The chefs at Cooking with Class told me a half-recipe does not work, for some reason; I have to use the full recipe, so double the quantities used in Attempt no. 38. “What about Attempt no. 39?” you ask. “Why are you skipping straight from Attempt no. 38 to Attempt no. 40?” I indeed did make the full recipe for Attempt no. 39, but it did not work out particularly well. Consider Attempt no. 39 to be the crazy relative locked away in the attic in a Southern Gothic novel. We shall not speak of it again.
For this attempt, I am using the same recipe as before, albeit at the full scale. Because this recipe will make more shells than I have key lime filling for, I am also going to make a dark chocolate ganache into while I’m throwing a tablespoon of whiskey. When I mix the batter, I will divide it into two bowls, and use different food colorings to finish off the macaronnage for each.
I started with the shells for the chocolate-whiskey macarons, and I think I got the macaronnage stage down pretty well. They piped out cleanly, and came out of the oven looking perfect. Unfortunately, about half of them stuck to the SilPat. In the end, between the intact shells and the not-too-damaged shells, I could assemble a dozen macaron.
While I was fixing up the first half of the batter, the rest of the batter sat in its bowl. By the time I returned to it, the batter had begun to stiffen up, and no amount of mixing it seemed to loosen it up. Consequently, the piping was less smooth.
For these shells, I experimented by using the parchment instead of the SilPats, and using one layer on one tray and two layers on the other. I also switched the trays top and bottom halfway through the baking process. They came out looking like macarons, albeit poorly shaped ones, but they all stuck to the paper, and only half of them were salvageable. I baked the last 20 shells on the SilPat. They came off evenly, but were oddly flat.
So, bottom line: who won?
The first batch, with the chocolate-whiskey ganache, look like macarons. The second batch, with the key lime filling, look a little funny. Both types are delicious. I’m getting close, but by a split decision, the victory goes to the meringue.