Friday, November 16, 2007

The Elusive Macaron

I’ve always wanted to know what the hype was with Macarons. I’ve seen countless postings on this seemingly ‘hard to make’ French cookie in the last year or two but have never had the guts to attempt making them. Furthermore, I had never tasted them before until my recent trip to Singapore a couple months back. And even then, I thought, ‘Yeah, It tastes pleasant’, but it didn’t get a “WHOA!” out of me. Despite that, there was something alluring about it still. Maybe it was the different colours and flavours they came in. I couldn’t be sure.

I remember seeing some really gorgeous photos of macarons on Tartelette – the brainchild of the lovely and talented Helen and decided to refer to them again. Her Pistachio macarons were a sight for sore eyes. She breezed through the recipe like it was the easiest thing to make. I must say I had my reservations still because of the many different ‘must-do-in-order-to-achieve-success’ tips I’ve read on other blogs that she had done without. I doubted that I could pull it off the way she did. After all she is THE Tartelette, the Awesome baker!

I must tell you now that I DO NOT take failure gracefully and I’m hardly the type of patient person that will persevere with a recipe over and over until I succeed. On the contrary, when I fail in the kitchen, I SULK and I MOAN and GROAN, and I seek solace in the comforting arms of my husband and children. Yes, I’m not afraid to disclose the fact that I am somewhat of a DRAMA QUEEN.

It was not until I stumbled upon Veronica's Test Kitchen that I finally had the courage to embark on macaron making. Veronica’s obsession and persistence in mastering the macaron was truly inspiring, from her very funny and entertaining documentation of her failed attempt to her step-by-step journey to success ‘Macaron Chronicles’. And so began my exploration with the macaron. Suddenly, making the macaron didn’t seem so intimidating anymore. I followed Veronica’s findings faithfully and had success on my very first attempt. YAY!

I made hazelnut macarons by substituting half the amount of almond meal with hazelnut meal, just like Veronica did but instead of the Caramel fleur-de-sel filling she used, I thought that I’d start off with an easy chocolate ganache filling. I ‘aged’ (leave egg whites at room temperature) the egg whites for 43 (Veronica recommended aging the whites for 24-48 hours) hours before starting the recipe. Even so, I noticed the ‘skin’ of the macaron shell was very thin, which probably meant that my eggs were SUPER fresh and that I’d need to age them more in the future. Also, I carelessly spaced the macaron batter too close and a couple stuck together on the edges, no drama though, I just carefully pulled them apart. The other thing too, was that I didn’t expect the macarons to spread so much – I ended up with HUGE macarons! Other than that, everything was hunky-dory.

Hazelnut Macarons with Chocolate Ganache
(Taken from Veronica’s Test Kitchen)

62.5g almond flour
62.5 hazelnut flour
225g icing sugar
100g egg whites
25g granulated sugar
Pinch cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150C). Run the flours and icing sugar through the food processor and sift twice. Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and beat at medium speed. Slowly add the granulated sugar and continue beating until the whites attain medium peaks and are glossy.
Add the dry ingredients slowly to the meringue, taking about six additions all in all. Pipe the batter to a diameter of an inch and let rest for 30 minutes before baking. Bake for about 11 minutes or until done, turning the sheets halfway through.

Draw a circle template on the reverse side of the parchment paper. Keep your tip positioned about ½ inch above and in the middle of the circle guide, the batter is going to spread out more evenly into the circle you want. If your macarons stick, peel away the parchment rather than force the spatula to lift the macarons out.

Chocolate Ganache
85g semi-sweet chocolate melted with 1/3-cup heavy cream
Refrigerate until consistency becomes spreadable.


Big Boys Oven said...

looks so lovely, so adorable, taste so deliciously. was told it cost Euro5 a piece in europe.

Tartelette said...

Can you see me doing the happy dance..."oh yeah...oh yeah...oh yeah!!!" That middle shot of the macaron innards made me jump in my seat!!! They look awesome and bravo! One trick for the egg whites is to pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds. Sometimes if I have a last minute order I do not have time to use aged ones and do that instead.
People think I am weird when I tell them I love making them but does not really like eating them...
Great job Carol!

Jeanna said...

Don't know what five Euros means, but these would fetch much money. I can see them in a big city deli. Or on my counter. Impressive.

Anh said...

Carol, congrat! I am in awe! These look so good!

singairishgirl said...

Very brave attempt. I am not that brave yet but I would like to try it someday. I wish I could say lke tartelette did that I love making them but do not really like eating them. Haha. That would be impossible! I'm a glut! Haha.

Rasa Malaysia said...

Beautiful macarons...

I have had a lot of baking failures, not fun...even with free eggs. :P

Kate / Kajal said...

I've been seeing all over too for a while and when i did try was nothing really that people have been raving about. I mean i know French things are a bit overrated...its the names that are really fancy always ... but yes they are definatley worth making. Like you I've bookmarked Helen's pistachio recipe as well :P
but still haven't gotten around to trying some. Now i shall add one more to my must do list !!!
Thanks for sharing
BTW thats a lot of beautiful plates , and servers , and tea pot set u have there.

Annette said...

Hi Carol, those look awesome. I'm still an utter failure at macaron making, though I've been meaning to try Veronica's recipe for ages. I'll let you know when I eventually succeed, but don't hold your breath. Great pictures too :) Say hi to your brood for me!

Rafe Totengco said...

these look delicious. what's the filling?

Dwiana P said...

those cookies look so wonderful. And I like you glass too, it is very pretty.

veron said...

Yehey Carol! Great job. I'm doing the happy dance like Helen. I'm so glad you found my macaron postings useful- makes me so happy!

Annemarie said...

The steady drip of macarons around the food blogs is making me feel like I need to give it a go. I don't take failure well either, though, so fingers crossed I have as good a result as you...

Ming the Merciless said...

OMG, you don't know how much I'm drooling now.

I love, love, love macaroons. The first time I had it, I was in Basel, Switzerland. I had the Swiss version called, sprungli. Then I had the French version when I was in Paris and it was heavenly.

Your macaroon looks absolutely divine. I love the color and the presentation. Awesome photography as usual.

Ashley said...

A beautiful spin on the macaroon... I love these little delights, and this one looks delicious!
Great photos as well. I love the arrangement of photos in the triptych!

thwany said...

my mouth is literally salivating...

daphne said...

oooo...i'm so envious! I sulk alot after failing making these babies and did not have the chance to attempt them again.*sigh* Yours look beautiful!!!!!!!

Dhanggit said...

macarons are really good but are so hard to do! you made them soo well..WOW ..and your such a good photographer certainly gave justice to those macarons..:-) what a great food blog you've got here

Nora B. said...

Beautiful, Carol! Well done, and your first attempt? wow. So do u prefer the taste of your own macarons more than the ones you bought from Sinagpore?

joy said...

They look so delish! Please send some my way :D

How are you dear friend?

Take care,
The Goddess In You

Ali-K said...

So impressive. You clearly love a challenge and have come out on top! I don't think I'll bother mastering the art of macarons, I'll just eat yours......

Oh for the love of food! said...

BB Oven,
That converts to about A$8.30 - PRICEY! Thanks, Sunny!

Thanks for the tip - the microwave trick will come in really handy for the impatient person that I am!

Thanks for dropping by and for the compliment! Hope to see you at this site again ;o)

Thanks! I have good 'mentors' to learn from!

It took me long enough to brave my first attempt, but it wasn't as intimidating as I perceived it to be ;o)

Oh for the love of food! said...

Thanks for the compliment, I have my share of baking failures - I just don't blog about them as it would frustrate me even more!

Kate, thanks for the compliments - I didn't think much about the taste at first but I must say that it has really grown on me ever since my first taste!

Hi Annette!
The 'brood' send their love - thanks for the compliment. Do give Veron's tips a try - I couldn't have been happier with the results xo

Hi there Rafe!
Thanks for the compliment - the filling is dark chocolate ganache ;o)


Oh for the love of food! said...

You truly are my FAVOURITE Macaron blogger of all time! I owe the success of these macarons to you! Thank you for your generosity ;o)

Anne Marie,
Thanks for dropping by, Good Luck with your macarons!

Thanks Buddy! I had only tried the macaron once before I attempted them, there's only ONE place here in Perth that I know of that sells them. We are really backward with 'food fashion'

Oh for the love of food! said...

Thanks for the compliments!

How did that 'sweet event' go? Hope you will post about it ;o)

Don't fret, give Veron's tips a go - they are literally fool-proof!

Thanks for visiting and for those lovely compliments, as for photography, I'm still learning, but I'm really enjoying all of this!

Thanks for the compliment! Actually I prefer the taste of my macarons to the ones I tasted in Singapore - they were pretty hollow on the inside for some reason - not much 'innards' if you know what I mean.

Oh for the love of food! said...

Thanks, - they really grew on me! I'm well, just really sluggish lately ;o)


Laurie Constantino said...

Your photography is spectacular enough that my mouth started watering as soon as I looked at your pictures. Beautiful macarons and wonderful story. Thanks!

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go go elite traveller plus said...

Macarans... this is the first time i'm hearing of them but they look great!

I'm passing a lot of these recipes on to my wife :o)