French Macarons!!

I’ve always heard that French macarons were super hard to get right. But lately, there has been a giant influx of pictures of French macarons on the interwebs(rainbow stacked macarons, mint green macarons heaped stylishly in front of a hip, earthy background), and I eventually succumbed to the temptation of attempting a batch.Image

I have to admit, I initially made these because they were cute. I mean, look at how pretty the batter looks! I had never had a French macaron before and being a Southern girl who would take a piece of Texas sheet cake over a dainty pastry any day, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to eating them..

BUT. I made a dark chocolate ganache filling. ‘Nough said. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the ganache, because I hadn’t yet decided to share all of my baking adventures with the interwebs, but- mark my words- I will get better at taking lots o’ pics!

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Macarons for dayyyss… As you can see- baking the mixture reduces the vibrancy of the color a bit. So keep that in mind.

For the macaron cookies, I initially started out with this recipe, which has an extremely helpful video to go along with the written recipe. If you haven’t made a successful batch of macarons before, I suggest you watch her quick video before diving in. There is a fine line between a perfectly mixed batch of macaron batter (batter? dough? what IS it?!) and OVERLY mixed. She also shows you all the different ways a macaron can fail and what the problem was during mixing and/or assembly.

A few things to consider:

  • My mixture did not take nearly as many folds as she said would be needed to reach ideal consistency, so check the vid to see what the consistency should look like before folding your arm off..
  • For whatever reason, the cooking temperature and times on her page DID NOT work for my macarons. I peeked in the oven and thought I had failed miserably. They looked like teal silver dollar pancakes. Bad new bears.. So I let them hang out for several more minutes and nothing improved… in a panic, I switched over to the recipe page I had waiting for my chocolate ganache (which also had a macaron recipe) and looked at the times she had listed. A WORLD of difference! I cranked the oven up to 350, and within a few minutes, the feet on my sad silver dollar pancakes were developing!  Tiny pancakes no more!

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The ganache!!

Chocolate ganache is pretty simple, but I wanted to make sure a had a recipe that was the right consistency for macaron filling. This one was a charm. I’m also praising this recipe because the cooking times and temperatures for the macarons saved my batch! 

A couple thoughts:

  • When piping the ganache onto the macarons, use a pretty wide pastry tip. If you use a thin one (like I did..), the friction from trying to squeeze a thick ganache out of a small hole will cause the ganache to heat up just enough to be a bit too runny for assembly, which brings me to my next point…
  • Everything goes a lot smoother (literally) when the ganache is considerably colder than room temperature. If your ganache warms up a bit too much in your hand or if you became engrossed in a particularly charming episode of Say Yes to the Dress and forgot that you were holding a pastry bag full of ganache for 15 minutes or whatever, its way worth it to stick it back in the fridge for a few minutes and return it to a cooler temperature.

This was my first batch and it was nowhere near perfect. But it was fun, they were very edible, and I don’t think it was a complete and utter failure. The moral of this baking story is: crosscheck several recipes and the reviews if they have them before you get started. It may save you time and ingredients!!

I have to go open the bar (even though it’s a Tuesday morning and I doubt anyone will be gettin’ their drank on..) but when I get home, I’ll be trying a new recipe! 

Stay tuned!

-Tex

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