Friday, April 22, 2016

Kett Files: Results of the Macaron Massacre of 2016

I am a member of the Rising Tide Society, and each month, all across the nation, members get together to collaborate and support each other. I truly love the Community over Competition movement. I know not everyone does, but that's okay. We all don't have to like peanut butter either, although I don't know why you wouldn't! ;) 

But I digress. 

At this past month's meeting (the very first one I've been able to attend!) there was a mini styled shoot with the most delicious looking macarons ever by Sift Bakehouse. I was staying away from sweet treats that week and kept to my resolve not to eat them. And then I wished I had. They looked amazing. 

Even Foxy the Donkey wanted a taste! 

The more I looked at my pictures from the get together, the more I wished I'd tried one. And then I got a crazy idea. Why not try to make them?! I could do that! This coming from the girl who thought I could make a honeycomb cake and instead ended up with this: 
Yeah...I've totally got this. Pshhh. 

I read posts with tips. I watched videos. I got tips from Katie at Sift House. I was ready to rock out. 

I let my egg whites sit out, as per instructions in this post. I beat them into stiff peaks. This was going to be awesome. And the I realized I'd forgotten to pick up a kitchen scale, as suggested by the same post. Shoot. So, I found a conversion chart and tried to get everything as close as I could without weighing it. Did you know measuring out 1 and .834 cups of powdered sugar is hard?! It is. But I was still confident. 

I read in this post that over mixing and undermixing could be macaron killers. So when it came time to fold the macaron butter together I very carefully counted my strokes. 

I piped the macaron butter onto the nifty silicone macaron sheet I got at Michael's (50% off coupon! Woo!!), because the article said that silicone gave the best results.

They sat out to harden for the right amount of time, went in the oven, and I just knew it was going to work.

It didn't. They had spread rather than risen. Phooey. 

So the next tray I let them sit out and "harden" longer. Still the exact same results. And now I was out of macaron butter and time. I had to call it a day. 

Later that evening I got a Snapchat from Emilee with her GORGEOUS macarons! She'd figured it out and gotten beautiful results! High five to Emilee! No macaron massacre there. I can't wait for you to see hers!!!

She said she'd used Martha Stewarts recipe, followed it to a T, and didn't have any problems. 

I still had almond flour left, so I decided that the next day I'd try out the Martha Stewart recipe too. 

And it worked! 

At least the first pan did. The second pan I think would have worked had I not been holding a baby, fending off a two year old, and trying to turn the pan mid cooking. I think I spun the pan a little hard and bumped it, sending the fragile rising cookies toppling over to the side. 

The third pan I thought, "Hey, I want bigger cookies like Sift House had!" So I piped larger circles. That was a mistake. Apparently that batter couldn't support a larger cookie head. The cookie rose, got to heavy, and slid off the side, releasing extra batter out to spread beneath it. 

So out of my 5 turned out goodish. Oh well. One's not bad! I don't think they are quite right, but they were the closest I got before I ran out of powdered sugar to try more. 
 Top left (the golden brown one): 1st and 2nd pans. Top right: The pan that worked. Bottom right: The pan where I piped too big of cookies. Bottom left: The pan that got spun a little hard. 

So, once I had the cookies made it was time to fill them. After the first two pans I made the filling and it sat in the fridge hoping that it'd have something to go on. Guess the flavor!!
That's Prickly Pear Buttercream! I looked at a few fruit buttercream recipes and then just kinda made up my own. I took our prickly pear juice and boiled it down to try and get as much flavor and color into 1/4 cup of juice as possible. From there I added 1/4 c. butter, 2 c. powdered sugar, 1 tsp of lemon juice, and mixed! The Prickly Pear flavor isn't quite as strong as I'd like, but it's good. I think next time I'll boil the juice down even more.

The one pan of cookies that worked were small, bite sized little cookies. I want to try again and see if I can figure out how to get larger cookies that don't ooze and travel on the pan.

So there's my Macaron adventure! And, if you're wondering...I am spelling it right! I called these macaroons at first and then I saw that Sift House called them macarons, so I went to look it up. Macarons and Macaroons are totally different! Read about that here

Have any of you made macarons? What's your favorite recipe or filling?! 

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