I’ve been slacking on my journey towards mastering the art of making French macarons, but I finally made my latest attempt. Raspberry seemed like the perfect flavor for summer and the color is so pretty, so I made plans to give it a go…a month ago.
I’d throw my hands in the air and say that “It’s just the stress of everything having to do with the pandemic!” that caused me to put off what is supposed to be an enjoyable activity, but if I’m being completely honest with myself (and you), I felt like my last attempt, lemon, was such a failure (not really that bad though, shrug) that I was a little afraid to try again. It’s not like me at all, to be scared to dig into a challenge, but for some reason these macarons are kicking my butt.
Initially I gave my raspberry macaron session (from the mixing to the baking to the eating) a B minus. My procedure was mostly great: I made the filling and refrigerated it a day before, which helped a lot with assembly as I wasn’t waiting for the filling to cool. I also weighed/measured each of my ingredients in a separate bowl ahead of time and had them sitting in a little row on the counter, which took a lot of stress out of the mixing part. It went off the rails, though, when I forgot to continue mixing the egg whites and sugar until they were totally stiff. This resulted in a loose batter, which almost made me cry.
Jumping to the end of the story before you fall asleep, I ended up piping the circles too small because I thought they would ooze and become too big (great news, they didn’t!) and the “feet” weren’t exactly right…but they taste fabulous.
Each time I make macarons, I analyze my process. I have a little notebook in which I write up a list of what I learned from that baking session so I can carry that knowledge forward to the next time. (It’s like I’m a scientist or something!)
In analyzing this go-around, my good news was the bit about being proactive with the filling and the weighing/measuring. My bad news was that, in my rush to just GET. THEM. DONE. on Saturday night, I only reviewed my own notes and didn’t leaf through my “Secrets of Macarons” book to refresh my memory. It had been more than two months since my last attempt and going into this one in a rush while being under-prepared was a recipe (heh!) for something a little less than A plus.
It’s okay, though. This attempt wasn’t really that terrible. I made a note of my mistake and will hopefully avoid it in the future. The most important thing, taste, was there. These macarons are beyond delicious. Learning a new skill by trial and error does take a lot of time. Sometimes we (okay, *I*) expect that mastery of something should be quick. It’s usually not. If we want that mastery badly enough, we’ll stick with it until we achieve it. That’s my plan, even if I have to eat a ridiculous amount of cookies. Somebody’s gotta do it.