I started writing this post yesterday but was so mad I couldn't finish it. All of these attempts, the failed batches, the garbage bags filled with empty shells - the dishes!
It was all for 'nothing' - my recipe always worked, the method was always fine, it was just the stupid parchment vs. silicone mat issue. I obviously knew it can have an effect, but I never imagined that it would have THAT kind of effect. Seriously - look at those side by side, who could've known?
I don't mean to sound agitated. In fact, it's pretty funny, and I'm glad I went through all 10 attempts to get here. I learnt a lot and I'm much more confident in my macaronage skills.
Now that I've won the main war, I'm looking forward to perfecting them and being able to serve them at the upcoming markets. Macarons are frustrating, but so much fun!!
Latest learning points:
Again and again and again and again. Sometimes I get so tired, I can't imagine getting up and starting over, but yet I do. My garbage can is filled with empty pink shells and my patience is at it wits, but I'm not giving up. Every time I learn something new, and improve them just a little more.
You see the middle and the right trays? These are from the same batch, baked at the same time. How ridiculous is that! At least now I know that double-traying is a bad idea for macarons.
My first Farmers Market is this Saturday, and one way or another, I'm serving macarons.
Attempts #2 and #3 are in. As you can see, I think I'm discovering some hot spots in my oven! That will be interesting to deal with. The second attempt was going much better and the were developing feet, but as soon as I took them out of the oven, they collapsed. A quick troubleshooting search revealed the culprit - I was baking them on my usual 350F, instead of the recommended 285F. Whoops!
Another mistake I caught (right in the middle), was my failure to see the difference between 118F and 118C... When I was heating up my sugar syrup in the previous two times, I only did it to 118F. You know, not really a big deal - only missed out on more than double the temperature! Oh well, at least I realized that before adding the syrup to the egg whites
Speaking of egg whites, I realized there's no need for aging them. I find the process of aging + straining whites to be quite laziness inducing and demotivating, so when I heard you can just microwave them for 20sec to mimic the aging effect, I went for it. One thing worth mentioning is that the 20sec has to be done in pulses. Otherwise, you might end up with fully cooked egg whites.
Funny story (or not) - for my second attempt, I waited 5 days to age the whites. By the time I deemed them as fully aged and decided to make macarons (which happened to be at midnight), I looked at the eggs and noticed something funny. There were barely any left. The entire thing has evaporated. I was left with merely 2 egg whites. Thankfully, I had some extra eggs in the fridge and rushed to the microwave to age them. I think you can guess the rest of that story. I used up all of my remaining eggs, turned all of them into a solid white mass, and had to send the mister to the store at midnight.
But, after all of those adventures - we have arrived:
I was jumping all over the kitchen when I saw these beautiful feet! I'm pretty happy with the end result, and I think now I will just work on the technique.
Things to improve:
Need I say more?
Oh yes, I do - because the second batch (that was baking at the same time as the one one) got completely burnt. Like, the fire alarm went on kind of burnt.
Well, I can't say I wasn't expecting it. This was my first time (ever!) making french macarons, and thankfully, I am a little bit wiser now - and know complicated recipes don't work out on the first trial. Instead, I just wanted to get a feel for the process, and that objective was definitely achieved.
I used a recipe by a chef I usually trust, but he did not mention sifting the ground almonds, and recommended against aging the egg whites. That with the combination of a slight over mixing resulted in the pink pool of meringue I was left with.
Alas, I carry on. I put on a batch of egg whites to age, spread out the almond meal to dry, and have been practicing my mixing motion. On the bright side, piping was a lot of fun, and the the entire thing went faster than expected.
I can't wait to try again!
Hello again! Jury date is coming up, and I'm anxious to finalize my recipes. Things are looking pretty good for my pink cakes, I had another trial run today with some changes:
But on the bright side, the sponge is spongy!
Kitchen Wars is an account of my ongoing battle against recipes and techniques that refuse to work. Sometimes it takes a while, but at the end -
I always win 😉
Enjoy this record of split buttercreams, wasted eggs, and record setting sugar usage.