Homemade macarons: At least we tried?

Noa Braun, Author

Sitting at home on a Saturday night, what better thing to do than to begin the tumultuous process of making homemade macarons. People warned me that it would be a difficult journey, but I never could have envisioned that it would turn out as horribly as it did.

It seemed simple: Make the batter, put the macarons in the oven, wait a bit and then finish them off with the filling.

And so it began.

Choosing a recipe from the myriad of options to be found under the Google search “how to make macarons” was likely the most hopeful step that we, my friend Emma Abed and I, completed during this undertaking. It was a clear choice — go with Martha Stewart’s; she knows how to bake and stuff.

Now this is where things get trickier; the recipe called for the standard: flour, egg whites, confectioner’s sugar and the not so standard “finely ground sliced, blanched almonds.” So after a quick run to Molly Stones, it was time to boogie.

Following the recipe, we mixed ingredients together adding in the occasional pinch of salt or two cups of sugar. It was all quite simple and, honestly, didn’t seem like the ordeal that everyone made it out to be, that is, until things started going horribly awry.

But before we get to that part of the story, we need to backtrack to formation of the macarons. After completing the creation of the batter, we divided it into four different bowls, each of which would be used to create a different type of flavor: coffee, chocolate, lemon and the illustrious rose-flavored macaron.

Placing the different batters in pastry bags, we used that fun swirling technique to create a batch of perfectly shaped macarons, except for one or two outliers that were shaped like the ellipses they have us draw during the conics unit in math.

Now came the ultimate test – would the macarons survive the wrath of the 350-degree oven?

The quick response to that question is no, no they would not. Disappointing, eh? I thought so too, but there is much to tell before we get there.

So into the oven they went, looking like the perfectly delicate cookies they were meant to become. While waiting for the macarons to finish their 15-minute-long cycles in the oven, and paranoidly checking up on them every five minutes, we began working on the filling – another seemingly simple step in the macaron-making process.

Four sticks of butter later we came out with the most disgustingly cottage-cheese-resembling filling I had ever seen. If you hadn’t already guessed, this is where things began going downhill.

In perfectly timed intervals, we removed the macarons from the oven and allowed for them to cool down so we could attempt to assemble the macarons into the final products — clearly we were not about to let the frosting fiasco abase our spirits.

The assembling of the macarons was the clear nadir of the whole experience, though it did provide for quite a bit of laughing due to the sheer failure we were confronting.

In high hopes, we attempted to lift one of the cookies off of the baking sheet, yet, to our dismay, found that not only did the macaron immediately break in half, but also it was entirely undercooked and the wrong texture.

Baking sheet upon baking sheet we came to the same realization, and at the end of the day, the only thought left in our heads was, “At least we tried?”

Needless to say, the best of the batch turned out to be the ones that we decided not to put in the oven.