Last week, I finally tried my hand at French Macarons. I’ve been scared of them since practically forever, but figured a mark of a good baker is being able to execute these little beauties, so I gave them a try. Twice. I did some reading beforehand, just to make myself comfortable with the process and different tips and techniques, so once I got going I’d have the best shot of executing accurately. I decided to start with a basic chocolate macaron recipe from David Lebovitz. He had also done some research and tried various macarons recipes, and stated that after trying several different recipes, he’s developed this particular one and promised it would work out well. I figured if he’d done the research and ti worked for him, well, must work for everyone!
One thing I should have paid attention to is that his recipe notably omitted the resting time most recipes call for, after the macarons have been piped and before they go into the oven. He said with his recipe, you didn’t need to let them rest, so once I had the batter prepared, into the oven they went, and within minutes I knew they weren’t right.
To back up a bit, the batter came out beautifully. It was thick and glossy, and also piped easily into perfect little circles. Looking back,the only thing I didn’t do right with my first batch was let them sit and dry out before baking them – I wish I had tried one pan that way, so at least I could have compared the end results. Unfortunately, none of the first batch of cookies grew the characteristic foot… instead some of them imploded or some of them were just flat and dense.
Feeling a bit discouraged, but more so motivated to get them right, I tried a second recipe right away, this time using a recipe from Tartlette for violet macarons, but I substituted vanilla bean for the violet. The batter came out very much the same as the first batch, except this time I let the macarons sit uncovered at room temperature for about 35-40 minutes before baking them, and also baked them at the recommended temperature of 280 degrees F (as opposed to 325 degrees F for the first batch. Again within minutes I knew the fate of these macarons, except this time I was ecstatic – they came out perfectly! They puffed up beautifully, and grew wonderful little feet. I felt like a proud momma, I managed to execute something I thought was so difficult with relative ease! After they finished baking and had cooled, I filled them with some leftover strawberry buttercream and salted caramel sauce. They were heavenly. I later on made a ganache filling (not pictured) which was my favorite combo of all – with both the chocolate macarons and the vanilla bean macarons.
After processing the whole macaron making experience, I was surprised to find that macarons really aren’t that difficult to make. Sure, they may be a bit finicky, but if you pay close attention to the batter – making sure not to over mix it, and give them the proper time to air dry before baking, they seem almost foolproof, and that’s an exciting discovery. After my first attempt, I found the instructions on Tartlette to be the most comprehensive and helpful. Her macarons come out perfectly every time, and it seems she always uses the same basic method to achieve that perfection. I already can’t wait to try these again, and plan on doing something with lots of fun, fruity flavor. Excited to add another pretty little baked package to my baking repertoire!
Have you ever tried making French Macarons before?