(Note: Yes I’ve been absent for a few months, as culinary school and work consumed all of my time…I’m talking about 15-17 hour days! But now I’m on summer break from school, so I suddenly have my life back, albeit for a brief 2 months. I will try to take advantage of this time and update this blog more!)
Recently I was given a box of chocolate macaron mix from France. The fact that in France boxed macaron mix is available only increases my fondness for the country. I have a dream that someday American grocery aisles will be home to such conveniences as boxed macaron mix, alongside our quick bread and cake mixes.
As macarons are one of my most beloved baked goods (that are gluten-free, THANK HEAVENS!!), I was excited to try it out. With my limited knowledge of the French language, I deciphered the instructions to the best of my ability, and set out to make macarons for the first time.
Inside the box were two packets. One containing the mix for the macaron cookies (almond flour, coco powder, sugar, etc) and one containing chocolate and sugar for the ganache center. All I needed to bring to the table were egg whites and milk. Easy enough…
So according to the box, I first brought 10 cl of milk to a boil (that was a fun metric to American measurements conversion…the answer in oz I have already forgot!). I used skim milk because that is what my mom buys. I think whole milk or half and half would’ve probably resulted in a richer, more pleasing ganache, but skim milk worked well enough.
Once the milk came to a boil I mixed in the contents of the ganache packet (chocolate and sugar) and stirred it until the chocolate melted. Then I covered it with Saran and let it chill in the fridge.
Next I whipped up 60 g of egg whites, which I had no trouble measuring out thanks to my kitchen scale. I not for that instrument, I would’ve struggled with what 60 g of egg whites translated to (turned out to be the white from slightly under 2 eggs).
After whipping the whites to stiff peaks, I folded in the macaron mix until completely incorporated.
Then things started to go wrong. I made a makeshift pastry bag with a Ziploc sandwich bag (as I had seen demoed on the company website) and loaded it with the macaron mix. As I began portion out my macarons onto my Silpat mat/tray, I saw they were not all holding their shapes. Some began bleeding into others turning into Siamese twins.
Oh well! I thought, that’s ok, I’ll just go with it. I have seen other people’s attempts at making macarons from scratch, and this seems like a very common imperfection. So I baked them off and this was the result:
And then I again suffered another setback…maybe I should’ve greased the Silpat mat, because a good majority of my macarons refused to come off of it without a fight. I was under the impression using a Silpat mat would negate the need for greasing, but I suppose not.
After sorting the through the carnage, I was able to salvage a few cookies that were in good enough shape to make into complete macarons (the broken pieces, of which there were many, I put into a bag for later snacking).
I took the few beautiful ones and assembled them into this:
All in all the experience of my first macaron making attempt was fun and I enjoyed eating the result, even if it wasn’t perfect!