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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Macaron Madnessssss

Okay guys, so I don't know what triggered this rampage; perhaps it was me looking at the pictures from week 1 in class with the raspberry macaron, but I haven't been able to get my mind off of macarons. I've been told that that's the spell they put on people, I'm a sucker, I guess. I had to do something about it. The raspberry ones were not made by me, but by my chef instructor who decided to take over the macarons as there was no oven space for 4 trays of macarons. I've attempted to make them in another class before, at least 3 times, attempted being the key word. They not only turned out horrible looking, but horrible tasting. I couldn't believe that all the hype over French macarons led to...that. A woman in my class at the time, told me not to base my opinion on macarons using the ones we made, due to the recipe not being a very good one, but to try a place in LA called Bottega Louie. I go to Long Beach often to see Flo, so I wrote it down thinking I'd give it a shot, but the spark never ignited.

After having one of Chef Annie's raspberry ones, I was impressed. I was impressed that I even gave them a 4th chance. I actually liked them, I guess it's always like that when someone else makes them (especially when that someone else is a trained professional.) I delicately ate one and moved on. It took two weeks, but that little French gift from God somehow entered my mind, and I haven't been able to get it out.

I began looking through pinterest the other day using the keyword "macaron" just to look at the endless flavor combos and beautiful bold and pastel colors they come in. I oohed and awed, but didn't consider making any because of my previous luck I've had with them. I looked and looked and looked. I looked for a few hours, tried to distract myself, looked for a few more hours, tried to sleep, woke up, went to Winco and bought almond flour. The deed was done, and now I HAD to do it.

I don't know what made me buy that almond flour, but I'm glad I did. FOR REAL.

I came home and made a batch of chocolate macaron's filled with a salted dark chocolate ganache.

I did a bit of research before hand, on tips for making macarons, and I believe it helped along with the tips I learned in school, but I think the key to them rests in 3 important steps:

1. get the almond flour as fine as possible. I threw mine in a blender, food processer, anything I could find to get it almost like powder. I'm not sure why I think this helps, but I do in fact, think it helps.

2. after piping the macarons, let them sit. forget about them if you can, and let them dry out before you put them in that oven. the outer shell has to get dry so the feet can develop in the oven.

3. use a convection oven. This goes for anything delicate, ovens have hot spots and uneven spots, no matter the make and model. Convection seems to be the only thing to get the heat evenly dispersed.

I watched anxiously throughout the process of my chocolate macarons, and I was actually pleasantly surprised with them, even after each step. the only thing is that I have to get the piping down right so there isn't a little lip  on the shell, other than that, it was great.

Another tip that I not only read about, but experienced first-hand is to wait to eat them. They will taste great freshly filled, don't get me wrong, but waiting to eat them until the next day is the best thing you can do for your taste buds. I, or my family, didn't have the patience to wait for 24 hours, so by day 2, there were 5 left, which I ate, which leads me to this opinion. They were so much better after aging. The wait is worth it.

They were so damn good, that I had to make more.

I came home from school today, and noticed Emma wasn't yelling, "Mommy's home!". I remembered that my mom and aunt had promised to take her to Chuck E. Cheese this afternoon, so, I sat there. I made something to eat and sat there some more. I got really bored, and then those sneaky macaron's crept into my mind again, and my body followed.

I had to make more.

I tried to think of a different flavor, a fruity one. I stepped outside to get inspired, and I saw our lemon tree being weighed down with ginormous vibrant lemons.


again, more success. that's all I can say really; that and: I THINK I'VE GOT THE MACARON BUG.

I look forward to making more.
and more.
and more.

Here's some pictures from my two days of macaron madness!


Emma helping me make the salted chocolate ganache

Finished Salted Chocolate Macarons

Finished Salted Chocolate Macarons

Station ready for the lemon macarons

Lemon Macaron shells


Inside of the lovely lemon macarons

Finished lemon macarons