Macarons: Just like a box of chocolates

Adventures in macarons…  I swear, these will be the death of me. Each time I make them, they turn out differently. As I try to stress to my students, making macarons is all about practice… And whilst I am starting to understand a little more how they work, and there is a certain appeal in knowing they will always be slightly different, despite the fact that I follow pretty much the same recipe every time, the Taurus in me hates this.

This month, I am still working to battle hollow shells with my French meringue macarons and have changed up my recipe a little to lower the temperature and extend the baking time (300˚F for 16 minutes). This month, the raspberry shells were amongst my best shells ever. Perfect looking and perfect consistency. I used a little freeze-dried raspberry powder in these to give them a wonderfully tart raspberry flavour…

Encouraged by the success of these, I felt like I should try the Italian meringue method again. Last time I tried this, I had fabulous results, so was keen to try again.  I imagined I might make “Cookies and Cream” macarons to incorporate a little colour for some visual appeal… Alas, it was not meant to be and my macaron shells ended up looking rather tipsy.  Not sure what happened, except that my trays might be a little warped – this happened before but not to this extent. I mean, really – this is scary!

Whoah, right? (and this is nothing fancy – it’s simply a tiny dob of different coloured macaron mixture piped into the shell…)

In any case, the texture of these was pretty good – not hollow and nice and chewy inside so despite their weird appearance, I filled a few of them…

These *tasted* great. I used chocolate ganache and a cream cheese frosting and put a little bit of both in. Weird looking, yet tasty. And certainly presentable. Right???

Not happy with these (yes, My name is Mardi and I am obsessed with macarons) I decided to go back to the French meringue method and just do some simple macarons with two different shell colours (white, plain shells and raspberry shells) filled with two different coloured cream cheese frosting.  The raspberry shells I made were perfect. Not hollow at all. The white shells were not completely hollow but were, in fact, very different than the raspberry shells – much more brittle and less chewy. Sigh. To add to my perplexed woes, the cream cheese frosting, normally so creamy and smooth, just didn’t work like it should. I mean, I make this multiple times a month and it NEVER looks like this (below).  It was more like a cream cheese spread than a frosting – sort of whipped butter crossed with cream cheese.  In any case, even if it wasn’t smooth and creamy, it tasted great – especially after a day in the fridge and brought to room temperature…

But I am NOT a happy camper this month. Despite three very successful classes at le Dolci in the past four weeks, as well as a “girls’ night out macaron party” at a friend’s house all with pretty great results, of course it turns out that the ones I make to post on my blog are sub-par. Oh well, I need to believe what I tell my students which is that one must make mistakes in order to learn, and always know that making macarons – it’s like that elusive box of chocolates – “you never know what you’re going to get”.   Onwards and upwards, there’s always next month!

This post participates in Mactweets.  This month’s theme was “Colour my World”.

Stand up for REAL FOOD with me on May 19th. Find out how here.

29 thoughts on “Macarons: Just like a box of chocolates”

  1. I think the spotted ones are cute and the raspberry are simply gorgeous! As I’ve only made macs once and was blessed with beginners luck, I have yet to push that luck and see if I can make another successful batch. I am so impressed that you bake batch after batch of these at home and then go out and teach others how to make macs (with great success). I also love how tiny you make your macs and think that the smaller ones are so appealing. Keep baking and sharing your macs stories because you are impressing the heck out of all of us and inspiring many.

  2. Mardi i think they all looked great . i had a fabulous time with my 2 daughters at Le Dolci where we made macarons for the first time. i have been practicing and practicing and all my dog walking friends are now my taste kitchen experts. i have had the “hollow shells” too and i am thankful you have printed out new oven tempertaures and times. this may help this week as i will attempt another batch of them. you are always striving for that perfect mac and yet the photos i see are pretty near perfect. carry on and keep baking as you do.

  3. All I can say is, I salute you. I’ve been battling over macarons for ages, following many different recipes, and seriously wondering why these recipes don’t reflect the photos that those particular blogs show.
    I, too, have an unconditional love for macarons. Been obsessed over wanting to taste Adriano Zumbo’s for ages, who I first heard of when watching Masterchef Australia, and he made a macaron tower 🙂 So when I finally got to taste 6 of his macarons, I was seriously over the moon :)!!

    Thanks for posting up your macaron journey 🙂 I’ve read all ur macaron series and am so impressed by these lovely results 🙂

    Please post up more macaron recipes soon!!

    x Tina

  4. Well I think that they look absolutely stunning. And you’re so brave! These things terrify me beyond … well anything and everything. And I’ve never even eaten a single macaron, shockingly. Just the English macaroon which is in a very different class. 🙂

  5. Really, I think the obsession is not so much the quest for perfection, rather it seems that the outcome of your efforts can never be predicted with any great degree of confidence. It seems you can’t predict it, ever. That makes it a different journey every time. And, by the way, your pics look really great.

  6. I would be thrilled if I could get macarons to look this good 🙂
    However, I do understand the need to get something “just the way” I want it & the need to be able to predict your results. Beautiful colors.

  7. I’ve been super nervous to try macarons. I’m happy to say that it feels good to know I haven’t misplaced my concern. I will try them, but for now my oven is too temperamental to trust to such a delicate job. I love reading about all your tries though. I feel it emboldens me for when I do suck it up and give it a go!

  8. Mardi. I think you need to take a deep breath and stop obsessing. They ALL look beautiful and I would eat every last one of them.

  9. your macarons look very gorgeous! and I totally feel your pain when ti comes with those frustrating air pockets. what has worked for me was turning the fan off, you might also try keeping your macs longer in the oven, you’d probably need to reduce the temp slightly. do you still have the hollows when using the italian meringue method? keep us updated with your macaron journey!!


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