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Mactweets January

So for this month’s Mactweets macaron challenge, the mission was to try something new. How about just vying for macarons that actually turn out like they’re supposed to? I find it’s always best to aim low, then you can’t be too disappointed when you fail (you know, like last time..)!

For this reason, my only aim on the weekend was macs with feet and smooth tops. I didn’t even plan a filling, such was my fear that I would fail in my mission (yet again). I will admit that I was so superstitious that I didn’t even take step-by-step pictures this time. Neil, who was in the living room writing a blog post for me (oh yeah, gotta keep him working!) came in and caught me piping them at which point I was still pretty nervous…



(yes, my kitchen is a mess. It’s small, ok?)


Quite excited to look in the oven half-way through, just as I was about to turn the tray and see this…


And you know, what had I done differently from last time? Well, apart from following Chef François’ instructions to a T, I had a small glass of wine…


Clearly this is the answer to making your macs work because look what I retrieved after 12 minutes in the oven:


OMG – could it be…?


Macs with SMOOTH TOPS?


And FEET?

At this point, I was ecstatic that I managed to make these work and was a bit sad I didn’t have all the ingredients for a proper ganache or marzipan-based filling. The raspberry preserves I happened to have on hand worked well though – both in terms of flavour and colour:



And no, they weren’t all perfect – far from it. But a darned sight better than any of my last attempts!




Some of them rested on a tray whilst they waited for the first tray to cook and these ones tended to be a little air-filled and too crunchy.

Ignoring Chef François’ instructions to wait until the next day to eat them, Neil, Alicia and I dug in – you know, just to check they were ok:


They were GOOD. Some could have used a minute or so less in the oven and I need to work on making sure they are evenly sized (and spaced), but they were impressive, if I do say so myself…

And the next day? Even better.

So what did I do differently this time?

* Egg whites separated four days earlier
* Egg whites at room temp for 36 hours
* Used a metal bowl only for all the mixing and beating
* Sifted the dry ingredients twice
* Used my new Kitchen Aid to whisk the whites (it’s so pretty!)
* Used food colouring (yellow and black) very sparingly – it made them the pretty green colour they are supposed to be without it looking too fake
* Piped them onto the tray and made sure the tip of the nozzle never left the tray until the end
* Used two trays so the mac bottoms didn’t burn
* Ran copious amounts of water under the parchment paper when they had come out of the oven to ensure easy removal from the tray.

So I would say that my workshop in Paris at Lenôtre was (ahem – quite a lot of) money well spent. Unless this was just beginner’s luck! Maybe for the next Mactweets challenge, I will aim a bit higher and do a different flavour and make my own filling. Maybe…

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62 Responses to Mactweets January

  1. The Cooking Ninja January 12, 2010 at 10:51 #

    Congratulations on getting your FEET! Yeah! Your macs rock!

    You should see my kitchen when I bake or cook – a mess. lol!

  2. Deeba PAB January 12, 2010 at 10:55 #

    CHEERS!! I could do with a glass of wine in celebration too! Pretty feet you got their Mardi, and smooth tops too. Incredible…>>>> ..>>>>
    LONG PAUSE…sorry went off to read that awesome post of your macaron class. WOW!! Thank you for sharing all that wisdom, and the pictures leave me wide-eyed! Comma for me from now on…
    Thank you for joining our gang! I's wonderful to have you on board. I cannot wait for the next attack!!

  3. MaryMoh January 12, 2010 at 11:19 #

    That looks very gorgeous and successful with those feet. Well done! It's still looks like a big challenge to me. Hope to try out one day…soon.

  4. Miriam January 12, 2010 at 12:49 #

    Wow, they look great! Congratulations!! And I think the most important factor is the wine… no doubt lol

  5. La Table De Nana January 12, 2010 at 12:56 #

    Bravo!

  6. Tangled Noodle January 12, 2010 at 13:21 #

    Congratulations! They are lovely and hooray for the powers of a good glass of red wine. 8-)

  7. Divina Pe January 12, 2010 at 13:29 #

    Congratulations. You've worked so hard for these macaroons and they came out perfect. You deserve another wine. :D

  8. Neil C. Phillips January 12, 2010 at 13:33 #

    Well considering these were actually EDIBLE… :-)

    They were delightful. My only minor suggestion would be to change the filling – which I know Mardi's planning to do in future anyway. While the Barefoot Contessa's raspberyy preserve was tasty, the little pips stuck in the teeth and detracted from the texture.

    Great success this weekend!

  9. Barbara Bakes January 12, 2010 at 13:37 #

    Love the picture of them in the oven. I felt like I was peeking in and seeing feet too! Great job!

  10. bunkycooks January 12, 2010 at 14:08 #

    Congrats! How very exciting…they look just like the ones I purchased last week from a little French patisserie that we have in town.

    I would get excited as well to take a peek in the oven and see them turning out as they should! Cheers and have another glass of wine!

  11. Jamie January 12, 2010 at 14:41 #

    Yay Yay Yay! Perfect and I do say perfect! Gorgeous feet and beautiful smooth tops! Better than me (argh). Maybe I need to get myself to Paris. Congrats on super perfect macs and so glad you bake with us!

    Good idea about the wine…

  12. high low January 12, 2010 at 15:02 #

    Yay!! Congrats!! They look wonderful! I bet when I come back up to visit Toronto, you'll have a perfect batch ready for me! =) Let me know when I can put my order in! =)

  13. Tasty Eats At Home January 12, 2010 at 15:06 #

    (clapping) Hooray! Great job!

  14. Evelyne@Cheap Ethnic Eatz January 12, 2010 at 15:10 #

    YAY congrats. Comme teach me now?

  15. bethany January 12, 2010 at 15:46 #

    Oh congratulations!It's the best feeling when you get feet and smooth tops. My first attempt I got mac nipples… was hysterical! Lovely blog!

  16. myblissfulbites January 12, 2010 at 16:05 #

    Congratulations. They look GREAT!

  17. Kitchen Butterfly January 12, 2010 at 16:33 #

    Congrats….look the first time I made macarons, which was last week :-), I was stunned at how much of a mess I made. The second time, I made sure I prepped everything before I began!!! Congratulations again, this is no mean feat!!!!!!!

  18. whineaux (Dawn) January 12, 2010 at 16:46 #

    Hip Hip Horray!!!!!!!!!

    I chickend out this weekend, made amaretti cookies again instead of macarons. Maybe next weekend! Thanks for all the tips on the end.

  19. Alicia January 12, 2010 at 17:29 #

    Congratulations on the triumph, and I was excited to be taste tester. Very yum. Ignore Neil – I loved the raspberry filling. I like the raspberry flavour over another choice of fruit compote, and it went delightfully with the pistache colour and flavour. Yummy yummy. Feel free to make macarons for my birthday – Feb 16 (hint hint!) or yours and invite me over. :-)

  20. Barbara @ Vino Luci Style January 12, 2010 at 17:48 #

    Perfectly beautiful and I love the very real photos of you and your kitchen in action; small, messy and all! Meant to do mine yesterday, maybe today…and admit maybe not at all this month, so I'll just enjoy your victory!

  21. Fuji Mama January 12, 2010 at 18:13 #

    WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, and by the way, kitchens are supposed to be messy when you're using them!!!!!

  22. Kate at Serendipity January 12, 2010 at 18:29 #

    WAHOO! WOOT! (doing the happy dance here) Congratulations! You're officially a patissiere. My toque's off to you.

  23. Kelly @ EvilShenanigans January 12, 2010 at 18:35 #

    Honey, I am so proud of you! Those look SPECTACULAR!

  24. Tasty Trix January 12, 2010 at 18:38 #

    Wow! Your perseverance has paid off! I cannot imagine having the patience for macarons, I tell ya …

  25. Teenie Cakes January 12, 2010 at 19:30 #

    Great post! Enjoy all the pics of steps and progress. When we did this w/The Daring Bakers I literally did "The Happy Dance" when my second attempt produced "feet"!

    They turned out perfectly beautiful!

  26. The Chickenless Chick January 12, 2010 at 19:56 #

    The texture on those looks just perfect!

  27. My Man's Belly January 12, 2010 at 19:57 #

    Congratulations for landing on your feet. I am living vicariously through you.

  28. Neil C. Phillips January 12, 2010 at 22:05 #

    Don't worry, Alicia — Mardi usually ignores me.

    It was just the SEEDS that were disconcerting. Look, Mardi's aiming for perfection…so as always, I am here to help point the way. Me.

  29. Rochelle January 12, 2010 at 22:13 #

    Congrats on achieving your perfect macs! They look lovely and I'm sure the glass of wine helped… if only to make the process more fun :D

  30. penny aka jeroxie January 12, 2010 at 22:17 #

    Congras on the feet! They look stunning. I wish I had the guts to try and make them.

  31. Simply Life January 12, 2010 at 22:25 #

    congrats! they look wonderful!

  32. Conor @ HoldtheBeef January 13, 2010 at 00:15 #

    Wootles! High five! Oh yeah baby! They look perfect, well done Mardi! How has noone thought of the old glass o' wine trick before??

    Yay!

  33. Rilsta @ My Food Trail January 13, 2010 at 00:27 #

    Congrats on getting the smooth top and feet after all your attempts! They look great too! I've only tried once and failed miserably and have yet to work up the courage to try again! Now I am inspired! :)

  34. Debbie January 13, 2010 at 00:32 #

    Bravo! They look absolutely perfect, you must be so pleased.Also have taken note of the glass of wine trick.

  35. yvonne January 13, 2010 at 00:35 #

    you do not need to fear failure – next time, i will camp myself on your couch, and help you critically taste test…

  36. lk (Healthy Delicious) January 13, 2010 at 00:37 #

    omg they look perfect!!!!! you rocked them!

  37. Mr. P January 13, 2010 at 01:24 #

    Macarons scare me. But I love the taste.

    I would just DIE if you did the lamington challenge. With happiness I mean.

    You have until 26th. Give it a go!

    And thanks for checking out my blog. Yours is lovely. I'll be back :)

  38. k a b l o o e y January 13, 2010 at 01:39 #

    Listen closely… (bit closer)… can you hear them? The heavenly chorus of teeny little angels singing the hallelujah chorus? They're good, but NOT AS GOOD AS YOU! "You did it, you did it, you did it, did it, did it!" (Quoting my tot.)

  39. Brie: Le Grand Fromage January 13, 2010 at 01:50 #

    congrats! they look great!

  40. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite January 13, 2010 at 01:58 #

    Cooking Ninja – me and my mum are the queens of messy kitchens!


    Deeba – thanks! Am glad to be a part of it!


    Mary Moh – give it a go – you can't do any worse than my first attempts!
    

Miriam – clearly it's the wine!


    La Table de nana – thanks so much!


    Tangled Noodle and Divina – more wine and they most definitely would have failed!
    

Neil – next time, my friend, there will be ganache!


    Barbara – I was SO excited to peek in and see that – I didn't let myself look before!
    bunky cooks – thanks! I have a ways to go yet to perfect them but it's a start!


    Jamie – thanks for hosting Mactweets – it's so fun to be a part of!


    high low – I will bake for you anytime!


    tasty eats – thanks!
    

Evelyne – sure!
    bethany – Oh I had the mac "nipple" effect on my first batch too!


    my blissful bites – thanks!


    Kitchen butterfly – I loved what you did with yours this month though…

Dawn – you should give it a go, really!


    Alicia – happy to bake for you every day!


    Barbara – yes, I thought I had better include some action shots in case people thought I had bought them!


    Rachel – thanks for all your encouragement!
    

Kate – well, we shall see if I manage it a second time… Thanks!
    Kelly – coming from you that's high praise indeed!


    Tasty Trix – some of the things you cook scare me too – I am sure you would be able to make these fine!
    Teenie Cakes – Happy Dance indeed!
    

Chickenless – it could have been a *tad* smoother but overall I was very happy!
    My Man's belly – I think you could probably make them too!
    

Rochelle – cheers!


    Penny – come oooooooonnnnnnn!!!


    Simply Life – thanks!


    Conor – I am surprised you didn't think of that before!

Rilsta – be inspired – it can't be worse than some of my worst macs!


    Debbie – thrilled!


    Yvonne – anytime hon!

LK – thanks!


    Mr P – given your beautiful lamingtons, I am sure you could make macs! I am happy to join your lamington challenge – I have something a bit different up my sleeve… Hopefully it will work.

    Kablooey – Awwwww – wish I could have a Moochie in my kitchen to test my macs! I think she would love to help bake them!

    Brie – many thanks!

  41. food lover kathy January 13, 2010 at 03:20 #

    Congrats on beautiful macarons! I know a pastry chef that puts them in the oven then makes the sign of the cross to ensure she gets feet. A glass of wine is even better.

  42. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction January 13, 2010 at 04:12 #

    Amazing! They look SOOO great!

  43. Anonymous January 13, 2010 at 06:30 #

    Congrats Mardi. What perfect macarons. I knew you could do it. Great feet and no nipples,and I thought the raspberry filling looked yummy.Glad to see you are carrying on the family tradition of a messy kitchen. I'm a proud mum. Now… how about some candy canes- (just kidding)

  44. April Cavin January 13, 2010 at 14:14 #

    Bravo!!

  45. Diana Bauman January 13, 2010 at 19:36 #

    Mardi, These turned out beautiful!!!

  46. Carolyn Jung January 14, 2010 at 01:57 #

    These look awesome. Chef Payard would be thrilled, no doubt! Bravo to you!

  47. Lauren @CoffeeMuffins January 14, 2010 at 09:17 #

    Wow looks like your macarons went well, I also managed this time to get a smooth top and feet. It's an amazing feeling.

    I had really problems piping, the first sheet of macarons were a disaster, but the second batch I piped smaller and worked perfectly!

    Congrats on Top 9 too :)

  48. Sandra Austoni January 14, 2010 at 15:48 #

    Congratulation Mardi! They look perfect. I'll keep the "hints"

  49. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite January 14, 2010 at 15:54 #

    Food lover Cathy – sign of the cross!! LOL!

    Jen – thanks!

    mum – I will teach you how next time you come to visit!

    April and Diana – thanks so much!

    Carolyn – well, not sure about that but it's a step in the right direction!

    Lauren – the piping is difficult but the actual technique I used was so simple once you get the hand of it…

    Sandra – glad I can be of assistance!

  50. Joy January 14, 2010 at 16:24 #

    My friends have asked me several times as to how to make these (because theirs would turn out flat and sad) and I always had no idea as to what to tell them! Now you've inspired me to try these at home, thank you for giving such detailed tips as to how to make these work.

  51. Sheskis January 14, 2010 at 17:48 #

    Yay! I've sure enjoyed reading about your progress!

  52. Gourmantic January 14, 2010 at 23:49 #

    I really really shouldn't be looking at this when I'm hungry!

    Well done on your efforts. I'd trademark that 'glass of wine' step in your instructions! :)

  53. Cristie January 16, 2010 at 06:41 #

    Very, very beautiful mac's! I've given up this month on my mac's- but I'll be back with FEET on the next venture.

    Welcome to the Healthy Bread in Five group! It will be fun to see you in the bread world.

  54. Katja January 17, 2010 at 21:25 #

    Hi Mardi! A few of those macs looked like they were sticking cute little raspbeyy tounges at me-lol! good job!

  55. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite January 19, 2010 at 22:52 #

    Joy – if I can succeed, anyone can!

    Sheskis – thanks for following along!

    Gourmantic – oh yes, trademark!!!

    Cristie – look forward to seeing your next batch of macs! And thanks – I am looking forward to working with the bread group!

  56. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite January 19, 2010 at 22:58 #

    Katja – Oh I hadn't noticed that but you are right!!

  57. tokyoterrace January 20, 2010 at 23:16 #

    Glad to hear that the glass of wine helped! Maybe it helped you to relax a bit? Who knows. Your macs are beautiful! Congrats!

  58. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite January 21, 2010 at 23:28 #

    Tokyo Terrace – Oh I am sure it was the wine that did the trick!

  59. Jenn March 10, 2010 at 21:51 #

    I know EXACTLY how you probably felt when you saw your petit macarons with smooth, flat tops, and the quintessential “feet”. It took me four attempts to understand that I was beating the crap out of my egg whites. Now i’m less zealous and more zen when I make them. My overexcitement overtook me the first few times. Funny though, my sister and husband both only needed One try to perfect. Oh well, sometimes lessons are learned best the hard way. Felicitations :)

  60. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 10, 2010 at 22:26 #

    Hey Jenn, thanks for commenting! I have just had TWO flops of attempts in the last two days so hopefully third time is a charm and here’s hoping that my run of good luck with them had not ended!

  61. Jenn March 11, 2010 at 20:34 #

    the third time will definitely be the charm. Toes crossed!
    You’re much more patient than I am. The youngest aged egg whites I’ve used is around the 12 hour mark. I keep them covered on the counter usually overnight and I use them the next day. I haven’t had any problems with them yet *knocks on wood*.
    Do you know where you went wrong? Egg whites beaten too long? Not folding enough? Folding too much? Overexcited? That last one is usually my problem :P Ok, sorry for the novel.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 11, 2010 at 20:43 #

      Where I am going wrong is using coconut in the shells I think. Too much oil. I have a cunning plan for the next time I make them next week!

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