October 27, 2009

My French Macaroon Debacle! Daring Baker Challenge: October, 2009




I guess the first question you want to ask is "Macaroon" or "Macaron"? This particular macaroon is that bit of confectionery consisting of two almond meringue cookies sandwiching a creamy filling. That very same French confectionery, in every colour and flavour imaginable, which is has so many food blogs obsessing over it.
The choice of whether to call it a macaron (which most people insist is the right name) or a macaroon (which to me is a soft sweet coconut cookie) is yours, as both trace their origins to the Italian word "maccharone" which means fine dough! Since our hostess this month calls them macaroons, that's what the macaron is in this post.

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.




Don't you think that these macarons look reasonably good? I think so too, but these macarons were not made for the Daring Baker challenge!
I made them last month as part of a challenge some of us food bloggers(many of whom happen to be DBs) set for ourselves.
For the record, these macarons happen to be my one and only successful attempt out of the many successful macaron failures I have endured so far!!



My Macaroon/ Macaron Experience:


I approached this month's challenge with quite a bit of nervousness, as I had this vague feeling that this was to be my make-or-break challenge.
Break it definitely was, because that's what happened to my first lot of macarons.

I was actually wearing a very stupid grin on my face when I saw my macaron batter puff up in the oven and develop something like "feet". That grin lasted till I took them out, allowed them to cool and tried to peel them off the paper. The top part of the macarons came away in my hands, broken, while the bottoms stuck fast to the paper.

I was prepared for disaster so I had mentally prepared myself to do them a second time. This time, my macarons were consistently a failure and different from the first ones only in that they had no "feet".

By now, all I could think was that I had nothing to show for my challenge this month, so I decided to try one last time using the David Lebovitz macaron recipe which worked for me last time.



I set out to make cardamom pistachio macarons, but ended up with cardamom pistachio almond meringue cookies without the trademark macaron "feet". Now, I at least had something to take a picture of. Actually, they were quite tasty too.
I can also console myself that I did make macaroons/ macarons as my "cookies" look quite like these which was how the original macaroons looked!



Verdict:


My cardamom pistachio macarons (I shall call them macarons, because the original French macarons did not have the "feet/ ruffles" that is a requirement for present day macarons) were quite nice. I was just mentally (and physically) so tired of trying to make macarons, I didn't bother to fill mine with anything.
My family is also fed up of my macaron trials and tribulations! At the end of the day, we do find them a bit too sweet for our taste. I wish there was a way of reducing the sugar in these cookies.

So would I make them again?
At the point that I am writing this post, my first inclination is to say never. I have , however, learnt that "never" is too strong a word. So by the time this post is published (I'll be away on a break and I have set this post to autopublish), I think I might say that I would probably like to make another batch of successful macarons some day!

Do not let my bad experience with macarons put you off making them, if never have before. Let the beautiful creations of my fellow Daring Bakers encourage you to make some too.



31 comments:

Engineer Baker said...

Oh wow, pistachio and cardamom sounds fantastic! I'd say try again - methinks this recipe was a dud :/

Karen @ Citrus and Candy said...

Ahh macarons or macaroons the infernal question! Personally it'll always be macarons!

Love your flavours!

Asha @ FSK said...

Hey Aparna, yours mirrors my experience :) fortunately, my lucky number coincided with the DB challenge :))

You know I found it way too sweet too (sweeter than the store ones). So I reduced the amount of sugar and it worked fine (don't know yet if that was a fluke). But gonna test it again (when I am no longer disbarred from making it, hub very very very sick of my trials)... will let you know

Jo said...

Even if you call this a debacle, I still say there are great. What a delish combination of flavours!

Wic said...

I too had a problem with this challenge and understand yours. Will I make them again? I don`t know but maybe sounds better then never.
love your post.

MeetaK said...

i think many issues play a role here and i hope that this really does not put you off macarons. but kudos for trying it twice, especially in your hectic schedule!

Dharm said...

Sorry it didnt turn out the way you wanted Aparna but as long as they tasted fine... thats a success in my books!

sweetakery said...

pistachio and cardamom sounds amazing!...and the same happenes with me so i call them moody macarons cause one day they are quite good to me and the next flop!...but we do try! good job on that!.. =)

Audax said...

They tasted fine which is the important thing and I love your DARING spirit. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

The Cooking Ninja said...

I still love your macaroons. The reason u hv no feet must be the humidity and ingredients are too wet. Perhaps the next time when u try it, u might want to dry your ingredients on a pan under low heat first. It might work.

SE(Denufood) said...

hey..I am first time here...came through EC's blog...nice space here..and good to know abt you..

MandyM said...

I'm sorry it didn't work for you! Don't give up though, practice makes perfect, and all that :)
Your flavour combo sounds fantastic.

6p01053695af5a970b said...

Pistachio sounds great but I totally understand tiring of taste testing...I threw away my failed attempts even though they tasted great!

jayasri said...

hi aparna, Your macaron was too good !!, they were perfect, mine was a quite a flop, got so upset didn't try any filling at all, give me some tips on how to bake good ones please

Lauren said...

Sorry it didn't go as planned, but I think they all look gorgeous =D.

Cham said...

Quiet a challenge this month, Love ur spirit that u tried one more time !

singinghorse said...

Aparna, your macarons look stunning. They are really not easy to make though. With feet or no feet, it's not easy to get the texture right. You were brave to have tried so hard. Kudos!

Yasmeen said...

I still like them without the feet.I love your with pistachios kind.wondering if u used the same brand ingredients,the sugar and flour ,as in the first successful attempt?

UFRV said...

Hi! I hear your pain, I tried three times as well and none of the batches came close to what a macaron is supposed to look like. I've never tasted them either, so the "contraption" that came out of the oven tastes ok to me, probably the texture is completely off... Anyway, I think that in a couple of months I might try again... once this pain is forgoten ;-)

Good luck for the next challenge!

Julia @ Mélanger said...

I struggled with this macaron recipe, too. I actually did tweak a few things because from my experience it didn't seem too accurate and was a little vague in parts - e.g. 5 egg whites (what weight?). Overall though, I managed some decent macarons. Though found them more fragile.

Macaron or macaroon? Same same. One is just the French spelling, the other is the English spelling. Many places spell them French Macaroons because it's written in English. Funny though how we get hung up on words!

Jill said...

I think they look great! And I really like your flavor combination--so creative! I know how tempermental these can be--my first batch this time around was a disaster. :)

steph- whisk/spoon said...

why do they have to be so tricky, right? well at least you know you can do it, b/c you did it once before! and i'm sure you little pistachio meringues tasted good anyway!

Olive said...

..and thought I was the only one.. mine didn't have feet too, luckily I was able to take'em off of the parchment paper but they look awful. BTW, I like the flavor that you made, cardamom -pistachio sounds yummy! :)

Viki's Kitchen said...

Macaroon looks lovely. Cute pictures.

Lisa said...

Aparna, feet or no feet, your pistachio 'macaron/macaroons' look and sound lovely and delicious. Everyone around me got fed up with my mac making too..such a mess...sheet pans all over with drying blob..open containers of aging egg whites all over the place..food color galore..lol

Elra said...

Your macarons look pretty and delicious. It was a fun challenge, wasn't it?

Namratha said...

I wanted to try cardamom too, but changed my mind in the end. Nice pics!

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Cakelaw said...

Hi Aparna, I think your macarons look good, despite no feet - I am sure that they were delicious!

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

I'm so sorry these didn't work for you!! Maybe you can try again, with Dee's new blog challenge?

Aparna said...

Thank you so much for your support and remarks here. Hopefully I shall tame the macaon dragon one of these days! :)

My apologies for not being able to come around. I shall for the next challenge.