The macaroon is a delicate mistress. She is the princess of baked treats: high maintenance, hard to please, demanding, but oh so beautiful. I am of course talking about French macaroons; the English macaroon has tainted herself with coconut. I have yet to perfect a macaroon but today I will attempt to whip up a batch. Armed with sugar thermometer, food processor and electric whisk I will not let her defeat me. I shall master her. And a light, chewy, sugary feast will be my reward (and the reward of those who happen to work in the same office as me!).
So, before I start, here is what I am aiming for, something along these lines:
Off I go!
So I made a start with the following toolkit (plus more that I realised I needed as I went along) :
I used a recipe that was new to me, from a book dedicated to baking macaroons, and I was feeling hopeful and excited to use a sugar thermometer. However, I discovered that I needed 200g of ground almonds, and I only had 150g. Plus, once I’d mixed the ground almonds and icing sugar together, the resulting mixture wouldn’t go through the sieve. It all started to seem like a terrible disaster when it looked like this:
Nevertheless, I kept going, fearlessly pressing on. In fact, I broke the biggest rule of macaroon making: I overwhisked. Once I’d combined the eggy syrupy mousse to the almond ‘paste’ I couldn’t get the lumps out. So I had to beat the stubborn things with the electric whisk. It was bold, it was daring, it was quite possibly very stupid. But we’ll see. At present the little delights look like this:
They are ‘drying’ before I put them in the oven. Of course, there was another disaster, in that I could only fined two baking trays so approximately half the mix is still sitting in the kitchen in a sandwich bag, longing to be piped. In an hour or so I can intrepidly open the oven to discover their fate…
I realised that it’s over a week later now and I still hadn’t put up the picture of the finished result! Well… they were a failure, but not a spectacular one. They were definitely edible (although I filled half of them with lemon marmalade, which I wouldn’t recommend!) but I was too embarrassed to take them into work, so we had cakeless Friday.
Anyway, here is the end result. But I shall not give up! (maybe…)