Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How (Not) to Make Macarons

The Cronut might be next black, but I still prefer the good old macrons. But, I do have to confess, that even dough I haven't tried a cronut yet (it was first introduced, like a week after I left New York City) I do have the perfect words for this culinary masterpiece: It's like my two favourite desserts got married and made a baby! Sadly I didn't make up those words, I heard them in one of the series I'm watching (N.C.I.S. Los Angeles, and it was said by Deeks to Kensi, when she brought him one).
Sadly I don't know the recipe for cronuts, and I read somewhere, that the chef that invented them sued a bakery in Los Angeles that made the same pastry for using the name cronut; But I do have a recipe for macrons and a story of how I made them.

For all of you, that don't know what a macron is, it's a French dessert made from egg whites, powdered sugar, almond powder and topped off with a different flavoured toppings. Macrons are also Blair's (for all of stone-age people, that don't know who this is Blair is one of the main characters in TV series Gossip Girl) favourite deserts. The most famous company that is considered to make the absolute best macrons.
The first time I had the pleasure of trying a macron was at a family gathering in Switzerland. Some of my relatives lives there and we celebrated my cousins birth. Her godfather is super rich, and he bought a "macron cake" in Paris and had it delivered with a train to Bern, where the celebration was held. It was the first time I even saw a macron, I had no idea how they taste or what are they made of. But I fell in love with the first bite. Learning how to do them seemed like the only option, considering that I'm not as rich as cousins godfather. So I did.
As all electronic age kids, I sat down in front of the computer and googled it. I found bunch of recipes and YouTube videos that showed how to do them. And the impulsive person I am, I decided to start right away. Without thinking or checking if I have all the ingredients, I just went right ahead.
The first thing I figured out was I didn't have any sugar. And you can't make macrons without sugar. So I went to the store and bought sugar. Naturally I bought the normal one (not powdered), and since I didn't feel like going to the store again, I decided to use the sugar I bought.
The next problem were almonds. I bought almonds with their peel (is this a correct word? I had to googled it and now I didnn't know how to use it...) still on. So I had to skin them. This is a long and dreadful procedure, that I never want to repeat. First I had to put almonds in a pot filled with hot water, waited for a few minutes and than almost burned my fingers, trying to peel the peel off (still confused over the word peel, hope you got what I wanted to say). After more than half an hour I finished and was getting ready to blend them, only to find out that my blender is broken. At this point I was losing the interest of making macrons and almost gave up. But I didn't. I used an old blender, that didn't do the job properly, which only added to the list of what did wrong. When the paste for the macron was finally done, I just wanted to sit down and eat some chocolate. But I had to make those perfect round shells, before I could do what I wanted. It turned out , it was easier said than done.I believe I made exactly one beautiful round macron. All the others looked like, hmm how should I put this, a five-year-old played darts with a balloons filled with macron paste. But the tip of the iceberg was, that the macrons didn't have "the foot". That is the crusty thingy that makes them so special. This was the first time I made them. It wasn't that they weren't good or eatable, they just didn't look right.
This depressed me so much I didn't want to repeat the horrible process I went trough the first time. It took me almost a year to try again. I tried a different recipe, but I still wasn't able to do them right. So I repeated the process the next year. And they still looked horrible. I did them 6 moths ago, and they still didn't have "the foot". But a month ago I finally, did it!
For a change I bought almond powder, instead of blending them myself. It turned out it was the right thing to do. And I used powdered sugar as well.
I must tell you that I used more than 40 eggs and 2 kg of sugar, before I made my first perfect macron. So don't fell bad if your macrons aren't perfect the first time around. You'll get it eventually.

Here's how my macrons looked like, and the last picture is a macron from Laudree. I think they look almost the same. What about you?

Sugary goodbye,
Lucy Jane 

I can't believe it, but I almost forgot to add the recipe. And then I figured out I lost it somewhere in that giant pile of my stuff on my work table where I save all those stuff. So in a day (probably two or three, considering the size of that pile) I will make a post with THE recipe for the best home-made macrons in town!

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