Oui Oui: A Failed Attempt at French Macarons

April 11, 2012
I had this big plan to make French macarons for my son's birthday party. First I was going to purchase them, but then a friend of mine shared this recipe with me -- it's a video of three cute British boys showing you how to bake macarons --  so I thought that it looked easy enough, and decided to make my own.

I should have realised that there was going to be trouble when I went to convert the recipe from grams to cups and tablespoons. I did the best that I could, but, from what I have read, it is best to weigh the ingredients with a little scale -- in grams.

Here's what I got:

3 egg whites
1/3 cup berry sugar -- it's called castor sugar in the original recipe
1 cup + 1 tablespoon ground almonds
1 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon icing sugar -- or confectioners sugar, if that's what you call it
food colouring

First I separated the egg whites. Which ended up being a little bit of a challenge seeing as I broke my first egg and the yolk ended up in the bowl. But I got it done.

Then I had to whip-up the egg whites to make a meringue. This is hard work. I ended up having my husband help me out a bit with his big strong arm muscles. I also added the berry sugar at this point.

I then carefully folded the rest of the ingredients into the meringue -- so as to not lose the airy fluffiness of the whipped egg whites.

After that, I separated the batter -- or dough -- into three separate bowls and added food colouring and flavouring -- folding the colour in...keep that fluffiness. I tried my hardest to find a raspberry flavouring for the pink batter, but, sadly, it could not be found -- this project was pretty much doomed from the beginning.

Then I spooned -- ha! -- the batter into little plastic baggies, cut off the corners, and piped them onto a cookie sheet that I covered in baking paper -- the silicone cooking sheets would have been much better. The original recipe says that piping the batter is better than spooning it onto the cookie sheet because it creates nice little circles -- as long as the batter isn't too runny...like mine.

I let the uncooked little puddles sit for 10-15 minutes until they had a slight skin on them, and then picked the cookie sheet up off the table about 1-2 inches and dropped it -- this is to create a little air pocket that makes that nice little bubbly effect at the bottom of each macaron that you see in the photo above you.  I then baked my little round blobs of batter in a 320F oven -- strange temperature, I know, but that's what 160C converts to.

After I let them cook completely, I took them off of the cookie sheets and made colourful little sandwiches filled with raspberry jam and Nutella -- or hazelnut spread if you get the cheap stuff :)

They were quite sweet, and didn't end up the way that I had hoped, but I plan on trying to make these little fellows again. What kind of chef gives up after something fails the first time? Please, just don't take a look at what they're really supposed to look like after looking at my photos.


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