French macarons – how can such a tiny cookie deliver such massive defeat?! I winced on the inside every time I shelled out euros/francs/pounds on these things in Europe, but now I completely understand why they cost an arm and a leg. They look so harmless and beautiful on the outside… but secretly, conquering macarons requires fearless valor and resilience against the endless sources of failure behind every batch. Anything and everything can go wrong when making them, from the weather, to your oven being a degree off, to not counting backwards while standing on one foot when beating the egg whites. Okay not really the last one, but you get the idea.
The first time my friend and I tried to make macarons, we tried the Italian method and completely, utterly failed. I was scarred and didn’t go anywhere near almond flour for years. Literally. Recently, however, another one of my friends launched a macaron business (@yysmacarons) and I convinced her to hold my hand through the process as a spring break project for me. And? …the first batch didn’t have feet! Fail. (They still tasted fine, just looked like whoopie pies instead of macarons) Refusing to settle for whoopie pies, we switched to blanched almond flour instead of unblanched and apparently that did the trick. Or maybe it was the prayers I said while they were in the oven, but I nearly cried tears of joy when they emerged with 1) feet, 2) no hollows, 3) beautiful coloring, and 4) the texture of the silpat on the bottoms.
To be honest, I’m unlikely to ever make these again on my own because the sheer defeat of having wasted time and ingredients would be miserable to face alone. I hate baking failures, but for macarons especially, having someone there for moral support when you (inevitably) fail is absolutely necessary. #dramatic #butreally
I’m obsessed with the coloring in this photo because it reminds me of a robin’s egg – just in time for Easter! The lighter color shells with the flecks of Oreo really invokes the cookies & creme ice cream look, which I love. How great would these be if they were filled with cookies & creme ice cream instead of buttercream?! If you’re interested in this particular flavor, I’ll just direct you to the source because there are about a zillion guides and videos out there for troubleshooting macarons and more complete instructions than I could give you. I used this recipe by Liv for Cake.
My final verdict is that for the ridiculous amount of arbitrary things that can go wrong with these finnicky cookies and the how time-consuming the process is, it’s not worth it. (gasp!) There. I said it. Yes, they are so pretty with limitless flavor combinations and a pleasant chewy texture… but these days, I bake more to enjoy what I make than for the the photographic appeal. #uglybakedgoodsmatter I couldn’t be more satisfied with finally being able to say I’ve successfully made macarons, though! Have you ever tried your hand at French macarons? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!
P.S. My intention with this post is definitely not to be discouraging – after all, success has never been so so sweet! I’d just rather buy perfect macarons if I have a craving than spend $15 on ingredients for something I could make a thousand times and still go wrong. Call me lazy. 🙂