Ahhh, the mystical macaron. They’re all the rage right now. Truly! I’m sure you’ve heard of them and perhaps tried them. If not… You must! Macarons are a sweet meringue-based confection that’s made from egg whites, sugar and almonds. These little cookies then sandwich buttercream, jams or ganache. They have the reputation for being notoriously hard to make for most people.
They’re just about the cutest thing out there! They have a smooth, domed top with a little ruffle around the very bottom which is known as the “feet.” This is usually one of the areas where people get hung up… They have no feet. The other area where people get hung up is that they have a tendency to crack. I encountered each and every issue while experiencing my first macaron attempt.
I meticulously researched perfect macaron making. I went to the website, Bravetart since Stella is someone I know to be a macaron master so I trusted her information 100%. On her site you will find several macaron making myths as well as commandments to live by. I found both of these posts to be incredibly helpful. However, despite reading them and re-reading them prior to even starting, I still hit several macaron-making pitfalls.
I made 6 different batches of cookies. Seriously. That’s a lot of macarons… Close to 80 to be exact!! Sadly the majority of them were a gigantic, glaring failure. I suppose I should have expected that for my first time but I honestly went into this project with such optimism. I was going to totally ROCK those macarons! I even told Mike I was going to make two different variations. Talk about
cocky optimism. Needless to say, I did not rock the macarons and I’m lucky I turned out one semi-pathetic variation.
With my first batch of macarons, I noticed a fissure across an entire row. I immediately knew what had occurred and realized that potentially many of my other macarons were doomed to the same cracked fate. I remember reading that if a rogue strand of meringue didn’t get incorporated during macaronage, but did get scooped up into my pastry bag this would result in a continuous crack across several rows of macarons. Great. Batches 1 and 2, down the tubes.
The next batch all collapsed on top of themselves. Have I mentioned yet that none of these cracked and pathetic macarons had feet? Not a one! Talk about feeling defeated. I literally, sat in front of my oven watching batch after batch. I sat there just watching as the horror unfolded time and time again.
Finally, as I watched my last batch of macarons bake expecting to see them crack upon themselves into hollow little shells of what should have been cute little French cookies, I saw them emerge… Could it be? Yes!! It was! Feet!! After spending all day making batches of meringue and folding in almond flour and confectioners’ sugar only to have the same hopeless results time after time, I had FEET!!!! Now, these cookies are still lopsided, the domes are not smooth and I seriously need to work on my piping skills but these suckers have feet so that is progress! I couldn’t have been happier.
So in the end, these macarons aren’t perfection but let me tell you, they taste damn good and they have feet so I’m calling this a success for sure. I now have a new goal in life and that is to come back to revisit another macaron in the near future to get those cute little smooth domes with no cracks and then I am going to truly rock the macarons but for now, I’m eating these and loving every bite.
The delicate outside crust yields a chewy inside that melds with a raspberry ganache that is pure heaven and I didn’t have to go to a fancy bakery to get them. I’m feeling a little proud of myself right now.
So, hope you’ll be joining us again next month as we try making eclairs! If you aren’t already a part of First On The First, feel free to drop me a line and start joining in on the fun. We’d love to have you! Now, go check out everyone else’s macarons.
PS… As mentioned above, I intend to now master the macaron. The only way to get better at something is to practice, practice, practice. That is why you will be seeing monthly macarons! All sorts of them! I just found out about MacTweets which is a monthly themed macaron challenge. I can’t wait to try my hand at making more macarons and also getting creative with flavors and colors. It’s going to be such fun!
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Macarons with Raspberry Ganache
You can find the recipe for making the macaron shells HERE.
6 ounces high-quality, semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon raspberry extract
– In the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, melt together the chocolate and cream.
– Once melted, remove from heat. Add the butter and raspberry extract, stirring until all the butter has melted.
– Allow ganache to cool completely to room temperature and thicken a bit.
– Assemble your cookies by placing about a quarter-size amount of ganache on one macaron shell. Very gently top with second macaron shell using a twisting motion until ganache meets the edge of the cookie.
– Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Cookies are best when eaten 24 hours later. Allow the cookies to come to room temperature before eating.