It's certainly true that there are lots of horror stories out there about macarons and how difficult they are. It's also true that I enjoy a good "nerd pun." So when I happened upon the Brave Tart's blog, and her post on Macaron Myths stated "Um, guys? We’re talking about a cookie here, not the Heisenberg uncertainty principle," I knew I'd found my sensei. I used her recipe, and really had some fun. In fact, maybe this weekend I'll try her blood-orange version....
Then I got a wee bit overconfident for a beginner.
My next batch I made with hazelnuts and cocoa. Which was probably the issue - cocoa tends to alter batter texture and make it seize just a bit.
Because I sifted.
I checked batter consistency.
Then mixed a bit more. When I THOUGHT I was ready, I piped.
I banged them on the counter. I baked, rotating the trays halfway through.
And this happened.
Stella, (The Brave Tart herself) is a delight and a wonderful resource. She lets you post pictures to her Facebook page for troubleshooting. Her judgment was that I had a streak of unincorporated meringue in my batter that caused the cracking.
Know what? I took the rest of the buttercream from the vanilla batch, threw in 1/2 c. of Nutella... and they were still delicious, cracks and all.
Undeterred, I went on to make another batch. These are again made with pumpkin seeds. I added some lemon zest, lemon juice, and yellow food color to the batter, and filled them with lemon curd.
Still slightly undermixed - little peaky tops - but still delicious.
Why did I share the failed batch? Because you learn more from the failures, and you might learn a bit from mine. I know now what undermixed batter looks like. It crossed my mind to deliberately overmix the lemon batter, but in the end I couldn't quite bring myself to do it. I suspect that I will eventually do it anyway - and then I'll know what overmixed batter looks like. I suspect that if I can do 8-10 batches of macarons within a 6-8 week period (so I don't forget what things look like) I'll have a lock on the macaron. And at least I'll succeed more often. Maybe there's a new goal.
So, what have I learned? I need to make more macarons! Because they taste fabulous no matter what they look like.
Special thanks to Stella at The Brave Tart and the wonderful folks who put on the First on the First Blog hop for giving me the tools I needed and the little "push" necessary to join in the Macaron Madness.