Before I say anything else, I just want to thank ALL of you, from the bottom of my heart, for your very kind words about my little store. People who read and write blogs are the nicest people EVER! And a special thanks to all of you who supported my store too!
So, did you all have a good weekend? Between my store opening duties, I decided to have a baking adventure. I’m sure you’ve noticed that macarons, those beautiful little french cookies have been popping up all over. I was driving somewhere a few months ago, and I heard on an NPR moment, that macarons are to this decade of the 21st century, what cupcakes have been to the first decade. Well hell-lo! You know how I feel about cupcakes, so those little macarons must be something else!
And on top of that, there’s this:
Holy Cow! McDonald’s in France are selling Macarons! After I saw the picture above, and watched the video in this article (go check it out — it’s funny and it shows you what the French think of McDonald’s and their macarons) I decided that I really must try these little cookies out.
I searched blogs and read as much as I could before I started. One of my new favorite blog crushes in the food world is Not So Humble Pie. She has a gorgeous blog and she’s done some very thorough posts on the making of macarons. She has a really good three part series (part 1, part 2, and part 3) to help navigate the possible pitfalls in macaron making. So, armed with her basic recipe, on Friday, I set out to make her Lemon Marscarpone Macarons. First I tested one little cookie:
Not too bad! Not too bad at all. Problem was that it was as hollow as a cave inside that little macaron, and they’re not supposed to be that way. So, I decided maybe they were cooking too fast and I dropped the oven temp by ten degrees, to 325:
Nope. Not as good — theses cookies were pretty flat and still hollow. I bumped the temp back up and decided to just bake them in all their hollow goodness and be done with this batch. They tasted fine and at least they looked ok:
For my second attempt, I decided to try Ms. Humble’s Blueberry Macarons. On this recipe, I was short 5 grams of egg whites and decided not to crack open another egg just for five little grams. I’ll just cut this story short right here and tell you that they looked awful. They tasted ok, but that 5 grams made a huge difference in the moisture. These cookies were dense and heavy. And they were still hollow! (Those spots are bits of blueberry — these were goooood!)
So I gave up for the day. On Saturday, I had a wonderful outing with the quilty peeps — it was a great break and it gave me the energy to try again on Sunday. Once again I used Ms. Humble’s basic recipe (being sure to measure more carefully) and decided to go with pink this time.
In the meantime, I’d had a little e-mail conversation with Lisa and decided to let the egg whites “age” for 24 hours (I didn’t do this with the first batches) and let the cookies rest for an hour before baking (the first batches only rested for 15 minutes). Here they are looking all sweet and innocent while resting:
And here they are after they baked:
What. The. Hey!!! They’re lopsided. That was totally unexpected. I have NO clue what caused that and just to check if it was the resting time, I only rested the second batch for 20 minutes. Still crooked. And guess what? They were STILL hollow! These are some VERY. FUSSY. LITTLE. SUCKERS!!! At this point, I threw in the towel and “frosted” them with raspberry jam (they tasted great).
So, I’ve been beaten by a cookie! Any macaron experts out there? I’d love to hear from you. I do love the taste of the macarons, although, for me they’ll NEVER replace a cupcake. (And it’s not just because I can make a pretty good cupcake LOL!) I feel like I’m trapped in a game of paper-rock-scissors. Me-cupcake-macaron. Paper kicks rock, rock kicks scissors, scissors kicks paper. I kick cupcake, cupcake kicks macaron, macaron kicks ME!