So. Last night, i was up ’til about 10.30pm engaged in a full on war. A war which the macarons declared against me. Honest – they started it. Well, I started them and then they started the battle. Then I won the war. Or something like that!
Basically, I went to my “irresistable macarons” book and managed to pick the most difficult recipe! Well… I wanted salted caramel – it’s something I’ve been wanting to make ever since I worked in a chocolate shop for a while and used to hanker after the edible gold-topped salted caramel chocolates. So first I had to make my own caramel, which was easy with my handy candy thermometer which has arrows at the right temperature for caramel, jam, etc.
However my problems started here. Firstly, I had carefully made sure all the ingredients were in the cupboards (living in the countryside!), looked at the recipe which I had planned for days and what were the first words? “The day before, prepare the caramel…” The day before?! But once you’re reading the recipe, it’s obviously not the day before any more!
The next thing was possibly due to tiredness from all of this creativeness, but I added the creme fraiche much before I was supposed to. However, I had only added a bit, so just to be safe I tipped away the sugar-water solution and started again (since there was enough creme fraiche, just about).
So I put the caramel in the fridge, and set about making the macarons. And didn’t have enough sugar, because I had used twice as much as planned in the caramel part. Oops! Had to go to the store for icing sugar.
So with all my ingredients ready I finally started the macarons. This recipe uses the Italian meringue version – i.e. boiling water & sugar and whisk it into egg whites – then you fold this into an almond paste you have made with your other ingredients. Except what did I do? Didn’t have a pan the right size, and the thermometer was ever so slightly suspended above the boiling sugar and so was reading the wrong temperature. So when the recipe says “Do not exceed 110 degrees” and then I tip up the pot, and the temperature soars……
I just immediately tip it into the egg whites anyway. No other choice by this point. However, it was looking a good consistency and I finished the recipe, left them to dry for 1 hour, watched the Great British Bake Off, and then put them in the oven.
And you know what, after all that? I didn’t cook them for long enough. Argh!! They would have turned out as planned, but the recipe said “cook for 13 minutes” which I thought was rather exact, so didn’t question it too much. 13 minutes. Tuh. They stuck to the paper. And weren’t too cooked in the middle.
But as a matter of fact, once filled with caramel, they looked and tasted delicious. I mean really really delicious – my dad said they were the best things he’d ever tasted, and my whole family have been delightedly nibbling at them all day over cups of tea. So it can’t have gone that wrong, can it?