Saturday, October 1, 2016

Getting Closer To Macaron Perfection

In spite of my crazy schedule the past few months, macarons have been made because #priorities. It's been an interesting journey with them thus far, but it has lead to the most perfect looking and tasting macarons I've ever achieved. But let me back up!
Back in August I made 2 batches for a baby shower hosted by my sister (something I have already sworn to never agree to again). The baking process was frought with frustration (usually involving egg separating with eggs from my sister's chickens) but the cookies themselves turned out well. I made purple colored macarons with pink Swiss buttercream filling along with teal colored pistachio macarons with white chocolate ganache filling - both were colored to go with her theme of "mermaid".
Here they are at the party (next to the delicious lime cake ... mmm ...). With this batch I mainly learned how frustrating it is to give up 2 entire nights of your very limited free time to make a bunch of delicious macarons that you won't get to eat #realtalk. But they baked up well except for the ganache being too warm when I piped it out (causing it to ooze off the sides of the cookies unattractively, ugh). I took a break for a while after that experience, but let's be real you can never stay away from making these for very long once you know how.
This past week I made some much anticipated macarons to thank some of the people who helped with my estate sale. I had some people give several days of the ir time to help me, and what better way to show gratitude than with an intricate dessert :) I've been pinning a lot of macaron flavor ideas lately, and my sister specifically requested one that I pinned - mango white chocolate flavor - and I decided to try out rose for the other batch. I was skeptical about the mango ones, I will confess. The cookies themselves are just regular almond flavor and the mango flavor was achieved by adding mango purée to the white chocolate ganache. This makes the ganache even more runny than normal, so letting it set up in the fridge was a must after the last time working with white chocolate. It all worked out well though and the flavor was much better once the ganache had cooled (when it was slightly warm it made the mix taste like a super ripe cantaloupe - so weird. For the rose batch I added rose water to both the cookie batter and to the Swiss buttercream, thinking this would bring a good amount of flavor ... only to taste the finished product and not detect even the slightest hint of rose, lol. Oh well, they still taste good. Just normal. I'll have to get some actual rose petals to grind up and put in future versions. Both of these batches were the best baking ever. I had fewer of them touch on the pan (so their edges are perfectly rounded over) and not a single one cracked in either batch! That's pretty remarkable. They also didn't crack under their "foot" (the flat part) which sometimes happens - I've now realized that happens when they are removed from the parchment while they are too warm. Lessons! The rose batch in particular have the most perfect texture I've made - the perfect amount of chewy and crispy. Oh man, so good :) I'm glad that my "Thank You" batch turned out so well for the people who deserve so much more than cookies for their help.

So that's how things have been going with my macaron addiction. It's certainly an interesting experience to make these in a small condo kitchen, but I've made it happen both times now :) I've already told my family that macarons will probably be put on hold for a while as I really want to try making some of the cakes from my latest Craftsy class, Classic European Tortes (affiliate link). So tasty looking! I think I'll start with a Sacher torte :) Anyway, if you're at all interested in trying macarons, I always recommend this class since it's how I learned and I've never had them turn out badly. I warn you - they are addictive! I have it on authority from other friends who make them now too (Hi, Brenna! lol).

Have a delicious day!

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