Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Rah & Blah...

As the afternoon progressed I found myself actually getting excited about tonight's baking experiment.  I  have read so many post and recipes and tips and tricks, like a coach studying the opponents playbook before the big game, that I was feeling pretty positive about my prospects.  I do think its worth mentioning that it didn't matter what site, post or cookbook I was referencing they all, in one way or another, built in a few sentences that more or less told me to expect failure.  Not every time mind you, but regularly...and often.  They also mentioned 435 different reasons you might experience said failure but urged you to bake on anyway.  Why?  Because they are yummy...even ugly, they are yummy.  So project Macaroon commenced:

I ground my almonds and sifted my powdered sugar.  I followed good baking procedure and weighed all my ingredients (in grams) to be as precise as possible.

For anyone that has known me for at least 5 minutes its pretty fair to say that I'm not the most patient in an effort to improve my efforts to create similarly sized shells I even took the time to trace a templet on my parchment paper

I whipped my egg whites as instructed to create stiff dry peaks

I added my gel color and prepared to pipe

 Despite my best efforts my sizing wasn't as uniform as I would have liked.  My piping bag was smaller than called for and I unintentionally overfilled it.  So while battling batter overflow out of the top of the bag I did my best to follow my templet.

This is me, praying to the Frigidaire-Macaroon gods 

It was shortly after my prayer session, while I was starting on the dishes, that it hit me...I didn't bang my pans.  My heart dropped.  I knew at that moment, without even looking, that this would not be the outcome I was so hoping for.   This was another one of those items, like the guarantee of failure, that all research sources agreed on.  They might call for a different number of bangs, or a different degree turn on the pan before banging again, but they ALL called for it.  If you have ever made a meringue you know the goal is to fill the egg whites with air.  Ironically in Macaroon making even though you make a meringue to start you actually beat the air back out of the batter when you incorporate the dry ingredients.  The banging of the pan is important to remove any remaining air bubbles to not only keep your interiors fluffy but to keep your shell tops from cracking.   I entertained a brief hope that maybe it wasn't all that critical and things would be just fine, but I didn't let myself bask in the lie for long, I knew better.

And as worst French fears were realized...Cracked...Blah...

One lonely perfect shell in a sea of frightening failures

Somehow my second pan, while still nothing to write home about, bore much better results.  To be honest if my entire endeavor had produced this result I probably would have called this whole thing a HUGE success, in spite of a few cracked tops.

                      Shiny shells, pretty frills (or feet) overall an excellent first Macaroon attempt

I already know several things I will do differently next time...yes their will be a next time, I was too damn close this time to give up...Obviously the biggie is that I will remember to follow ALL my directions and I will bang out the piped shells before baking.  I also think I might let them sit for 15 min. or so before baking.  This was a suggestion of some while others said it wasn't necessary. I figure if nothing else the extra 15 minutes might have helped me remember to BANG THE DAMN PAN!  Lastly I would bake them one try at a time.  I'm fairly certain that my bottom tray of shells got too hot too fast on the bottom rack and thats why the cracking was so bad.

The good news...these still taste great.  And oh by the way-are grain free- can a get a Lenten HELL YEA!  excuse me while I go eat the evidence!

1 comment:

  1. wow!! i really had no idea what went into making macaroons!! i make something that i call macaroons, but they are nothing as fancy as this!!