“They have feet!” I tweeted excitedly, after peeking at the rounds of macaron batter in the oven. And it all went downhill from there.
I would love to say that the cute little macaron at the top of this post is now sitting patiently in my pantry, waiting to be picked up and shared with a host of friends. But it sadly isn’t so. That picture is from my first macaron attempt last November, an exercise so highly anticipated and intense, I had to find something else to do to channel my energy, like vacuuming, while the batter was in the oven making its way to divine, Parisian perfection. I followed this French recipe to the T, and with the cute shiny orbs emerging from the oven, I felt rather chuffed! “Now, that wasn’t so difficult!” I thought, “I’ve mastered macarons!”
Well, there’s nothing like speaking too early about success with one of the most temperamental and unpredictable French pastries on the planet. Armed with the memory of that achievement proudly tucked in my back pocket, I revisited the recipe today, confident that I was on familiar territory. Little did I realize that my beginner’s luck was slowly but surely vanishing with each step – sieving the ground almonds and confectioners’ sugar (twice, as Kuidaore advises), making the syrup, whipping the egg whites, adding the matcha powder and incorporating everything into one thick batter. I thought the batter was a tad sticky and heavy at some point, but forged on, confident in the words behind my last success. I piped out the rounds, left them to develop a skin, then placed them in the oven, where they grew their feet and started aging into wrinkled green tea prunes, like this:
Like the after effects of a nuclear explosion, cracks and wrinkles started to appear on each shell, turning them into tectonic plates of sticky, clumpy meringue. I have never felt more cheated by a bunch of ingredients than this combination of egg whites, almonds and sugar.
It is disappointing that the last post of a month-long dessert marathon is about a failed macaron attempt (and there are enough posts about this subject to make a book), but it marks the beginning of my quest to make the perfect macaron. I read a quote recently that said that you need to be somewhat obsessed with your subject to be a good blogger, and for food bloggers, I’d like to term it the Macaron Effect. Because one day, one day, I will produce tray after tray of these perfect Parisian cookies, each replete with their aura of French aloofness and Coco Chanel-chic, enough to bury this day deep in the pages of macaron-making history.