Attempt no. 36: le chocolat au macaron

(From last Friday:) I’m trying to cut back on sugar and cholesterol, but I’m bored today, so I’m making macarons: after all, I don’t have to eat them all. I can just make them, sample just one for the final report, and then give the rest away on Monday.

Just eat one and give the rest away. No problem.

E-cookbooks are a bad idea.

E-cookbooks are a bad idea.

Today’s attempt comes from Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home by Kathryn Gordon and Anne E. McBride. I’ve used this book in the past without success, but given my track record, I doubt that will make any difference. Les Petits Macarons is a good book with lots of wonderful recipes, but I made the mistake of buying it for my Kindle; and when you have to keep waking up and unlocking your iPad to figure out what to do next, and then you can’t just flip to the right page, it becomes a problem.

The recipe for chocolate macarons calls for 115 g of egg white, which is more egg white than I usually use in my recipes. If nothing else, the shells will be a lighter than ones I’ve made in the past. Specifically, the ingredients are:

  • 145 g almond flour
  • 145 g confectioner’s sugar
  • 25 g Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 115 g egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 150 g granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup of water

I didn’t age the egg whites, so I am making these with the Italian method. For the filling, I’m making a simple dark chocolate and rum ganache (1 cup of heavy cream, 8 ounces of chocolate, plus a tablespoon of unsalted butter and a tablespoon of golden rum).

Smackie turns his back and considers other career options.

Smackie turns his back and considers other career options.

I put all the ingredients together, and the results are tasty – it’s rum and dark chocolate, after all – but the shells are flat and footless, and so the win goes to the meringue. I cannot find the right philosophical reference to explain it, but I say that I am making macarons; the things I make contain all and only the ingredients one finds in macarons; these things are prepared with the equipment and the processes that are used for making macarons; and yet, they are never macarons themselves. They are not even simulacra of macarons. I think it is time to quit the macaron business until I take baking lessons.


About cohn17

Photographer and baker of macarons.
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