FEET! FEET! They've got FEET!! I burst into the quiet, little room reserved for yoga, meditation and nothing louder than the all encompassing Ohmmmmmmmm. My screams pierced the silence, almost knocking K over from his Sirshasan (head stand). THEY HAVE FEET!!!
Once right-side-up, he reluctantly climbed the stairs and followed me to the kitchen. We peered through the oven window, and in that moment of silence I felt a foot-feetish come to fruition.
If you have been following me long enough to remember these, then my reaction to this success should come as no surprise. Although I tried to make the best of my first attempt, I was terribly disappointed. I followed the steps to the letter and failed.
The experience reminded me of my first Orchid plant. K gifted me beautiful Phalaenopsis in the early days of our relationship - a gift leading to a long-lasting obsession with orchids. They were so stunning, I did not want them to meet the same end as most plants left in my care. Instead of simply enjoying the plant, its beauty and the meaning behind the gift, I focused solely on keeping them alive - how much water, when to water, temperature, lighting, nutrients. They died within ten days. I learned my lesson and have had great success with orchids since. I basically just let them be, and they thrive.
In my second attempt at macarons, I decided to take the same approach. I didn't over-think, didn't age the eggs, didn't let the macarons rest, I made my own almond flour and didn't over-sift, didn't open the oven door after five minutes. I'd become so overwhelmed by the many conflicting advice/tips that exist on the web the first time around, I decided to bypass them this try. Two things I did that I felt may have contributed to the outcome - I became fully acquainted with my oven and I invested in an oven thermometer. No-brainers for some, but light bulb moments for me.
I have a gas oven, but only just learned about its convection feature, and finally put it to use. I baked three batches and there was not a single crack. Oh, and I baked them all at once, another no-no, apparently.
I may have just gotten lucky, but I don't believe in luck. I'd like to say it's all skill, but that would be a lie. I am told these little wonders are hit-and-miss. Perhaps the universe felt I deserved this one after such a horrible first attempt. Yeah, I'll go with that!
If you have not yet tried a Macaron, I urge you to. They are widely available, heck, you can even find them at McDonald's McCafés in France. Worried about your waistline? Macarons are gluten-free (almond flour) and consist of two other ingredients, egg whites and sugar. Healthy, right?
I used the recipe from my previous attempt, but coloured them purple (5 drops of Americolor Regal Purple). They turned out a beautiful, soft, vintage purple. The baked shells turned out lighter than the batter, something to keep in mind if you are trying to achieve a specific colour. Once they were completely cooled, I dry-dusted the shells with edible luster dust in Violet. This didn't change the shell colour, but provided a satiny sheen that photographs nicely. I whipped up some Lavender Rose Buttercream to create the centers of this delicate cookies. Some of them were treated with a little Ultra Violet bling from the India Tree line of sparkling sugars. They come in the most striking colours and are all natural.
I have been trying out my new Nikon Macro lens, an early birthday gift from K. I shot the photos for this and my last post using the macro lens - explains all the close-ups. I have always been interested in photography, but only tackled food as a subject when I started blogging. I see improvement - even had a few shots accepted on foodgawker, still, I have a great deal to learn and improve. I'll explore this topic in greater depth in a future post.
I would love to hear from you, leave a comment below and feel free to share the sweets!
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