If at first you don’t succeed … my wife said that the last batch of macaron were like the brownies at the edge of the pan, and indeed they were delicious – chocolatey and chewy – but they weren’t macarons. As my Greek teacher used to say, “Δεν είναι λάθος, αλλά … δεν είναι ελληνικά” (“It’s not wrong … but it’s not Greek”), so I’m going to try another recipe. This one comes from www.howtocookthat.net. Let’s see what happens.
As it happens, these chocolate orange macarons don’t have any chocolate in the shells, just in the ganache (which is probably for the best, since I now don’t have to worry about how the cocoa affects the batter). Apart from the variables of quantities and the inclusion or omission of cream of tartar, the whole assembly process is pretty much second nature by now, so I go into auto-pilot mode and start assembling the ingredients. I add some of the orange rind to the batter when I mix in the dry ingredients, and that adds to the flavor tremendously.
That said, there are some problems with the recipe. The video says that it takes about 50 strokes to mix the batter to the right consistency, but by 30, it’s flowing very smoothly. I stop and pipe the batter onto the sheets, set the timer for 20 minutes, and put one sheet into the oven …
… and they come out as crisp as ginger snaps. Granted, I don’t have an oven thermometer, but 20 minutes, like 50 strokes, is clearly too much.
Batch #2 comes out of the oven after 15 minutes. A little too crisp on top, but still better. I turn the oven down to 140° C and turn off the fan for the third batch. At the 15-minute mark, they were still a little underdone, so I put them back for 5 minutes, and … voilà!
The next challenge comes when I begin assembly. The ganache has set too firmly – it has the consistency of library paste. Fortunately, the recipe had produced only a third of the amount I would have needed had all the shells come out perfectly, so I had reason to make a new batch of ganache using a recipe from allrecipes.com, with a splash of orange extract that made it taste like Cointreau. Unfortunately, when I cooled this version and poured it into the piping bag, it ran out all over the macarons, the counter, and my iPad. Perhaps it was because I used milk chocolate instead of dark … at any rate, however, I put it into a bowl, threw in some more chocolate, remelted it all, and came out with a proper ganache which I spread on the last set of shells.
The last step is to put them into the fridge, since that seems to improve the texture. The next day, I take one out, bite into it and … it’s close, but not quite right. Once again, the decision goes to the meringue, but I’m circling in.