Macaron 101

I’ve been on a bit of a baking kick lately. Over the holidays, my cousin gifted me with some delicious eggnog macarons and convinced me that if she could make them, I could too. For my first batch, Marissa came over and together we made lavender macarons with Earl Grey buttercream filling. Our cookies were a tiny bit browned on the bottoms but the tops were surprisingly smooth and unblemished. For my second attempt, I made orange spice macarons with Nutella filling — with mixed results. Half the batch (the cookies left to dry out an extra 30 minutes) looked perfect and the other half was cracked and sticky. But the flavor was great! After only two batches, I’m hardly an expert, but here are a few things I learned:

  1. The reason bakeries can get away with charging so much money for a single macaron is because these babies take a long time to make. I’d recommend setting aside a full afternoon (3-4 hours).
  2. Practice makes perfect.
  3. I don’t really like buttercream. I don’t know what bakeries do differently, but when I make it, it tastes distinctly like butter (of which I’m not a fan).
  4. Invest in some nice teas and food gels. These two elements really make macarons look and taste better.
  5. Sifting almond flour is a huge pain. I used a regular flour sifter and it took me forever. Next time, I’ll try a fine mesh sieve and see if that’s any quicker while still turning out the desired texture.

To give these a try yourself, I highly recommend this video. Next on my list, a rose variation!

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I also recently made these brownies with salted caramel rum sauce. It’s funny, even though I almost always bake from scratch, I usually rely on boxed mixes to make brownies. I don’t know why?! These weren’t hard to make. Of course, I didn’t have enough rum for the brownies and the sauce, so I only added it to the sauce. I’d probably skip it altogether next time. For the salt topping, you must use Maldon — it’s the best!

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