Thursday, December 13, 2007

Macaron Attempt 1 - Disaster

I think I might be writing quite a few more disaster attempts at the macaron before I get a successful one. I always thought a macaroon was that coconut biscuit thing. The first I heard and tasted the "diva" macaron (one o please people) was when Duncan from Syrup and Tang brought some to the Blogger's Banquet. They were delicious, and when he said that he might post the recipe, there was a buzz in the Melbourne food blogosphere. Everyone was interested in learning how to make them, and we pestered poor Duncan via his blog commnets to give us the recipe sooner. Vida was the most vocal about getting the recipe early. I just jumped on her cue and also requested that Duncan post the recipe early than his outlined date. But being the perfectionist that he is, he held firm and would not give us the recipe any earlier until he tested it all properly.

Firstly, he teased us all with a great introduction about the macaron and explained all its glory. Again I pleaded for the recipe. So before Duncan posted his actual blog post with the recipe and detailed instructions, he emailed me a sneak peek of the recipe so I could try. And try the recipe I did, the very next day.

This first recipe is the supposedly "easier" version but also the unreliable version. Results could vary greatly without knowing why. So here is the results of my first attempt ever at making a macaron.

If you refer to any of Duncan's post of how a macaron should look, mine is the ugly sister of those Cinderellas. I was thinking it would be easy. I mean what could go wrong. Four basic ingredients, one piping bag and one oven. Well, it was all going great until I started piping it. Since the mixture looked too runny, I added more almond meal. It was then rather thick and hard to pipe. Then I bake it and its looking all nice and white in colour. A minute later and its slightly burnt.

I was so disappointed at the start and really upset. I had too much anticipation and was let down big time. I emailed Duncan my result and he said not to worry, that he has made many failed batches before getting it right. Also, the next recipe to come is more reliable. That made me feel better and I'm ready to attempt the macaron again.

After seeing Duncan's final post with photos, I know that I have over beaten the batter, as Duncan suggested to me in a reply email. Next time I will be more careful and gentle with mixing the almond meal and icing sugar to the egg whites.

I ate quite a few of the biscuits when they were hot and they weren't nice at all. However, after leaving them for a few days now, they've become more crumbly and the flavours have really come throuhg. My sister said that they were a really nice "biscuit". She is spot on. They do taste really nice just as a biscuit. I haven't bothered to sandwich them with any filling since I was so disappointed. But they taste really nice as is. So I'm thinking if I make them properly, they'll taste even better, especially with a filling.

So now I wait for the next recipe and hopefully those will turn out better. My idea to give them out as Christmas presents is still intact. Time is running low though so hopefully Duncan will post the next recipe soon.
*** Hint hint Duncan if you're reading this ;-) ***


  1. Hi Thanh. Sometimes a wish comes true... see here. That's a nice write-up of your first experience too... I'm sure it'll help people:)

  2. I don't have the patient and methodical nature in the kitchen to try making macarons... I know because I had an "I hate piping" tantrum on our blog just a month or so ago. :-D

    I admire your courage and perseverance, Thanh! I'm sure your trial runs are tasting good, even if they haven't achieved physical perfection yet.

  3. Duncan, woohoo. I'm going to read it all now and attempt it on the weekend. I'll let you know how I go. Hopefully my failures will help others.

    Cindy, I remember reading about your zuchinni piping incident I believe. I too hate piping. Anything I've ever done with piping gets me so frustrated. The mess it creates and not being able to get it as nice as in the instructions.

    But I'm determined to get these macarons right. Even if its just one batch of perfection and nine batches of failure.

  4. Hi Thanh. Don't go in expecting failure! :) Just turn off the fan and try the non-convection temperature I recommended -- do a small batch (say just three shells) to test that you the temp is right for your oven and then adjust up or down as necessary if they aren't quite right. The longer, cooler cooking will cause fewer tears (but might have air pockets inside... though no-one needs to know about them;))

  5. Don't give up Thanh. I have every confidence that you'll get 'em right. Don't let an itt-bitty little bicky get the better of you!

    I was going to attempt a batch this weekend, but I think, with the weather, it might end up being a bit too humid.

  6. Duncan, thanks for the tip. I will try the oven with fan off. If longer cooling will cause fewer tears, I might try that first. Then if that goes well, attempt faster cooking for less air bubbles.

    Anna, I'm not giving up yet. I will try to do some this Sunday if I have time. Otherwise I will make some on Monday and let everyone know how I went.

  7. Well I hope this weekend's project went well (if you had time)... I forgot to comment about piping: It is entirely possible to do spoons of mixture instead of piping (hear that Cindy?), but will often be a little less regular in shape. They should still dome nicely though. Just leave them to sit for a few minutes after spooning onto the paper, so that the mixture settles properly.

  8. Maybe you can do this if you stop blogging halfway through preparing this simple dish.

  9. Duncan, still haven't had a chance to try the second method. I am definitely going to use spoons instead of piping. Really dislike piping stuff.

    Anonymous, if it is so simple, you should make some for me.

  10. Sigh, it's amazing how hateful people can be for no reason. I hope you've blocked Anonymous from ever being so rude again Thanh! Happy spooning of mixture:) Try to keep the spoon over the centre of the macaron and if you need to 'top up' one, just drop a little bit more mixture gently over the centre. As long as you don't delay, it should absorb by itself for the most part.

  11. Duncan, it's ok, Anonymous is my silly friend who is always writing ridiculous comments about me. If you go through some of the older posts, you will see his comments all over the place, mostly teasing me for being fat or lazy. We laugh heaps about it.

    Secondly, I used the spoons to do the macaron mixtures and they still turned out good. I need to get the amount more even so they are the same size, but otherwise they are very good. Here is my second successful attempt at a macaron. Thanks for all your help and encouragement.