Sunday, November 21, 2010

ugh, macaron FAIL.

that's what i get for becoming so smug and complacent about my macaron making skillz.

i'd made a fresh batch of lemon curd the other night, put it in the fridge to chill and set, and found the next day that i must not have cooked it quite long enough.  it wasn't exactly the right texture - not gooey, but definitely not jelly-like as the first successful batch had been.  it still tasted really good though, and so i decided it would make a lovely buttercream filling for some macarons.

i'm hosting book club today, so it was perfect timing.  i'm always happy to have people to share my baked goodies with.  and after perusing my list of bookmarked recipes for the little french goodies, i decided that i'd take a tip from dots and make strawberry lemonade macarons!  mmmm.

at whole foods, i'd found these bags of freeze-dried strawberries.  i figured i could pulverize them in my food processor and make a sort of flour out of them to add to my macaron mix.



i gave 'em a whirl and strained the powder through a little sieve to make sure there were no big chunks.


and for some unknown reason, i had a bug up my butt to do the italian meringue version of the macaron shells.  you know, the "almost foolproof recipe."  heh.  i also had some peanut butter cream cheese buttercream filling left over from my last round of macarons, and decided to cut the resulting batter in half to make two different flavors.  ambitious, yes?  oh, yes indeed.  oy vey.  and how.

i whipped up the egg whites and put the syrup on the stove to boil, then slowly poured the superhot sugary liquid into the bowl to combine with the whites.  about ten minutes later, it was cooled down sufficiently.




i mixed the rest of the egg whites with the almond meal/powdered sugar mixture, poured it into the bowl with the meringue, and folded as carefully as i could.


splitting the batter in half, i dumped about a tablespoon of cocoa powder into one bowl and added the strawberry flour and some extra red powdered food coloring to the other.  i scraped both batters into pastry bags, piped 'em out, and busted out some edible glitter to make 'em purty.  oh, i'm fancy, huh?




i piped out the strawberry shells first, but then, that "almost" part of the recipe kicked in.  first, i noticed that the batter was thick - the peaks as i finished each shell didn't disappear as they usually do.  i'm thinking that i added too much extra dry stuff (the strawberries and food coloring).  and as they baked, they freaking exploded.  were there feet?  suuuure.  but they blew up and this is what i ended up with:



ugly, ugly, ugly!  pointed tops like hershey's kisses.  feet that exploded out on one side and nonexistent on the other.  the cutest part of these damn things is the sparkly red glitter on top.  i was so frustrated, i wanted to cry.  i had some that were marginally okay, and so i'm going to fill and serve them anyway despite my misgivings.  because when i decided to sample one, the texture was still quite lovely.  crispy on the outside, but deliciously chewy inside.  and i think the lemon curd buttercream will taste really delicious in them.  they just won't be pretty.  damn.

my theory seemed to prove correct as i piped the chocolate shells out, to which i'd only added a bit of cocoa powder.  the batter was definitely thinner, and the peaks disappeared as soon as they appeared during piping.  and they baked up quite nicely.



at least half of my offerings will be attractive.  bah!

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