Copains! Round 2 of Perfect The Macaron was so hopeful. Zach and I were thrilled to be able to see the differences throughout the process but only to be let down right at the end when our beautiful creations were cracked with raw batter inside. Seriously? How we overcame the tragedy of that site will forever baffle me. Our mommas always said, the more you fail the more likely you are to succeed right? Let us all see if that holds up.
Today, I am going to show you that it is possible to succeed because, well, because I am tired of making you read my failed adventures. (Not saying there won’t be failures because… there will be). This Macaron round I wanted to make something different and really get creative. We were in the Christmas spirit and decided to make: Red Velvet Macarons with a buttercream filling. oh.my.gosh. Doesn’t that sound just so delicious? Were they? That is the overarching question.
I think at this point Zach and I have created quite the routine with how we are operating in the kitchen together while making Macarons. He measures the ingredients out (obviously, because we know what happens when I do that part…) I happily get the ingredients ready for him and I get to sift. For some reason, that part is one of my favorite parts – its so mesmerizing. We were able to acquire an old time sifter from my parents that you have to manually rotate. Why that brings me flash backs of my childhood – I have no idea.
So here we go, ingredients measured correctly – Check. This time, we are determined to figure out why our Macarons cracked last time. Did we over whip? Did we not whip enough because the inside was almost raw? So, we are using the same almond flour because we really liked that one last round. Same recipe as before as well though, we are adding some chocolate to make it red velvet inspired. We also decided to put twice as many drops of red food coloring in as last time because Round 2 Macarons turned out to be a pale pink. I am going to attempt to get a Christmas red Macaron. We also made sure to set aside ample time to make these. Our determination was so intense.
Over these past few months I have done some research on the making of macarons. It has become a passion of mine because it is such an interesting challenge. Throughout my Macaron posts you’ll find out what types of things I’ve learned. Not only do you get to make a delicious cookie, you also get the satisfaction of succeeding at something so difficult in the baking world (or so I’m told). Once I master the Macaron – I must master the crepe. yesss the crepe. My mouth is currently watering for some good crepes. Who knew my blog would turn into a baking/cooking inspired blog. – Not I.
Okay, Sorry for getting side tracked… Red Velvet Macarons. As we were putting all the ingredients together we were paying close attention to the stirring process because I believe (through my research) that we potentially over-mixed our batter which is the worst thing you can do when making Macarons. – go us. It troubles me on how many stirs to do or am I going too fast or is this mixed enough? So many questions to be answered throughout this process. They (the Macaron making pros) say that you should mix until you get a batter that is similar to molten lava. Interesting – great, now I have to figure out what molten lava looks like. And here we go again.
The Crisping Moment:
I’m sorry, Do you remember what our Macaron tray looked like in Round 2. No? please… let me remind you.
My goodness was there some improvement I must say. We have a stencil to use on our mat and our pink ones turn out like that? Yikes is right. Though, I think our red ones look significantly better wouldn’t you say? Round 2 we managed to get these points on the tops of the Macarons that did not decrease when we hit the tray on the counter (to get the air bubbles out) or while cooking. So this time, I decided I was going to take the back side of a spoon and just kind of gently smooth it out. Not sure if that is the right or wrong thing to do (and that’s why these posts aren’t ‘how to’ posts) but it worked!
We let them crisp until they were no longer sticky to the touch. Though this time, we decided to turn up the heat on our oven and keep them cooking longer. 300 degrees F at 15 minutes and 2 extra minutes with the oven door cracked. When they came out of the oven, they looked PERFECT. There was a hand full that looked like they had some edges starting to crack again but the majority of them looked just perfect. What was this… Round 3 (4th official time) of attempting the Macaron. Did it only take 4 times to PERFECT this cookie? Possibly. You tell me…
What are the findings?
Okay okay, perhaps they aren’t perfect but do you see those feet though? Thanks mom for keeping our spirits high! Though they are 100% stunning looking (in my opinion) with just a simple buttercream filling again. One of them has green food coloring for creativity points [score]. We decided to play with adding some decorative features to the tops for Christmas fun.
Here is the kicker we found: since we planned for this baking venture and had ample time to make it work [thanks Tim Gunn]- we had time to let them rest AFTER cooking in the oven. We put them on the counter and just let them cool down for about 20 minutes or so. I feel, doing that allowed them to finish cooking which means that when we peeled them off our mat, they did not stick and they were not raw inside. If you were wondering, we did indeed finally learn our lesson of NOT putting them on a baking sheet without parchment paper. Points for not wasting batter!
When we make so many small changes with each round it has been kind of hard to really tell what change is causing each round to be more successful but this round in particular really did show that SOMETHING went right. We are so happy with round three and hey – they even tasted good! I decided to take them to work and to a friends gathering and we got all good feedback with look and taste.
Do we stop while we are ahead or keep going with our Perfect.The.Macaron Challenge? Keep reading and you’ll surely find out!