For those that read my previous post, this is a continuation of the desserts that were made in support of the Pink Ribbon Girl's Night Out hosted by Little Organics. I decided to make these macarons at the last minute and given my success rate at making macarons is about half-half, there was a good chance that there would be no macarons on the night!
I've recently been going through some of my old blog posts and it's been interesting (sometimes a bit embarrassing) to see how far I've progressed in terms of my baking! I say embarrassing because I see now that a lot of my macarons were actually riddled with flaws! I think my salted caramel popcorn macarons were the only relatively decent batch haha! But I guess that was the point of this blog, to document the ups and downs as I go along!
So although I'm still yet to perfect macarons, I can safely say that I'm getting there. I'm not entirely happy with this batch because you can see the tops aren't completely smooth. That's as a result of my experimenting with Pierre Herme's method. When adding the egg whites to the almond mixture, there is a reason behind Herme's instructions not to combine the two together. It's because the mixture turns into a pretty solid paste and when it comes to folding the italian meringue through, the paste will not evenly combine leaving you with occasional lumps of almond mixture (and makes piping a real b*tch)! Lesson number 2 I learnt is that it is so incredibly important to tap the piped shells before letting them rest. And when I say tap, I mean seriously knock the living daylights out of the shells by furiously banging the baking tray on the kitchen benchtop (and living in an apartment, I'm sure the noise reverberated downstairs - oops)! This helps ensure that the shells aren't hollow. I'm yet to perfect this because my shells still do come out hollow, although no where near as much as previously.
Lesson number 3 - nipples on shells. This is as a result of undermixing. I'm getting more of an understanding of how far I can push the "macaronage" (because you don't want to over mix either). Apparently, you know you've got the macaronage right when the mixture is like magma. Seriously, who's ever seen magma? I think what they mean to say is that if you can create a ribbon with the mixture which disappears say within 15 seconds. And of course, even if you get all the steps perfectly correct, none of it matters if you don't understand your oven and baking times, proving how temperamental these little buggers really are.
Given my success rate, I was very relieved that I ended up with a successful batch that I could serve on the night! If you ever see me in the kitchen when macarons are baking, you'll see me crouched down in front of the oven nervously staring, waiting and hoping. Little girl has taken to crouching down with me so as least I have company now! And YAY, I had a mountain of macarons that could be served! I paired the macarons with my go to vanilla buttercream frosting. I did have some left over frosting that I used for the cupcakes, but as I had dyed that pink, I wanted to create a contrast in colours so whipped up a new batch and left the colour of the buttercream alone.
Now in terms of taste - despite using exactly the same ingredients as I always do, these macarons tasted so much better than my previous batches! When I bit into one, the difference in taste was notable but then I thought that it was just me, so it's funny when C who has tasted all my previous batches of macarons said exactly the same thing! And of course, the biggest compliment of all is that these macarons were all consumed on the night! YAY!!! *happy dance*