Thursday, July 14, 2011

quelle désastre Macarons!

SOS! EMI...911?
Calling Dr. Jill (of Mad About Macarons)

Yes, I tried to make macarons this morning enfin. After consulting an insane number of books in THREE languages and being up till 1 AM checking again every internet recipe bla bla bla
And I have an insane amount of equipment some of which I kept losing in the process.

Like I lost this special scaper I bought with Dr. Jill in Paris at Mora. Go figure?

Somehow I managed to measure out the 90 grams of egg whites on my new metric scale (which I haven't figured out yet - never mind). I even had a few squiggles of yolk mixed in - it didn't seem to hurt a bit. Who knew?
PS - I did NOT age my egg whites for 16 days on the kitchen counter but instead nuked em for 20 seconds - I think it worked fine - qui sait?

I got the almond flour from Amazon - 5 POUNDS of it! So this is an ongoing process till I figure these %$#@ macarons out.

Dr. Jill says to beat the Hell out of the egg whites...hmmm
Practice makes perfect - not there yet.

The 'Macaronage' - the dreaded infernal mixing of the egg whites and almond flour etc. was a bitch. Getting the stuff into the pastry bag was an even bigger bitch.
Sorry PBers. This post is 'R' rated.

My little babies did not come out so nice - c'est la vie

But they did form the appropriate skin on them to the touch after 30 minutes.

The Doc said it's all about knowing YOUR oven and to get an oven thermometer - I did as I was told.

LOOK! I got 'FEET'! ...kind of

Malheureusement I did not cook them long enough.
And I used 'Superfine' sugar instead of the required GRANULATED.I don't want to think about the mess I made of the macaronage :(

MAD MAC meets Sad Sack.
Still I am NOT discouraged dear PBers.
Ever onward into the breach!I will be tackling chocolate macarons as soon as I post this.
Pray that there is some improvement dear friends.
Besides I have FIVE POUNDS of Almond Flour to get through

My ganache mess. They say you must be organized to make macarons...hmmm
Even though I failed with flying colors it was A LOT OF FUN!


  1. Brave Carol, I admire you, baking on a hot summer day!
    Btw, my mamma always said never to make egg white meringue on a humid day.

  2. Learn from my mistake(s) - after 3 months of failed macaron batches I finally decided NOT to use those pasteurized packaged egg whites (the "just whites" version of Egg Beaters). It is the pasteurization process that was the problem for me.

    I separate my whites by hand and "age" them for 3-5 days in my refrigerator. My Macs have turned out great ever since!

    Best of luck and Happy Bastille Day!

  3. Believe it or not, this actually gives me hope that making them is possible. I still haven't purchased anything to make them with yet, though. Well, I've got the book, of course, but that's it. I'm going to try sleeping with the book under my pillow and see if it all seeps into my head.

  4. Merisi,
    The weather has changed in New York and I made these this morning -it's positively breezy here.
    BUT BRAVETART of Macaron Mythbusters says the weather does NOT matter.

    I do have Trader Joe's pasturized egg whites in the frisge but I used REAL organic whites instead..

    that's the idea. If a mess like moi can get 'FEET' on their macarons, ANYONE can.
    Just cook em longer!
    Bon chance!

  5. Aussie Judith2:21 PM

    Oh what a post Carol, if only you could see that the more I read the more I smiled until I found that I was holding my breath waiting to see what your results were. I can only wish you bonne chance with the chocolate ones and hope that you continue to improve and once you have the secret touch you can share it with all of your readers who unlike yourself are probably more like me and fail to have patience in this department.

  6. Looks like you did a good job for your first time-- even if you think you didn't.
    Did you try to pull off your macs before they cooled on the parchment? That's what can cause that ripped up bottom. If you let them cool they easily come up without getting mangled.

  7. Culinary Librarian to the rescue AGAIN!
    Bon idea et merci
    Yes of course, being an overexcited and overanxious baker I started the liftoff too early...

    Still I think the 1st batch should have cooked longer.
    This is where KNOWING YR OVEN comes into the equation.

  8. You are a riot. You did great for a first go at it, I think! Before you know it, you'll be opening up a Paris Breakfast bakery. I have no doubt. Great job, Carol!

  9. ps
    the granular vs the confectionary sugar will probably make a difference, too, Carol. Too funny--are you gonna' eat 'em all? My rule is always that I have to eat the broken ones...;))

  10. Here are the tips that Paul has found work. He doesnt worry about the whole aged egg white thing, but he does strain the egg white before using it.
    Apparently too there are differences in almond meal or flours, it can be damper than the european one, so you put it on a tray in an oven and give it a bit of a toasting, it comes out much fluffier and more like a flour.
    Rest the macarons after piping them out.
    Id agree too on the not trying to lift them off the cooking paper too soon.
    Paul also drops the trays to the ground with quite a bang after piping on the macarons, it sort of spreads them out nicely.
    It very much seems to be practice makes perfect as well. It used to be quite an ordeal each time Paul tried a new flavour, the cooking time, everything seemed to change. Recently though that stopped and now he is making any flavour I can think of*L* Im ordering chocarons for our Anniversary I think, they are my new love.
    Good luck and keep going, it is so worth it when you master the little sods.

  11. Bravo! Admirable!
    C'est en forgeant qu'on devient forgeron!
    I am trying to calculate how many more posts there are in a five pound bag of almond flour. I cannot wait to read about round two.

  12. But isn't fun??!! I know, it's an ongoing process of tweaking. I have made 4 batches myself so far and my best batch was perfect except that they were too big. So next time I try I am going pencil circles on the bottom of the parchment paper and try and get the petit size I am looking for. Aging the whites did seem to help but my last batch had no feet. They are so tempermental!!
    Good Luck!

  13. Good for you for sharing your macsperience,

    They will get better.

    That Scot who lives in Paris.
    Her recipes WORK.
    A few tips.
    No need to age the eggs.
    Whip egg white until you can turn the bowl upside down and the eggs don't slither out.

    When pipping, hold the tube at a 45º angle and make a gentle forward flip to finish forming the cookie.
    Wish I could be there and we'd make them together and WOW the masses.

  14. Bet they tasted good though! My first macaron lesson was at LeNotre in Paris, then later that night I had a bout of food poisoning, or a virus. All I know is that regrettably I don't enjoy macarons as much as I used to, and they were my favorites for years....

    Keep up the good work....

  15. Chin up! I find they taste great no matter what they look like.... :-)

  16. Ur first batch looks just like my first batch!
    My advice to ur situation(I know everyone has their own "fix it" things since the making of macarons doesn't just vary state to state, but moment to moment :)

    -When I use a sil pat instead of parchment, the texture on the sil pat holds the batter into perfectly piped circles. The parchment paper always makes mine wonky shaped.
    They usually need to sit twice as long when I pipe on sil pats instead of parchment tho. I think the air drying them out in the resting stage must be penetrate easier thru the bottom of parchment paper than sil pats.

    Also-ur egg whites look a tid bit closer to "stiff peaks" than "soft peaks to me-not much tho.

    Also-u can let them sit a bit longer or u can put the oven on 200F and bake each tray for 5 minutes before doing the full baking and it will speed up the skin forming time and won't rip the tops open. I usually pipe, let them sit for an hour, put the tray in the oven on 200 for 5 minutes, and then let them sit for another hour.

    You should also watch for the size of the macarons being made in the recipes you follow. The sit time and bake temps vary between different sized macarons-even if it's a small change.


  17. You are very brave.....I am very impressed. Where was Bear while all of this was going on?

  18. Brava! I applaud you for sharing your frustrations with us! I think artists cannot cook (or paint) in an organized area! we thrive on chaos! Bonne chance!

  19. So true Theresa about artistes,
    The 2nd batch was a tad less chaotic.
    I did not lose the ovenmitt

    THANKS Rick!
    BEAR is ever present and calls the shots.
    More BEAR manana onsite.

    WOW thanks for very detailed tips Pen Pen!!!

  20. I must tell you that you are even more endearing now:)I love when someone .. well.. isn't exact in the result!

    Parce que.. il m'arrive quelques fois.. de faire .. ainsi:)
    I just told my friend about you and your beautiful perfect art:)

    You have gone to so much trouble for your macarons..:)

    Try again they will work..
    If I can do can..
    But you have tasted the best:) You even have the prove it..I have not:(

    One day..

  21. Shelley5:43 PM

    Carol dear, you didn't "fail with flying colors" -- what a funny phrase -- you gloriously passed your first lesson. Even professional chefs have to try things over and over to reach perfection. With your honed palate from all your "research" and your artistic prowess, they will soon be stellar. Félicitations pour ton succès!

  22. Did they taste good??
    I think they are amazing for a first attempt.
    I made crossiant from scratch for my husband once.( I mean cardboard crescents.) I think you are very determined and smart to keep trying.

  23. Carol, you absolutely made our day!! We are two neighbours really into the "french thing", to the point of using french in our emails. We decided that making macarons was as french as we could get from Vancouver Island. Let me tell you that we laughed and laughed at today's posting. We went through exactly the same trials, almost giving up but eventually (after several attempts)they did develop "feet", the right shape and texture. The cries of eureka sounded throughout the neighbourhood! However, by this point we had a million and one macaron shells in the freezer of differing flavours. Sugar fix all round!!!!

    Keep at it, they will work! And when it does you'll feel so accomplished and more Parisien. Next step, the flavoured centres, which we still have yet to master.

    Thank you very much for our morning dose of Paris Breakfast.
    Such a delight to start the day with.

    Pauline & Lindy

  24. Mine came out icky too. I know why they are $2.00 a piece now They are hard-- seem simple but non.
    Keep trying- got to use up the almond flour. I would rather eat them than make them anyday.

  25. I'm glad that you had fun!
    I've never had a macaron, so I don't know why anybody would go through so much work....but I guess they are worth it.
    PBers seem to be crazy about them.
    Have fun cleaning up :)

  26. Even if they didn't come out right, your macarons look absolutely delicious! I want to make them at some point but I'm a little afraid to...
    Happy Bastille Day!

  27. I feel like I should send you some Nikon...
    I'll be flying up to Maine this weekend. Can I drop a few macarons down for you?
    the chocolate batch came out much better.
    Wear a helmet!

  28. you will be an expert in no time!

  29. Sorry,I had to laugh at your blog today!
    I keep wanting to try to make macarons but I am intimidated,especially in damp Portland.
    Weather,ingredients,ovens--they all vary so.
    Good for you! I bet the chocolate ones will be great.


  30. Live in FL. LOTS of humidity. I would love to try macaroons, but am scared to death. You are a brave woman and I look forward to more posts.

  31. Yummm. They look good enough to eat. :) A friend of mine here made them and after a few not so good ones she finally got the knack. They turned out really good. So keep up the practicing. She had to grind her own almonds to make the flour as she couldnt buy the flour here. To much work for Moi. :))

  32. You go with all your macaron doodads...I shall cheer you on in the words of Winston Churchill "Nev-ah, Nev-ah, Nev-ah give up!" and post again in your next effort. I too failed on my first and second tries at Macarons but I will try again. enjoy your fine time in Maine.

  33. Carol, this post of yours and the ensuing comments have truly showed how difficult it is to master the Marcaron.

    I applaud your testing the recipe and technique in your very own kitchen. I would never be so brave.

    I would like to look over the shoulder of someone who has got the whole thing down and also a reliable oven. Even then, I'd most likely just want to gobble the samples from the other side of that shoulder, and might never want to try to bake them myself.

    And so...bravo. Bon voyage to you and Bear.


  34. Gosh Carol, I love that you are dipping into all these new things - macaron cooking attempts and facebook launching attempts! Well done! They both seem difficult. Macarons is something I haven't tried yet..I'm too scared! Looking forward to seeing your macaron progess.

  35. Macarons are my bête noire in the kitchen - and I finally think I have found a failproof recipe (tricks and tips here:

    I always thought I was beating my egg whites enough - looked like yours, but in fact it needs to be much much more beaten, according to my recent experiences - like 9-10 minutes' worth!! Feels so wrong but once you get the dry ingredients in there and beat the air OUR of the whites, it forms the correct consistency to pipe.

    You should definitely read Stella's post (The Brave Tart, linked in my post) about "macaron myths" - it's eye opening! The fact that I managed to make 200 macarons for a bake sale with her technique is proof enough for me that it pretty much works every time!

    Keep on at it - as you say, practice makes perfect and yours look SO close!!! I am doing two more macaron workshops in Paris over the next two weeks - if I learn any more tips, I will be sure to share! Oh, and am hopefully meeting Jill!!

  36. Désastre is male = quel désastre !

    Best regards


  37. MARDI!
    You've really done it!
    I linked to Bravetart somewhere here but followed a diff recipe.

    Ready for Round #3 post Maine!

  38. Dr. Jill ???

    Oh, Carol, sorry to see you've gone through the mill here and I'm only seeing this now.

    Firstly, this is just your first batch. Take heart, you've got feet and they look not that bad.

    Secondly, which recipe were you following? Mine? If you were, you didn't do what you were told, completely. (Thank you Foodwalker. Yes, the recipe works, you just have to follow it to the letter.)

    I've already cut corners for you, so there's no need to cut even more. Right from the start, the mix was too liquid.
    Many people say no need to age whites. Fine, but I've had the same situation with professional cartons of egg whites but as we don't normally get access to them, it's so much surer to age them at home.
    By ageing egg whites, the water content evaporates and so your mix will be surer and less liquid.
    The oven (great, it's doing what it says it is) is fine and so you'll tweak that the next time.
    Next, I wouldn't suggest chocolate. Work on the same one and get the confidence first.
    You are well on your way to becoming a macaronivore, so don't worry.

    Sounds like you're following so many different recipes and techniques at the same time. Pick one recipe and stick to it completely. Then you can play around.

    Lastly, apologies for nagging. You've done a fabulous job and you've done the hardest part: making the first move. Relax and enjoy the rest.
    Hugs, Jill xo

  39. Anonymous9:41 AM

    My daughter has had excellent results in her home kitchen and mine with the the "French meringue macarons" from Cecile Cannone's tiny cookbook MACARONS from the Macaron Cafe. They are equal to or better than those from Laduree, and can be prepared successfully in a humid climate. Almond flour is available in small quantities at Agata and Valentina(1st Avenue at 79th). Bonne chance!

  40. I'm impressed.

    However, if someone with your intense interest in them can't come close, who can?

    Good luck.


  41. Oh ye of little faith:

    it takes time to conquer MACARONS.

    Rome wasn't built in a day

    I am not a pastry chef

    never said I was

    The glass is half full Sharon


  42. It is encouraging to see your results...after all you know! I made my first batches at Easter - tried raspberry, cafe, was by far the most challenging culinary experience of my life. i grund my own flour (never again!) I undercooked some, finally got some with "feet", made the filling to runny....but I'll do it again. I know why they charge so much for them - they are LABOR INTENSIVE! But it's good to have a challenge and they are delicious! Something to strive for! Thanks for wooing my interest! I have Jill's book and another one from America...practice makes perfect. Next time I'll order the almond flour!

  43. Oh, I so totally know from where you are coming. It's been back to the drawing board several times. Good Luck with future efforts.

  44. ‘Success’, once said Winston Churchill, ‘is the ability to go
    from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.’

  45. Hey there, First batch doesn't look all that bad if you ask me (I was trained at Le Cordon Bleu).T he next time you make them they will be much, much better. Yours are quite pretty. As far as folding goes here is the trick: you put the rubber spatula in the center of the mix and fold from there. In a few turns it will start to look like something.

  46. Forgot one thing. When folding put the spatula in the middle of the mix in the bowl and FOLD OVER AND TURN A QUARTER ROUND BETWEEN EACH FOLD. I agree with others, pick just one recipe and follow it to the letter. YOU'LL GET IT ...


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