What a beautiful day to stay inside and bake! I am so lucky to have some free time to experiment with complex desserts and practice some new skills in my cozy kitchen. So I made macarons! Espresso macarons with chocolate ganache filling, to be exact. Such a good plan!
The end product is imperfect (just like my first photo) and super delicious! I usually take the first opportunity to analyze what I did wrong so that I can improve it next time, but I’m going to take a moment to celebrate the awesomeness of the finished product first. I mean they are crispy on the outside, perfectly chewy on the inside. The sweet cookie-ness of them is beautifully complemented by the forward coffee flavor and rich chocolatey ganache between the two. If your mouth is watering too and you want to try your hand, give this recipe a try! The post includes step-by-step notes on how to create successful macaron cookies so if you’re trying this for the first time, it’s a great place to begin. My taste buds want me to eat like six of them in a row, but my the rest of my body won’t appreciate that later so I’ll take it slow.
This is the third time I’ve tried my hand at macarons so I think I still have some beginner’s luck going on. Plus I did learn a lot from the first two attempts. This particular recipe gets extra points because the cookies earned a lot of happy comments from my husband multiple times throughout the evening. I love the way that baking allows me to enjoy the process then bring joy to others with the finished thing! Is it too weird to just go to a park and hand out cookies to strangers? Yep. Yep I should not do that.
Anyway, I spent a ton of time in the kitchen today making these cookies, homemade salsa, and that classic comfort meal- pot roast and mashed potatoes. Man has my kitchen smelled good all day. I really enjoy these times, few and far between, with no errands or appointments when I can stay home and create things joyfully with my cozy cat, Norbert, napping in the corner (or occasionally racing around the apartment like a complete maniac.)
Speaking of which, there are a couple of macarons that never got to see the light of day thanks to Norbert. No sooner had the skin formed perfectly on the uncooked macarons before he decided that was a great time to explore what was going on on the counter. In slow motion, I watched him jump…straight into one of the pans of macarons. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. About 3 seconds and several pawprints later, the remaining untainted macarons were on their way to the oven and I was laughing at Norbert as he processed getting more than he bargained for on his little expedition. He crawled, purring, into my lap later, and I’m pretty sure he knows he can get away with anything when he does that.
Last thoughts on the cookies- how can I grow and improve my macaron game? I’m so practical at heart, compelled to find the mistakes so that I can fix them in the future. It’s a weakness and a strength all wrapped together, but aren’t a lot of things? Overall, the results were delightful. I don’t need to change a thing about the taste, though I might experiment with omitting the granulated sugar next time for a slightly less sweet cookie, just for my personal preference. (The internet seems to agree that you can lessen or omit granulated sugar in macarons in the egg white beating stage, but you shouldn’t mess with the powdered sugar to almond flour ratio.) The texture was great when biting into the cookie with that glossy, crispy outer shell, the gooey inside and feet. The only super noticeable issue was that the feet spread out too much. From what I can tell, this was from poorly regulated oven temperature, a little too hot for the first few batches. This is my first time making macarons in this oven though so that will just take a bit of trial and error.
I adore baking, but making sugary things all the time and keeping them in the house is not a great option. Macarons are an excellent opportunity to really dive into baking and develop a specialized skill. Plus I’m not tempted to turn out multiple desserts every week when I’ve got an ongoing project I’m perfecting. Thanks for joining me vicariously in this little endeavor. Give yourself a few moments to create with joy whenever you can!