Monday, 26 March 2012

A Tasty Fail at Attempt #2.

 I flipped on the television tonight and Top Chef Canada was on. I caught it mid-way through. Coincidentally, one chef had chosen to do a pink macaron. The main judge, a big-shot chef, seemed nothing short of dazzled. The other judges asked him "are they difficult to make?", to which he responded "the failure rate is very high." The brave contestant mastered it (jerk) and won the whole challenge for the episode because he "exhibited great technique and skill."

I tell you this because it made me feel better about this past Friday's failure at attempt #2. Rather than foolishly diving in head first as i did on attempt #1, this time around i carefully planned and did all the necessary preparations before i even sifted the almond flour. The piping size guide made up (if the little darlings are different sizes, they'll bake differently thereby causing more problems); the ingredients all weighed on the digital scale and sifted, aged egg white delicately separated and beaten for 15 minutes (i understand now why a stand mixer is recommended), and finally, the stage i had not reached before: Macaronnage. It is the ever important, very precise, super finicky and surprisingly physical act of J-folding the dry and wet ingredients together. Do it too long, fail. Don't do it long enough: fail.
 Well I'm pleased to report that i successfully made it through the macaronage stage; my batter looked like it had a pretty good viscosity. But the bliss was short lived and defeat came during the 3 stage baking process. My macarons developed their feet (the textured ring around the bottom that forms as moisture in the macaron turns to steam and rises) but slid over, creating the "baseball cap" effect. This is caused by uneven oven heat and happened despite the stacked up pans that they baked on and  regardless of the frequent rotation of these stacked pans. Must mean i need a new oven (this is going to get expensive). This wasn't the only technical problem either. There were air pockets inside the shells because i didn't slam the sheets hard enough before baking to remove the air. Also, the larger batch got way too brown, which means that the oven temperature was too high in one of the baking stages.
Despite all the flaws the little darlings had, they were still awfully cute and just as importantly, they were super delicious as well. Progress was made. And in case anyone is wondering, i didn't eat the whole batch alone. Friends and family got to delight in their tasty imperfection as well. My final thought on attempt #2 is that they did taste good enough that i could have eaten the whole works alone and that's a far cry from a hand full of crumbled egg whites I ended up with on my first try.


  1. Nice work! You going to make more and bring them to town this weekend?