Adventures into the “Unknown”: Baking Macarons

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So I’m going to put a huge disclaimer on this recipe and post right away: I am not an amazing baker. If you’re looking for the perfect macaron recipe that has been tested many times, you’ve found the wrong place. However, if you’re like me in that baking is a bit of a lesser known world- one where you do have to read directions several times and pause throughout the process- you might appreciate this post.

I should also note that this recipe is 100% not mine. I’m definitely not at a point to make adjustments or “fancify” things. My goal here was to eventually achieve a macaron I could actually bake for others. I started my first batch with low expectations, particularly on the aesthetics. But I think this is a lesson in itself- part of why I’ve been hesitant to bake is that I worry it won’t be as good as it could be, and that I’ll have wasted my time. At some point, you just have to try, right? This is how I originally viewed cooking ANYTHING! I was tied down to the recipe, not understanding all of the intricacies or the “whys” but instead a huge rule follower. It took many years for me to spot trends, make my own adjustments, and “freestyle” if you will.

As I often tell my students, the process is more important that the product! While I don’t necessarily encourage that for all recipes, I’m embracing that idea here. And of course, documentation is helpful in learning from past mistakes and improving this recipe (or more like my ability to follow it) over time. I found that this post from Tasty was incredibly helpful, particularly their video. If you feel like joining me in making macarons for the first time, DEFINITELY watch this video. It’s helpful to watch before you start the recipe and gives great visuals.

Here are a couple of my own notes/tips:

  • Making the meringue definitely took the longest time. I timed myself and while I initially had the mixer on too low of a speed and periodically checked to see if it was done, this took me about 10 minutes of mixing. I think it’s safe to say it’s easier to undermix than overmix. Be patient!

  • No piping bag? Well you probably aren’t going to have the prettiest macarons in the world (see above). I just cut a corner off of a ziploc bag and used that as a piping bag. Messy? Yes, slightly. Will you have perfectly shaped cookies? No. However, if you’re just making these for yourself and aren’t too picky, it’s doable.

    I’d give these a 7.5 to 8/10 for taste, particularly on the first day. They seemed to quickly deteriorate after a day or so, particularly the ones that I had frosted. While they definitely were not the prettiest, I ate most of them… so I guess that says something, right?

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