Monday, August 15, 2011

Footless in Astoria

They say you should never attempt French macarons (part trois) when it's damp and pouring cats and dogs outside.
They say (well the recipe says) use SUPERFINE granulated sugar not just plain old granulated sugar with your egg whites. It was raining cats and dogs out.
They say you should age your egg whites 1-3 days (while others say you can nuke them for 10-15 seconds and get the same effect). Everyone agrees the measurements must be correct and to use a scale, but if you're semi-dyslexic and read the numbers wrong... Photo by Bill Cunningham/NYTimes
Bill Cunningham was saying
YELLOW YELLOW YELLOW Lemon YELLOW macarons were ringing in my ears c/o Jill's Mad About Macarons
Jill says she likes to take shortcuts. Me too. Course it would help if I knew what shortcuts to take.
I didn't shortcut incorporating the whipped eggwhites into the almond-sugar mixture. The lemon zester was supplied by ZestN'est and works very well. If only other elements had worked.
 I did refer to Jill's demo video
The famous 'molten-lava-ribbon' stage of the macaronage.
But something was wrong. Overbeaten, wrong sugar, too loose.
I should have noticed the cookies spread too much when batter spritzed on the floor. Warning bells were ringing loud. 
'Footless' lemon sugar cookies are not the desired result.
Nevermind- I ate too many and tossed the rest.
Neither a lender, borrower or a baker be?
Or should I just make plain old macarOOns the old-fashioned way. I have pounds of almond flour sitting in the fridge. You tell me what to do next!


  1. hahaaaa! I think you folded the eggwhites into the mix too much--the air all went out of 'em? Too funny. I bet they still tasted good, though!

    You're doing good. I saw Bill C's yellows yesterday--very sunflower-y, indeed.

  2. I definitely did a lot of things WRONG Suzanne!!
    The adventure continues...
    So much almond flour,
    so few skills :)

  3. I attended a class with (SweetTartelette)Helene Dujardin specifically to learn the doggone tricks to a macaron. What began as a very short recipe soon turned into 14 pages of hand written notes! One thing I noticed is your sugar, and to be sure "super fine" is not regular sugar, however confectioner's sugar is too too super fine! There is actually a sugar in between both of those you can also purchase at the store that is "super fine"-looks a lot like regular table sugar but it's (lol) super fine! She told us that it should "rain down into the batter slowly as you mix it in." Not sure that's what went wrong, but hey. Also she used powdered food colouring because gel or liquid would "ruin" the recipe. (the stuff no one ever shares in a recipe!) For me? Well I made a few batches with success, but seriously- having to wait five days to even start (aging eggs) and then after I *have* success, having to wait another day or so for the finished cookie to do it's thing...well I just want a cookie! Gimmie the cookie! If I lived any where close to someone who knew how to bake one, I'd just buy one! Good luck, I don't think it's you! : ) (It's the crazy finicky recipe!)

  4. They say "if you don't succeed, try try again". But what do they know. Go buy your macarons like s'mee suggests.

  5. THANKS S'Mee!
    I am so with you on this waiting business.
    Congrats on taking the class with the Mistress of macarons stateside
    Not that I haven't - 3 classes in Paris and still I'm up a creek
    Yes I knew the sugar was wrong and was too lazy to go out in the rain again
    c'est la vie

    Thanks Marilyn,
    no matter how $$$ Fr macarons are, the investment in making them is way more. And the time. Still I felt I ought to experience it.
    How else to keep pontificating on them if I don't?

  6. Carol, well lemon cookies ARE good!

    I remember my grandmother saying not to make meringues on a humid or rainy day.

    Now I must admit I haven't made any macaroons or meringues for some time, so my advice would not help much!


    Art by Karena

  7. Tell you what to do next!?
    I have never laughed so much while reading one of your blogs, Carol.
    I felt like I was watching you do a "stand-up" routine about making (or not) macarons.
    I think you should take this routine on the road. hee-hee-heeee. My son can put you in touch with his booking agent.
    Time to wipe the tears from my eyes.

  8. You're persistent!
    I see you running a macarons place one day, no doubt.
    You'll be painting customers and the macarons and making 'em all at the same time.


  9. I want to learn how to make authentic French macarons so badly!! Or maybe I could just higher someone to do it for me - that would be much easier ;-)

  10. Quick! Run out for a box of proper macs before you lose your will to live!

  11. Carol, you are one very brave girl, trying to make meringue-like cookies on a wet damp day!

    I think s'mee is on to something: Confectioners sugar is tricky. You need superfine, it creates air bubbles while you whip it with the eggs (something to the effect of letting the cookies stand up straight).

    You can make superfine out of regular granulated sugar by giving it a whir or two in the blender.

  12. Anonymous3:38 PM

    I LOVE that you share your baking skills with us. Its so often too damp in rural Oregon for baking the specialties. I love that you
    hang in there and keep trying. I think I would have been licking the parchment paper !

  13. I never did macarons...I just go to Pierre Hermé. It's easier and faster! But, you are a good pastry Chef!

  14. I am impressed you are even trying all of this!!!!!!!!!! Loved the batter on the floor, I was laughing. Sorry!

  15. Even if they aren't macarons, lemon cookies sound good, too!

  16. Yes, i think its all about the sugar. Superfine is what most bakers use for everything......
    Good tip about the food coloring too. You've worked so hard, already invested so much time, I think you should have a cafe au lait one fine morning and dive in again. You will show the macraon gods!

  17. Good Lord, that's a lot of work!

    (You were battling low barometric pressure - try it again on a clear day :)

  18. My Friend in town mastered making these. They really looked & tasted good. It took a few tries and flops. She had to grind her own almonds tho because there was no almond flour to be found in our small town. When she finally found some regular almond flour and made them they have all flopped. Seems like grinding her own almonds into flour worked better. Love that umbrella shot.

  19. Carol, you are a brave lady to venture out during the recent heavy rain. My "rainy day ... can take anything sandals" have yet to fully dry out.

    Somehow, I am thinking that home baking of macarons is not something that I will attempt...I will have to leave it to the professionals, and to give those professionals extra points for their expertise.

    However...this post was so amusing...I kept somehow seeing Lucille Ball, with Ethel Mertz as assistant, on to another caper. Please know that I do mean this as a compliment! xo

  20. Are you using French Meringue? THere are a couple more steps to Italian, but I've always had better results. U should look at 'Demystifying Macarons'-an article I got on-line from Desserts Magazine. It's the French Meringue recipe that usually works for me. And--Ur batter looks too runny. They say it needs to be like that, but the batter I always get that works and makes feet is very very thick magma. And-I wouldn't nook the egg whites-the one time I did that, the macs had no feet with no explanation. I dunno if it was the reason, but I did everything else like usual.
    Also-U should try a sil-pat instead of parchment. The macs spread just a tiny bit and come out perfect circles. WHat recipe did u use?
    And-I use regular sugar with no issues no matter if it's italian or french meringue, and only age egg whites 24 hrs.
    THe humididty makes the meringue weak. The italian meringue is stronger tho-that's why I use it on rainy days with rain.
    I also add a pinch of powdered egg whites to my meringue right after I add sugar to give the meringue a tiny bit more stability. U gotta help it fight the moisture from the coloring, humidity, and egg whites.
    Don't give up!!

  21. THANK YOU PBers!!

    I think a cooking party is on order with you'all coming over to advice and consent!

    No more rainy day macs for me.

    Let me at you with hammer and tongs and Cuisinart!!

  22. valerie s.12:10 PM

    Don't give up, I didn't! The best site I've found for basic instruction, lots of photos.

  23. oooooh I've tried macaron making... NEVER got feet... BUT they were DELICIOUS!

  24. Who needs feet on their food anyway?! I say, let's eat.

  25. My English sister-in-law makes Pavlova (meringue) and she said I needed to learn how to get TRUE peaks and them I would have feet on my macarons…
    soooo I may give it a try again… thinking I may have her over to help!



  26. I'm afraid it takes more than peaks to get these suckers right :(

    I had peaks...

    well I think I had em, but if she makes Pavlovas she would know a peak when one comes along for sure!


  27. I watched her make Pavlova and I was amazed how long she whips the meringue… apparently we didn’t whip as long… hmmmm… I’ll let you know how it turns out IF I ever decide to try it again.



  28. I heard that - to whip the hell out of it from Jill Colonna

    I did whip for 12 minutes!

    Too much work

    painting is way easier and yr in control not the G D egg whites or the oven!

  29. Oh Carol! Just seen this back from hols and really feel for you. Wow. Is that a photo of my hand in the video shot? OMG - it looks like ET!
    The batter did look runny, even if you whipped so long but it looks shiny but not as stiff. Let's blame the cats and dogs. I do hope you try again and leave them to air properly, too. And I love how you paint and make macarons at the same time ;-) What a girl!

  30. Hang on! I've just seen this again - must have still been jet-lagged when saw it. That 4th photo, you've scrawled a different recipe over the one in the book (if you're using 90g whites, then the sugar weighed out is not the right quantity.) What recipe are you following exactly? You certainly know how to confuse things. I think THAT's the problem, my friend. Just stick to the recipe. Point. And think the whites weren't quite beaten enough. Lovely colour, though! Funny post, too. :-))


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