Experiments with French Macarons

Last Friday, I was invited to my first ladies cooking night with a few of my coworkers. Maura {who you may remember took these photos} and I signed up for the ambitious task of baking French Macarons. I’ve been wanting to tackle these fickle cookies for a while now, and let me tell you — they live up to their reputation!

After sorting through a dozen or so recipes, Maura and I decided to follow this one from Yum Sugar. We thought it was the most reliable, based purely on the fact that it was adapted from I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita. Our plan was to make lemon macarons in a bunch of different colors with a buttercream filling and a red velvet macaron, adapted from this recipe.

We followed Yum Sugar’s instructions very carefully, but somehow we thought the macaron batter should have been thicker than this:

We were right:

So, we trashed the rest of our colorful batters and went back to the recipe that Margaret {our gracious hostess} had originally sent us, but we thought looked suspiciously easy:

It turns out the Yum Sugar recipe made us do two things we shouldn’t have: add the dry ingredients to the meringue {it should be the other way around}, and “punch” the batter. This is what their recipe says: “When the almond mixture is just incorporated, you will need to transform the batter into the appropriate texture. Using the flat of the spatula, “punch” down into the center of the batter, then scrape more batter from the sides to the center, and punch again. You will need to repeat this 10-15 times…” It says the batter should be the consistency of molten lava, but it was closer to that consistency before we beat the living daylights out of it.

The Lovely Lady Cakes recipe turned out much better for us, but still not quite perfect. I really, really wanted red velvet macarons, but we already had red cookies {the tra la las I brought}, so we settled on blue velvet, which ended up being army green velvet.

They were definitely overcooked {they pretty much exploded in your mouth from being too crispy}, but look at how much closer they are to the real thing! I was very excited. I will be trying them again. Maura, on the other hand, will probably be okay if she never sees another French Macaron in her life. I’m sorry I failed you, Maura. I will make it up to you somehow!

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