I've been curious about macarons for a while now. I had never tried one, but everyone is taking pictures of them, because they are beautiful and come in fun colors. I never got farther than the cupcake fad (which I don't bake so much as I eat) and I'm sure by the time I post this I'll be behind the times again, perhaps flan, or did I miss that one too?
So why hadn't I tried a macaron? Well, I live outside of Seattle, and honestly haven't seen them anywhere in person. I did learn recently that Simply Sweet Cupcakes, located in Snohomish and Lake Stevens, has macarons, but I haven't had the pleasure yet. There was only one decision I could make. I needed to commit to experiment with making my own.
Now, much like I think movie critics should have a disclaimer when reviewing a horror movie when they dislike the genre, I need to disclose that I don't really like baking. I like throwing things together, and I'm not a patient or an exact cook. I found a really simple macaron recipe on Pinterest, bought the ingredients, and then procrastinated for two weeks before my 8-year-old guilted me one day into baking with her. We started by taking turns sifting the almond flour with the powdered sugar in the sifter pictured below, because I do not own a nice flour sifter. We sifted twice, which took 20 minutes. This is why I don't like baking.
Then we mixed the egg whites, cream of tartar, and extra fine sugar. I was pretty sure the meringue went awry when it turned glossy and I lost the stiff peaks my egg and cream of tartar mixture had before adding the sugar, but am now not certain. Suggestions are welcome. I did read that I should have added the sugar slowly, which the recipe did not mention. It also didn't mention slamming the tray down after piping the cookies, so this is what my cookies looked like before...
and after. We added yellow food coloring to the batter for some colorful fun.
While the cookies baked we made blue buttercream frosting and added lemon juice for flavor. The whole family agreed that the buttercream frosting was way too buttery. I'm open to recommendations there, and definitely willing to try a jam-like filling next time, or your Nana's buttercream recipe (our mixer flung butter and powder sugar everywhere).
As you can see from the finished project, I definitely need to try some tray slamming next time, but I will say that they tasted like little clouds of sugar, butter, and lemon. I am truly amazed at how much sugar goes into making a macaron, and am equally amazed at the experimenting that would have had to gone into creating the original macaron. Simple ingredients have been turned into something sophisticated and aesthetically pleasing. I thought about waiting until I had perfected the recipe to share, but I think that may be a whole 'nother post.
I'm a not-for-profit worker that loves food, both healthy and indulgent. I've eaten the 12 egg omelette at Beth's Cafe: toast, hash browns, and all. Take that Adam Richman!