The Little Lady’s 6th birthday party is about 5 days away; let’s ignore the fact that she is going to be 6 (because I’ll cry, y’all … I really will) and let’s talk Macarons.
Those delicate, fussy little French pastries that I decided I just. had. to. have. at my daughter’s Tea Party Birthday.
I think it was the rainbow of colors and the dainty aura surrounding these popular treats that made me decide the Little Lady’s Tea Party wouldn’t be complete without a pastel tower of them on the table.
Never mind that they are hard to find (it’s a 2 hour drive to the nearest Macaron shop), I was going to order every flavor and shade under the sun. The sky was the limit!!!!
Until I saw the price-tag. $2 a cookie.
Ummm…. y’all. I’m cheap. Frugal. A Scrooge. No way could I tell my husband I was going to order nearly seventy dollars worth of baked sugar and eggs. No way.
So, I did what any obsessed Mama would do … I decided I was going to make them myself. With my own non-baker hands in my own humid, Texas kitchen.
Oh, did I mention that Macarons are finicky? Unable to handle humidity? Prone to every kind of failure if you breathe on them wrong, mix them by one stroke too many, or mis-measure an ingredient by a single gram?
Yeah. One of the hardest pastries to conquer and I was going to take them on.
Looking back, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
The Great Macaron Battle, Round One
It all started so simply. I spent hours in research, pinning recipes, tutorials, and YouTube videos on proper “macronage.” I purchased a food scale and a stately newbox of parchment paper.
One by one, I carefully separated egg whites from their yolks and measured just — just — the right amount.
Looking back, I think cracking egg shells was the only thing I did correctly during the whole adventure.
When I reached the point of creating “macronage” (the batter made from folding together the whipped egg whites and almond flour mixture), I took a deep, deep breath and carefully watched for that magical moment when my shiny batter would transform into a “lava-like consistency.”
Just one problem: I haven’t lived through a volcano eruption.
I mean, SERIOUSLY!!!!!! Just what is lava supposed to look like? Feel like? I didn’t know and because of that crucial lack of information ….
I over-mixed my macronage.
I realized it before I had ever piped a single macaron onto my parchment paper. My macronage was runny. Drippy. Lacking any kind of body or viscosity.
But, I forged ahead, hoping that some miracle would happen in the oven.
I wrestled with my pastry bag, trying to get the batter into that flimsy bag without making a mess.
I fought with the thin macronage, which just wanted to ooze out the end of my pastry bag AND explode out the top of the same bag. My hands were covered in sticky egg white batter, but I kept on … trying to squeeze little circles onto the parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
And then I placed them in the oven, holding my breath and praying I would win the battle. Hoping for a perfect, shiny, unblemished domed top and frilled “feet” on the bottom of the pastry — the hallmarks of a perfectly executed macaron.
Many Cracked Tops.
And only the whispered dreams of honorable Macaron Feet within these guys.
They were weary soldiers back from the front lines whose wounds spoke volumes: I had lost la Bataille de Macaron.
But, I have not surrendered. Monday morning, I start anew. ‘Cause, by golly, Mama is gonna have her some pretty cookies.
Oh, yeah … it’s ON, Macarons!!!!!!!