My trials and tribulations of macaron making.
As a keen baker and avid Great British Bake Off viewer, my macaron making interest was sparked a couple of years ago when I saw a contestant on the show making her own. Before then I had only ever seen macarons through the nose-smudged glass of patisseries. Having watched them made effortlessly on TV, I decided to give them a go for my Mum’s birthday. In my mind I had pictured a tower of bright blue macarons with a contrasting deep brown chocolate ganache filling. In reality I ended up with a plate full of what I can only describe as a child’s attempt at some kind of play-doh soufflé. Burnt and risen to the grand height of .4 of a centimeter, I had failed. After about five more attempts and very little progress, I laid down my spatula in surrender.
I had learnt that not only is the macaron embarrassing and hard to pronounce (mak-ah-ron rather than mak-ah-roon) it is also frustratingly difficult to make. It was quite obvious to me then that the lady on TV must have sold her soul to the devil of baked goods to create such perfect pastries.
A few months later, with my courage restored, I decided to do some research on macaron recipes and find out why mine had consistently failed. I found a very useful FAQ and discovered my most common mistakes were over mixing my batter which made them flat, and cooking my macarons at too high of a temperature, making them crack. Now after several more attempts and some trial and error, my patience has paid off and I think I have finally mastered the macaron (touch wood). I have even ventured out and purchased Pierre Herme’s book Macaron in an attempt to take my macaron making ventures to the next level. I have yet to make any from this book yet, but I have eaten some though and they are amazing!
If you are struggling with macaron making then the FAQ I used can be found here along with one of the easiest, although not the most authentic, recipes I’ve found. My only comment on the recipe linked is that although she says it doesn’t matter, you should absolutely leave your macarons on the side to rest for at least 30 minutes before baking them. I have found that this helps to ensure the macarons consistently turn out okay and it is something that every other recipe I have tried makes a point of doing.