My First Macarons-A Lesson in Failure

Yes, macarons. I know, they’re passé, and their popularity peaked somewhat around the time the bambino was learning to walk. But I also know that at least in my neck of the woods, they never really took off–It wasn’t until a couple years ago that my dear friend Melissa brought me my first macaron from a bakery in Minneapolis. I don’t think I have ever seen them here in Brookings, and lord knows I never get to any of the bakeries down in Sioux Falls so I have no idea if any of them ever sold them. But supposedly cupcakes went bust a couple years ago too, and those are still going strong. And while I’ve always heard that there are rules and certain things you have to do when making macarons, I figured they were too fussy to bother with. Still, I like a challenge, and faced with a day off and a lack of kitchen inspiration, I thought, why not?

I’ve done a lot of reading and one of the universal things stated over and over again when it comes to macarons is that you need to weigh your ingredients, not just measure by volume. Luckily for me, the fine folks at OXO sent me a kitchen scale last year, and I used that to measure everything.

OXO Scale

It’s especially helpful because you can switch from US to metric measurements–For this, I measured using metric.

Sugar and Almond Meal

I chose to test out BraveTart’s Macaron recipe which Stella Parks, the pastry chef who does the writing for BraveTart, includes in her tutorial on macarons. Long story short, I chose this recipe because I’d read about Stella Parks in Food & Wine last year (I even made her Brown Butter Hazelnut Brownies although I don’t think I blogged about them), and I’d been reading BraveTart for awhile, before I realized that was her blog. Derp.

Anyway, I followed her recipe to the letter–At least I thought I did. My first batch didn’t turn out well at all:

Macaron Fail 1

Cracked, and without those little macaron “feet.”

Based on what I’ve been reading in my research, I figured my oven was too hot, even though it was set to 300°F, as called for. So I dropped the temp down to 275°F, and tried with a second batch. Those weren’t quite as bad as the first, but they too had no “feet” and were also cracked:

Failed Macarons 2

Plus, I also noticed that with this batch, they didn’t quite get cooked through all the way. Since I lowered the temperature, I probably should’ve baked them a little longer.

I think overall, my biggest issue was that I probably over-mixed the batter somewhat. I did count strokes when I was mixing, but I suspect that I still managed to overmix the batter. It wasn’t as thick as I’d seen in the various videos I’ve watched online. I scrapped the whole lot–Jay wasn’t overly impressed by them, and while the bambino liked them, he ate two right off the bat, and I decided that was enough.

So, there’s no recipe this time…Just my initial attempt at macaron-making! If I have the time this weekend, I might try again, but changing a couple things. I won’t leave the egg whites out quite as long, for one. And I might try and wait for a slightly cooler day, which, it being July, I know is a bit ridiculous!

 

 

 

 

I am including this in the Our Growing Edge Challenge for this month, which is being hosted by Stacey at The Veggie Mama. I actually was invited to participate last month, but between the Hashimoto’s flare-up and not really feeling like I had anything suitable, I never quite got around to it. But this month, I feel like my chronicle of my first attempt at macarons fits perfectly, even if my macarons didn’t turn out perfectly!

9 thoughts on “My First Macarons-A Lesson in Failure

    • I'm trying to decide if I want to be all stubborn and keep trying until I get them right, or if I just don't care enough to bother with them again! :)
  1. Hi Rachel, thanks for joining Our Growing Edge this month. This post is a great example of a real challenge and it's important to read about failures. If you never fail, you aren't pushing yourself hard enough. I can barely bake and don't own a hot oven so wouldn't even think about attempting macrons. Footless cracks? Who would have thought these were baking terms? Not me :) Your second batch still look ok to me, did you buttercream them and eat them anyway?
    • Thank you again for the invitation, Genie. I actually didn't keep the second batch, which disappointed my son. He thought even the cracked ones were delicious! :) I didn't make any buttercream to go along with them, just in case they didn't work out--Then I wouldn't have the all buttercream sitting around!
  2. Macarons are something I've been dying to try, but I keep hearing how hard they are! Thanks for posting your first forays into macaron making, I hope you will be stubborn and keeping going at them :D It's more inspiration for me to crack open the almond flour and try it too!
    • A good friend of mine said almost the same thing. I think I will give them another go...I can't let a mere sandwich cookie get the better of me! :)
  3. Hi Rachel, you have a very interesting scale there! Macarons have been on my to-bake list for quite some time, I read lots & lots about them too, but still haven't had the guts to try out. Great work on attempting, I'm sure you'll get it next time ^^ They still look beautiful feetless by the way :)
  4. Pingback: Apfel Kuchen » Tramplingrose

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