I have yet to try these sweet treats mostly because I've always been afraid that it would be too complicated for a humble home baker like myself. Reading all the comments people had about making macarons at home didn't help much either. I've always hated been a failure and so whenever possible I try to avoid things which I think have a failure possibility.
I thought what the heck I'll just do it for fun (I can be a perfectionist sometimes and take what I do very seriously). I had 20 minutes before the final episode of Ugly Betty season 2 starts. I though I'd get it into the oven before that.
I had printed a few recipes over the past couple of weeks but I knew exactly which one I was going to try. I sprung off the couch to retrieve David Lebovitz recipe for chocolate macarons from my recipe collection. I chose his because it didn't seem too complicated and also because he tried and tested his recipe so many times. To my dismay I couldn't find my book and then I remembered that I had left it at my sister-in-law's place 2 weekends ago (I baked up a storm that weekend). Then it struck me I'll just get it over the internet. I hate reading from screens when I'm baking and prefer to have a hard copy but I really wanted to make these so I went ahead. I looked at the time...and oh my gosh....it was now 5 minutes before Ugly Betty started.
No time to get the spice grinder which was stored too far out of reach (see I don't have a food processor and I needed it to grind the almonds) so I reached for the hand blender. I knew that it wasn't going to do a very good job of grinding the almonds but I thought what the heck I'm doing this for fun. You will notice the little almond specks on the surface of my macarons.
So I ground the almonds, measured the icing sugar and cocoa, seperated the eggs and then I noticed the tv auto tuning to Ugly Betty - I wasn't about to miss the final episode of a show I so love. I left everything as is and then went into the lounge to watch the final (sob sob) episode (sob sob) of Ugly Betty. This show always gets me in stitches which is sought of therapeutic for me especially on stressful days. My boyfriend doesn't get it and just shakes his head everytime I crack up laughing.
During the first ad break I sifted the ground almonds, cocoa and icing sugar together in a bowl.
During the second ad break I started to whip the eggs but I had just enough time to add the sugar before whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks.
During the third ad break I continued to whip the egg whites and then I thought to hell with that I'm going to watch Ugly Betty in peace so I left everything standing until the credits went up.
I went back into the kitchen - with a heavy heart - to finish my macarons. I whipped the egg whites again cause I wasn't really satisfied with them. Folding in the dry ingredients got me nervous cause I read on David's blog that one wrong fold or one fold too many and then it's all over.
I folded in the dry ingredients carefully, quickly piped little mounds on my baking tray (as you can see by looking at my macarons) which I covered with greaseproof paper and popped them into the oven. I didn't leave them to stand because it was getting late.
I went back to the oven 13 minutes later to take a peek, and what do you know, I saw "feet". I would have sung "I believe I can fly" right there and then but it was late and people were about to sleep so I just gave a quiet shrill, closed the oven door and did a little happy dance. The "feet" on my macarons weren't as well developed as the one's I've seen on the macarons from the great pastry chefs (can Pierre Herme please stand up), but for a first time I would say that I got off on the right foot (no pun intended).
Pierre Hermé's Macaron Chocolat
Some of my dear friends might be wondering what "feet" are and why I was so excited to see them. The "feet" are the "lacy" edges you see around the base of macarons. The reason I was so excited was that I've read so many times of how people couldn't get it right the first time.