For a short explanation see image below:
Of course, like most things I blog about, I am no expert macaron maker. Soon you will see why… Maggie found a “simple macaron recipe” by the website Tasty. To go directly to the recipe I used, click here. Come to find out this recipe WAS NOT SIMPLE; IT WAS TIME CONSUMING AND DIFFICULT. Before you read further, if you are someone who likes to get frustrated after spending two hours of baking, then this is for you! 🙂
- 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup almond flour, finely ground
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 3 egg whites, at room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 drops gel food coloring
Butter Cream (Vanilla)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, 2 sticks, at room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- Make the macarons: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the powdered sugar, almond flour, and ½ teaspoon of salt, and process on low speed, until extra fine. Sift the almond flour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl.
- In a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt with an electric hand mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the granulated sugar until fully incorporated. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form (you should be able to turn the bowl upside down without anything falling out).
- Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add the food coloring and beat until just combined.
- Add about ⅓ of the sifted almond flour mixture at a time to the beaten egg whites and use a spatula to gently fold until combined. After the last addition of almond flour, continue to fold slowly until the batter falls into ribbons and you can make a figure 8 while holding the spatula up.
- Transfer the macaron batter into a piping bag fitted with a round tip.
- Place 4 dots of the batter in each corner of a rimmed baking sheet, and place a piece of parchment paper over it, using the batter to help adhere the parchment to the baking sheet.
- Pipe the macarons onto the parchment paper in 1½-inch (3-cm) circles, spacing at least 1-inch (2-cm) apart.
- Tap the baking sheet on a flat surface 5 times to release any air bubbles.
- Let the macarons sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until dry to the touch.
- Preheat the oven to 300˚F (150˚C).
- Bake the macarons for 17 minutes, until the feet are well-risen and the macarons don’t stick to the parchment paper.
- Transfer the macarons to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
- Make the buttercream: In a large bowl, add the butter and beat with a mixer for 1 minute until light and fluffy. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Add the cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat to combine, until desired consistency is reached.
- Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.
- Add a dollop of buttercream to one macaron shell. Top it with another macaron shell to create a sandwich. Repeat with remaining macaron shells and buttercream.
- Place in an airtight container for 24 hours to “bloom”.
Just like most amateur bakers, I did not have the right materials or ingredients to make macarons. I had to make an Amazon purchase for the macaron mats, piping bags, piping tips, and gel food dye color. Luckily, I found a “macaron starter kit” that can be found here. The kit came with two silicon oven safe macaron mats, six piping tips, two piping bags, and one coupler. I also had to make a special run to the market for most of the ingredients. As you can tell, I was excited about the entire experience shown by going out of my way to order and purchase all these items.
To be honest, the beginning of the experience was quite simple and just like any other baking experiment. It was a lot of preparation, mixing, blending, and folding in ingredients. In other words, if you have ever baked anything, it was quite similar.
It is when the combining of dry and wet ingredients that made the experiment get very interesting. Being an “extra” blogger, I wanted to do something different with the macaron colors. They were all going to be the same vanilla flavor, but I wanted the colors of all the macarons to be a hue of a single color. In other words, I wanted all the treats to be a hue of blue. The best way to explain what I am going for is shown by the picture below:
I separated the mixtures in five different bowls. What I didn’t think of at the time was I didn’t measure the dry or wet ingredients evenly. The amounts, consistencies, and colors were all very different. Let’s just say, if you are hoping for a success story, THIS IS NOT THAT.
I banged the shit out of those pans, as I was supposed to, and let them sit for an ungodly amount of time. The recipe called to let them sit for thirty minutes to an hour… I let those colorful blobs sit for literally an hour and a half hoping I was ensuring good macs. Apparently, it still wasn’t good enough… While they sat the expanded A LOT. The small blobs turned into messy bigger blobs combined into one another. Before I knew it the entire pan of raw macarons connected into one. By this point I was really failing.
They finally went into the oven. I don’t know why I was being hopeful at this point, but I was. The macarons cooked for around 17 minutes. In the midst, I started on the buttercream. I had never had a macaron with buttercream, only a gel center. So, this was a first for me.
By the time they came out of the oven, the macarons were completely wrinkled. The lighter colors cooked faster and browned quicker, while the darker colors were more defined in shape and didn’t cook all the way through. They got stuck to the pans and became unusable. Visually, the darkest blue color looked the best on the pan. Great shape, great rise, and great color. But, like I said before, they got stuck and got ruined as soon as I tried to move them (about thirty minutes of cooling).
Out of all these macarons, I got four that were semi-manageable to show you in this post. To say the least, I am disappointed and so defeated as to how hard it is to make such wonderful desserts.
After doing some research and reading opinions of others, I realized that you if you live in a humidity-prone climate, such as Myrtle Beach, such as where I live, macarons are nearly impossible to create unless you have loads of experience. Unfortunately, I DO NOT.
To say the least, this experiment was shit and like this entry for a “comeback season” post.