Mactweets – Spring Fling


Happy Jour du Macaron! If you don’t believe me, you can check out the JDM’s official website here!  Appropriately, I am posting my monthly macarons today.

Let me start out by saying that I had HIGH hopes for Mactweets #5.  The theme was “Spring Fling” and I envisioned beautiful tropical macs with flavours like coconut and mango/ passionfruit.  Even though the theme was supposed to be flower-inspired macs. Uh huh.  I am not sure what I was thinking, though clearly the macaron quest has left me slightly deranged and bereft of some brain cells.  Apparently on a mac high after my last round, I thought I was clever enough to use a different recipe from the tried and trusty Chef François’.  I found a recipe at Gourmet for coconut macarons with a passionfruit ganache.  Perfect.

Or maybe not so much.

And if you think that was bad…

Next go around, I used the recipe from Lenôtre, substituting the pistachios for coconut.  And made it orange.

Ok, so far…

But noooooo…

(you can see the beginnings of feet there but they just collapsed)

Attempt #3 looked promising in the oven:

But unfortunately, t’was not meant to be:

Destined to join their friends in the Tupperware Shrine to the failed macaron.

I decided to step away from the oven and head to New Orleans. When I returned, I tried a new recipe – Hélène’s (of the Tartelette blog and macaron classes fame) via Rachael.  This time I didn’t do anything weird involving grinding coconut and just put a tiny drop of coconut essence in at the last minute when I was folding the dry ingredients in.

We had FEET people. Small feet but feet nonetheless!

Since these were kinda shorties, and because I am a perfectionist, I used up the rest of the aged egg whites on a fifth batch the following day.  This time, I was not going to add the flavour to the shells, rather add it to the filling.  This lot of egg whites looked the most promising of all batches…

Then in the oven they looked good too…

Thank GOD!!!!

So what recipe did I use after all that?  Well it’s based on Hélène’s but I tweaked it a little. My modifications in italics in red.

[NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT THE RECIPE I USE NOW – CLICK HERE FOR MY UPDATED RECIPE – BUT THIS WORKED AT THE TIME]

Basic macaron shells (adapted from Tartelette’s recipe)

For the shells:

90 gr egg whites (roughly 3 egg whites) (90gr measured after aging)
25 gr to 50 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar
110 gr almonds (slivered, blanched, sliced, whatever you like)
1 tablespoon powdered food coloring (optional) (I used liquid since that’s what I had and added it in just before mixing the eggs and dry ingredients)

Prep the eggs:

48 hrs in advance, separate the whites from the yolks and place the whites in a super clean bowl.  Leave at room temperature, uncovered or loosely covered with a towel for at least 24 hours.  Refrigerate after that if desired.  You can use eggs that have been “aging” for up to 5 days.
(I actually only separated the eggs the night before I made the macs, then left them at room temp overnight)

Prepare the macarons:

Place the powdered sugar and almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground.  Sift a couple of times to remove bits and pieces.  Regrind if necessary.  You can also use a coffee grinder for the nuts.  (I ground the nuts before I put them in the food processor using a coffee grinder) Once the nuts and powdered sugar are mixed together, add the color if desired and rub the mixture in between your fingertips to break up the bigger pieces.  Sift if desired. (I always resift the dry mix, sometimes twice).

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, (think bubble bath foam) gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream).  Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.

Add the nuts and powdered sugar to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that balls back on itself after counting to 10.  Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and then slow down.  The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes.  Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go.  If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Atec #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mat lined baking sheets.  Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit. (I never let the macs sit because they always get a filmy skin on them that doesn’t go away.  The second and third trays sit out for about 10 minutes whilst the previous batch is baking only)
If using convection: preheat the oven to 280F.  If using regular electric or gas, preheat the oven to 300F.  (I baked them at 320F for 12 minutes, turning the tray halfway through) When ready, bake for 18 to 20 minutes, depending on their size.  Let cool.

 

Ok, so I had a couple of batches of fillable macs.  What to do for the filling?  Well, for the pink coconut macs, I decided to make the ganache/curd from the recipe I used in Batch #1 but to use mango instead.  That worked out quite well but it was a bit runny and necessitated mixing some mascapone (about 125g) and extra icing sugar (no idea at this point, just kept adding until it was pipe-able) in to make it thick enough to pipe.

And the result?

And here’s a little buddy getting in on the mac action:

And because the orange above casts an odd light on the macs themselves, here’s how they look “in real life”:

Ok. Onto the plain (what were supposed to be orange but I was so scared to add too much colouring to the batter that I skimped and they ended up being) lemony-orange coloured macs.  I had a beautiful jar of lime curd from a food exchange parcel that I thought would look lovely against the colour of the shells.  Again, I added some mascapone and icing sugar and few drops of food colouring.  The result?

(see, I got my “tropical” theme in there after all!)

So here I sit, completely exhausted, kitchen in a mess and dozens of macs to be eaten (not to mention the ones that didn’t make it… they’re destined for a trifle-type dessert sometime soon).  I guess my dinner party guests tonight are in luck.  Maybe I could have a macaron stand outside the house tomorrow.  Or maybe I should just step away from the macs until next Mactweets….

 

92 thoughts on “Mactweets – Spring Fling”

  1. Here you are! Thanks for the tips on my reader…

    I made some macs with a neighbor last week–my first that were presentable–and one thing she emphasized was that you shouldn’t work the egg whites too much after they’ve been beaten–if you do, you won’t have feet. When we piped them, they all had little ‘hats’ that settled when they rested. Hmmm…

    The only thing I know for sure about these is that there are so many variables to consider that it’s hard to know what went wrong. Or what went right!

    I love the colors of these–especially the orange with the green filling. Very tropical!

    Reply
    • Well I am pretty sure you cannot use sweetened coconut as a replacement for other nuts, THAT was the problem in the first three batches. The fourth I think wasn’t quite perfect because I added a wee bit too much coconut essence. Re: the pipin, I never pipe from above but see many people who do… T’is a strange thing this macaron making….

      Reply
  2. Yay! You got it! And may I say, they’re quite adorable beauties!
    I do admire your dedication. I tend to get frustrated (VERY) when things don’t go my way. I wouldn’t even have kept those “ruined” macs…I would have vented my frustration at them by smacking and crushing and….well, you get the idea, lol.

    Reply
  3. I was totally unsuccessful when I tried to make macaroons with almond paste from the market in Ortigia in Sicily. I ended up with flat, chewy, sweet non-macaroons.

    Yours are inspiring.

    Reply
  4. These look wonderful, Mardi. Practice makes perfect, as they say. 🙂

    I must confess that I have never eaten a macaron, much less attempted to make them from scratch. Your diligence is really admirable!

    Reply
  5. I’ll have to get my Tupeprware shrine to meet yours Mardi!! WOW… love your determination and the perfection you got the last time around. Very perfect, pretty and SPRING!! Happy macaron day to you my dear. Thanks for joining Jamie & me at MacTweets!

    Reply
  6. Now I feel guilty for not having played this month! I have the urge to macaron (and actually have egg whites aging on the counter, as we speak!) on this Macaron Day… Well, we’ll see… perhaps later. ;-))

    I love your colors and flavors, girl – brava for your perseverance!

    Reply
  7. Yeah! The last batch looks great! Baking those little guys and getting them right is one tough job. How come the French pastry chefs make it look soooo easy???

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  8. What an epic adventure – good for you on the perseverance scale! I would gladly empty out your Tupperware Shrine of Failed Macs but your success are beautiful and so spring-y. I’m still not sure I have the wherewithal for mac-making . . . maybe one of these days! 😎

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  9. Step away from the macs! 😀 You are one seriously dedicated mac maker! We are all in such a hurry to get the feet to form, it’s fascinating to note that while some of yours got feet, the domes didn’t make it. So, maybe the feet are nice, but the domes are just as important. Your final batch look perfect, divine! I wish I were eating one right now. At the very least you’ve inspired me to get back on board with the next go round of MacTweets. Loved reading about your adventure and wonder what will become of the Tupperware pile of failed macs. Hope you post about it!

    Best,
    Casey

    Reply
    • Don’t worry – am stepping away from the macs for the next little while! I think the coconut added fat to the batter which is why those first few batches failed and were flat and oily. Lesson learned. Will definitely post what happens to the Shrine!

      Reply
  10. Ah, another mac post. I love it and I love that you showed your failures (?) as well. I really have to try these. I find the real challenge after filling up the freezer with “shrined” items, is how to use them in some creative way later. Make sure you keep us posted on that as well!

    Reply
  11. I almost started to cry when I saw the first several pictures. But success followed, non? Joyeux Jour du Macaron Mardi 🙂

    Reply
  12. OMG – Here is a BIG HUG for you. I have a HUGE place in my heart for you as I many attempts at “mastering the art of the elusive macaron” on my site now since the fall… I am on phase 4 after my tutorial. Yours looked so springy, and sweet… but the failure, or the failures. And, that is how we learn, isn’t it. More about us, than the macaron, too! And, guess what? The next time you go to make these with your little red edits, they won’t work either. At least that is consistently what has happened to me. AHHH! Until I switched to the Italian method – and, hey, I still have not mastered them yet… but I Eddy van Dame’s recipe is excellent, me thinks. BRAVO. Standing ovation. Three cheers for your incredible perseverance – and I am right behind you!
    I will now look at your links. Would you be interested in doing a series of mac attempts with me and posting them? I think we are at the same place in our mac making. We could choose a recipe, follow it, choose a flavour and colour – or two – and then post – let’s say, once a month? Until we each perfect our ability to learn how to make these? I need someone to work with to challenge me to do it regularly and to give and get feedback from – and to keep my spirits up. Are you in?
    🙂
    Valerie

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for your comments and support! I have now in my possession Pierre Hermé’s Macaron so am hopeful I can learn a few tips from him! As far as the series of mac attempts, well that’s what MacTweets is – you should join us, the link is in the post above! We choose a new theme/ flavour each month and all post on the same day. So much fun and so much support!

      Reply
  13. Oh that Tupperware shrine is hysterical and has me laughing out loud! Humor in times of trouble! You are so courageous for trying time and time again and deserve a special award for mac perseverance – you and Deeba! I am actually confounded that they puff up in the oven then collapse? Not cooked enough? Too wet?

    Anyway your last batch is great and I love the tropical theme! Good for you! Let’s see what happens next month!

    Reply
  14. Congratulations on getting a good batch your dedication definitely paid off. I love your flavours so fresh and tasty sounding. Im sure you will find many more in the Pierre Herme book hope you enjoy it.

    Reply
  15. Congratulations on your successful macs! Did you to Mac Feet Dance? I’m sure you did – jumping and screaming in the kitchen like u won lottery. LOL!

    I have a box of failed macs in my kitchen. Can’t bear to throw them away and hub kept asking me for weeks ‘what are you going to do with them?’ LOL

    Reply
    • Yes there was a certain amount of high-fiving myself, I have to say. Rachael @fujimama held my hand virtually through the last two batches and I know I gave Barb @vinoluci and Jamie and Deeba a few laughs with my first batches!!!

      Reply
  16. Love that you published the failures!

    To do something good you propably must have done some failures!

    Perfect result and adorable fotos!

    Reply
  17. Beautiful job Mardi! I have such an appreciation for macarons because of your efforts. During my macaron tour of NYC, I spoke to a few of the chefs. One chef (from Macaron Cafe, which I HAVE to take you to – it’s so cute!!) spent the past 6 years making nothing but macarons.

    Reply
  18. well your persistence paid off, your last ones look perfect!!! my first attempt at macarons looked like your first and second attempts, but I definitely never got to your final perfection 🙂

    I think I said it before, but congratulations again on your exciting Food Network news!!!

    Reply
  19. I had a wry smile reading the two sides of the stubborn/perseverance coin… 🙂

    Can I just say what Mr. Neil did to help on Thursday? He left the house at 5.50 for the office, returned home 20.45. I reckoned that was enough time for all to be sorted out. Alas, no, so when I returned, shattered, on Friday (after another early start – project due) about 15.30, the kitchen was quite the spectacle. I truly think there should have been a photo of THAT. 😉

    My wine club guests were all impressed with the final results – so ten points on the final batch. NOw when they read what went INTO them…they’ll apppreciate them even more, I’m sure.

    Reply
    • Isn’t it good to see all the failures up there too – I had to chuckle when I went over your last few months of mac attempts too – between us, we could open a shop of the ones that didn’t make it! Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  20. Mardi…you are tenacious and that’s what these little buggars require and your results are worthy of that effort. Beautiful…although I would love to have your shrine here for some snacks…yes I would!

    Reply
  21. I think that the world’s hunger problems could be solved if we could somehow channel all our failed cooking efforts to feed the hungry, though I guess homeless people deserve footed macs as well.

    No wonder you are doing a PhD. I was only just discussing this with a friend yesterday and saying that people tend to say “Whoa, you’re doing a PhD? You must be SO SMART!!” and my reaction to that is “well, I guess I’m not exactly dumb, but doing a PhD is entirely an exercise in not knowing when to give up on something”.

    Loving these photos, and am particularly smitten with the ribbon in the first one 🙂

    Reply
    • Yes, that’s me, the eternal student and yes, probably not knowing when to give up! And you know, this IS my second attempt at a PhD – last one was about adultery in the novels of Maupassant (SO useful and practical, right? At least this one is useful for my job now!!)

      Reply
  22. Great job! You triumphed. I cannot believe how tricky macarons are to make. The colors are gorgeous….love the few that are shaded by the beach umbrella.
    I could only imagine your joy when the perfect batch came out of the oven with their perfect little feet!

    Reply
  23. Hey Im so glad your hardwork paid off! and WOW those macs look super amazing. I love the pastel colours. I’ve never tried making mac before maybe because I heard abt how hard they were to make. Lol but you just motivated me to try them one day :))

    Reply
  24. Gosh, I’m not sure I could have coped with such trials! Well done for sticking to it…the resuls look to be worth the efforts and you will have learned so much.

    Reply
  25. I like that you photographed your mistakes. Will help for people like to me to learn from! 🙂 THe final results are gorgeous. And that peachy pastel colour is so spring.

    Reply
  26. Your macs look great! I’ve had that issue with the falling macs before, and fixed it by raising the temp a bit (25F) – love your bright colors, they are so cheerful!

    Reply
  27. Mardi,

    I love your stories – this is fantastic. I was LOL and am sure the woman in the office next door thought I was crazy. I have had many pans of macarons that have decided to run into each other. I am glad you are sticking with it. Your last batch looks amazing and I love the flavors. I love passionfruit and believe they were our all time favorites! Cannot wait to see what our next challenge is!

    Reply
  28. I laughed my way through your post. Probably a lot funnier reaading it than cooking through it. I’m so glad yu persevered. The last macs are simply beautiful to look at.

    Reply
  29. Success…………..I know the feeling. I got sick and tired of making macs recently and then one saturday, without planning I made some. They turned out great!!!!!!! Good on you for keeping the faith!

    Reply
  30. Mardi, I salute you for all your efforts! The 1st time I tried making macaron shells was a flop for me!! I’ve been scared to try since then. However, you’ve encouraged me to take it up again (once baby is a little older). I will save / stumble the recipe above. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  31. Just came across this post via your hot chocolate and marshmallow post, which look amazing, by the way 🙂 I’ve actually never tried mac’s due to my nut allergy…if you’ve come across any nut-free versions of this recipe, please share!!

    Reply
  32. I finally made it FOR THE FIRST TIME and SUCCESS!
    THANK YOU SOOO….. MUCH for your foolproof recipe!!!!

    I haven’t gone crazy with the filling yet, I just went easy on myself with Nutella and raspberry jam 🙂

    Reply
  33. I have never eaten, or attempted to make macs before. But as I was reading your recipe, I wondered… Could I just use almond flour instead of grinding up almonds? Or would that not work?

    Reply

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