Friday, August 2, 2013

Macarons Are Not Macaroons - Part 1

My friend and I wanted to make French macarons. Not to be confused macaroons, (the little coconut and condensed milk delicacies), macarons are made with egg whites and ground almonds. They are the latest fad in cookies, colourful, tasty and available for purchase at limited locations. They tend to be obscenely expensive running from $1.50 to $2.50 per cookie. 

We researched extensively, watched youtube tutorials, picked one of many recipes and decided we were ready. We amassed the ingredients...egg whites, sugar, confectioner's sugar, ground almonds.
Telephone is not an essential ingredient
The egg whites were beaten into a foamy froth and sugar added. Meanwhile, the ground almonds and icing sugar were sifted and any almond chunks removed.
I think you need a KitchenAid mixer like in the youtube video
The two mixtures were folded together. There are varying suggestions as to the number of strokes, anywhere from 35 to 75 but the batter is to have a lava like consistency. In fact, it needs to fit through a number 4 cake decorating tip. We could tell we were in trouble already.
"My, grandma, what thick dough you have."
We filled a decorating bag as suggested and used a larger tip because our dough was too thick. We squeezed the dough onto the parchment lined pan.

Phew, glad I work out. This is tough to squeeze out.
Then we banged the pan to try to smooth out any bumps and remove air from the cookies. We let the cookies sit for about 20 minutes. Each pan was baked individually in a 285 oven for 15 minutes. The recipes vary in oven time and temperature so this was a bit confusing.
Despite our care, the cookies did not turn out. We tried again and we tried again. Three unsuccessful batches. We viewed the youtube videos and read all troubleshooting information. We narrowed it down to two potential issues. Possible problems were - not enough mixing of egg whites or too oily ground almonds. On the bright side, all the failures tasted great. We shall try again next week.

Cookies on right were efforts 1 and 2.  Cookies on left were getting closer to how they should look.
After an exhausting day, we danced.
Gotta love ABBA....We are the dancing queens...

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