Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all my readers!
I decided to try something new to celebrate the holiday. The other day I was wandering through World Market looking at all of their new seasonal goods and came across a book called Macarons by Annie Rig. Turning just a few of the pages I quickly decided that this would be my next food project. I have always admired how delicate macarons are, but never thought to make my own. I had heard that they are somewhat temperamental to make which could be the reason I had left such things to more skilled cooks. The only way to grow as a cook is to step outside your comfort zone and try a recipe that challenges you. I did a little research online in addition to scouring over the information Annie provided in her very beautiful and well written book to be sure I felt well informed to jump in with both feet.
Macarons are tricksters that is for sure. I felt like my first batch turned out very well, though there were a few hiccups along the way. They weren’t as fussy as I had anticipated. Most of what I like to call the “watch tv while you wait” steps were flexible enough that I could multi-task and continue on with other steps within the recipe. There is nothing I find more frustrating than a recipe that has 80 steps with lots of wait time in between and no way to multi-task. I found that creating the meringue was much easier than I was expecting. I thought for sure it would be the hardest part. I used a tip I found from FOOD NOUVEAU who has a plethora of very well informed tips and tricks. This was to chill my mixer bowl and my whisk. I decided to stick them both in the freezer over night. Food nouveau also mentions to separate your egg whites and keep them chilled overnight. I think both of these factors helped me to get my egg whites to the perfect consistency. I purchased ground almond which was to be blended with confectioner’s sugar in a food processor. I don’t think I ground the almonds down enough as the batter ended up having larger flecks of almond than I would have liked. Next time I think I will be sure to use almonds that have had their skins removed to avoid the specks. Although in a way it added to these particular macarons since it almost looks like chocolate chips. The only other struggle I had was that I failed to create a cheat sheet template on my parchment paper to guide the sizing of my macarons. Next time I’ll be sure to do this and hopefully I will come out with more even and well shaped macarons.