Sunday, 1 July 2012

The Quest for The Perfect Macaron

So, whilst I have been hiding from the law on my blogging sabbatical, I have developed some new interests. One of them includes trying to lose weight whilst avoiding the gym as much as possible (I'm waiting on a knee op and going to the gym when you can't go on any of the machines is frustrating as hell). 

The rest seem to centre around making 'homely' things - baking, knitting etc. I'm loathe to say 'crafting' but that's probably what it is. I should really have a loyalty card for Hobby Craft. My mum prefers the term 'nesting' but she is definitely barking up the wrong tree!

Every couple of years, my colleagues and I run a 'bake off' competition, during which I usually submit a half-hearted sponge cake. This year however, there are a good few of us who are keen bakers and I can feel the competition heating up. Each competitor must enter 2 categories and one of the ones I'm in is 'Biscuits & Cookies'. In a bid to do something a little different and as a challenge to myself, I have finally undertaken to master the perfect macaron (not to be confused to with coconut macaroons).

my first successful batch (after about 9 failed attempts)

As I had absolutely no idea where to start with this recipe, I started reading blogs a couple of weeks ago and gradually realised what I was letting myself in for. The words 'impossible', 'tempermental' and 'will drive you insane' featured heavily but I was not prepared to let it put me off. How hard can they be?!

To be honest, after the first 2 or 3 failed batches, I was ready to throw in the towel. But after discovering Not So Humble Pie, I began with renewed energy. I picked up an oven thermometer, sieved my almonds properly and took the time to bake them properly; slowly but surely the last 3 days have seen my macarons improve a lot.

At the moment, I am less concerned with flavours & fillings and only concerned with trying to practise my shell making skills. I'm probably developing an unhealthy obsession with them and have had the worst indigestion over the last few day from all the sampling, but I think once I have these mastered, it will be a life-long skill!

'Resting' Macarons


Macaron cross-section





I would LOVE to hear your experiences making these and if you have any tips or favourite flavours!