I think I’m beginning to understand the macaron craze that has been sweeping the food world over the last few years. It’s a strangely addicting process. I think making macarons is sort of like playing golf (at least the way I play golf). Both involve a certain amount of anxiety because there is a high probability of something going horrifically wrong (losing grip of the golf club and endangering the lives of many or the meringue going crazy). But when the stars align and things seem to go right (or at least pretty close, i.e. stick makes contact with the ball), there’s a huge satisfaction, and it makes you want to try again to see if you can do it again or better. Ever since my recent macaron success, I’ve been almost obsessively thinking about making more. I didn’t even get to eat any of the last batch, but I’ve been thinking about ways to improve them, experimenting with different color/flavor combinations, and reading up on different techniques.
I’ve also found this blogging process addicting, too. I didn’t think there were too many people out in the world who cared too much about the messes I make in my house, but it turns out you do care! And I’ve been so encouraged by everyone’s responses, which makes me want to bake more, and try all sorts of other things! So thank you, everybody, who has come to check out my little part of the internet.
So today’s project is, again, macarons. I started thinking about this almost immediately after the last batch came out of the oven. So many people have commented on salted caramel macarons that I thought that seemed like a good flavor to try. So when I got home from work on Wednesday, I decided I wanted to make caramel.
Oh. My. Gosh.
I don’t think it was my first time making caramel – I’m pretty sure I’ve done it in the past, I just don’t have strong memories of it. But this time was definitely memorable. The smell of the butter-sugar-cream (all good things in life) mixture was incredible. It was practically the first thing that I had been able to smell in almost a week, and what a wonderful way to welcome me back to the aromatic world. As I stood over the pot, stirring (and stirring, and stirring, for what felt like an eternity), it took all my will power not to just drink the stuff out of the pot. Good thing, too, because Ryan took the temperature of the stuff and it was about 270 degrees. Gah. But now I have three little jars of it in my fridge, and all I want to do is eat it with a spoon…which, incidentally, I did. YUM-O.
So I was pleased with the way the caramel turned out, but I believe that God is teaching me a lesson in humility. I guess I got a little cocky with the macaron shells, and this is what happened with my first batch.
Strange humps on some and big divets on the others. I also had this lovely problem…
Decapitated shells and sticky bottoms. Not pretty. So I couldn’t leave it at that. I knew I could do better. So I went on to my second flavor combination of the day: espresso and chocolate. With a slightly more humble approach, I came away with these beauties:
Smooth tops and pretty, pretty feet! And to top that off, they peeled off the parchment effortlessly.
Here are a few pictures of the finished products:
Pretty or not, my taste testers seemed to like them! I had no complaints about the appearance of these things, even though those salted caramels ones really bug me. I want to do them again, but I will spare all of you another post about them. Hopefully, I’ll be able to drag my brain out of Macaron Land and do something else this week!
Thanks for checking it out!