I’ve made macaron before but I have always used a recipe that I found online which I believe is the French method of making the meringue. The recipe in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook is the Italian method of meringue making which includes boiling sugar with water and mixing it with the whipped egg whites to produce a more stable meringue.
Mise En Place: I began gathering the mise en place for the macaron and then realized that I didn’t have enough egg whites (dammit!) so I decided to just weigh everything out and wait until later today to actually make the macaron. I bought a bag of Almond Flour at Trader Joe’s, which costs more than the almond meal but it saves you the process of using the food processor to finely pulverize the almond meal so I figured, it’s probably worth the price difference.
Mixing: Oh lord. 8 eggs later and the macarons turned out hooooorribly. I mean I don’t think you can really call them macarons. The first error was overwhipping the egg whites, so I had to throw the too-stiff meringue away. I started on my second batch of meringue while simultaneously trying to heat the sugar and water to 248 degrees. Do you have any idea how difficult this is with the absolute shiiiitiest thermometer? **Note to self- buy a thermapen
I finally was able to bring the temp up to 225 F and decided that was hot enough and poured it into my soft peaked meringue. I let it mix on medium for about 7 minutes. According to the recipe, this is when you’re supposed to slowly fold in the mixed up meringue into the almond flour + powdered sugar + egg white concoction. My biggest issue was that the almond flour mixture was super dry. I measured everything correctly, but the mixture resembled more of a chocolate chip cookie dough than anything else. Folding in the meringue was a nightmare as a result.
Once I achieved a lava texture (this is the texture that I’m told the mix should be before it is piped), I went to get my piping bag and tip only to realize that I only had a tip and a pastry bag and no coupler. Fail. Instead, I had to use a Ziploc bag to pipe which obviously is not ideal AT ALL. Waaah. At this point I was super frustrated but wanted to follow through until the end so I began baking the “macaron”.
Baking: Since I don’t own a convection oven, I used the method of heating the oven temp to 400 F and then quickly lowering it to 325 F once the macaron are inside. I let them bake for about 10 minutes. I was excited for my first batch because it seemed like the macaron had formed feet. My excitement quickly turned to disappointment when I removed the sheet trays from the oven.
Results: What resulted isn’t exactly what I would call macaron… I would call them…meringue cookies. Out of the SEVERAL macaron halves I made, I was only able to produce 5 ones that even remotely resembled macarons 😥 It’s so embarrassing even showing the photos but my blog is all about my learning process (which I think should include some failing..right?).
So there you have it. A total macaron DISASTER! I ended up just freezing the shells and will probably use them for some other dessert in the future. I think my biggest issue was overmixing the meringue mix once I added the sugar syrup but I also think I really needed to bring the temp of the syrup to 248 F. Le sigh. Will attempt the Italian Meringue method again soon.