So we made eggnog ice cream on Christmas. Heavenly.
Problem was the recipe used SEVEN egg yolks, which left SEVEN egg whites in need of worthy purpose.
CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING: MAKE FRENCH MACARONS!!
But was I really solving a problem, or just creating a new one? Time would tell.
Macarons are, supposedly, notoriously difficult to pull off properly. I knew nothing about it when I sat down to research it. I didn’t even pronounce it properly (It is macarOHN, not to be confused with macarOON, which is an entirely different cookie altogether). All I knew is that bakeries get away with charging a boatload for these little suckers and I wanted to see if they were really worth the hype and expense.
I read through a bunch of recipes before choosing this one. This recipe, in addition to having a handy video, gave me the weights of the ingredients. I needed these for two reasons: first, less room for error, and second, I had no other way to measure my egg whites which were already separated and all together in a big bowl.
Here are the lessons after the first try:
1) Recipes differ greatly. Tread with care. The recipe I chose did not call for letting the cookies rest before going in the oven. I still got a good texture (with “feet,” or at least on most of them), but I could see how they might have been a little nicer if I had let them form a crust. I also saw other recipes that included cream of tartar. Because my recipe came out a little too sweet for my taste, and I wonder if the little bit of acid in the tartar might help balance the flavors. I’m not sure if this is how it works, so this time I countered the sweetness by creating a cream cheese filling to give it a tart element, which was AWESOME.
2) Baking pans differ greatly. Tread with care. I used two different cookie sheets for the experiment. They went in almost at the same time, but one took way, way longer to finish. I don’t know what this is about. Next time I will use the same type of cookie sheet. I also read somewhere that it might be a good idea to double up trays for a more even baking, so I will try this too.
3) The color differs greatly the longer you leave them in the oven. Tread with care. This is related to the last lesson. Because one of the trays didn’t finish on time, I was forced to watch my intended baby blue coloring fade to a teal in the extended heat. This wasn’t a big problem, but if I were trying to sell these, it would look weird to have two shades of the same color.
Last thing: know that if you don’t have a sieve, as I didn’t, they will not turn out perfectly smooth. Other than that, I got the desired texture, that lovely, light almond flavor, and the glory of success.
Now pay me $3 each, suckahs!