Macarons 2014 – Batch 12 – Snowstorms and learning a new oven

Batches 12, 13, and 14 were going to be so straight forward…more of an exercise aiming for consistency rather then experimentation.  Straight forward because they were intended to be a gift to celebrate a friend’s 50th birthday in Iowa. I had an entire day planned to leisurely make three batches and three fillings.  I had aged my egg whites.   I was ready to make my best macarons – EVER.   Then I looked at the weather…temperatures dropping and a SNOWSTORM…timed to make my originally planned travel day not an option.

After a couple of hours reviewing the different weather forecasts, researching options for revising my car rental in hopes of not spending a ridiculous amount of money, and packing; I finally decided to travel instead of making the macarons.

I drove for about six hours going 40 mph or less on highways mostly looking like this:

Driving on Interstate 35 in the snowstorm.

Driving on Interstate 35 in the snowstorm.

The trip normally takes 3.5 hours.  It was a long, exhausting day, not the blissful macaron making day I had planned.

This was not enough to stop me from making macarons.  That is right, I am obsessed. I still had a whole day to make the macarons, but now there were challenges.  I was no longer going to be making them in my own little kitchen where I know my oven.  Thankfully, I have used my sister’s oven before so I knew it ran hot.

The challenge I hadn’t planned on was having to whip egg whites by hand.  But I was able to do it!!  I did learn that when whipping egg whites by hand, don’t add the sugar until you reach soft peaks.  It takes much longer if you do it sooner – something I never really cared about when using my stand mixer.

Whipping egg whites to stiff peaks by hand.

Whipping egg whites to stiff peaks by hand.

To add to the challenge, I agreed to do chauffeur services for the niece and nephews.  Three kids with three different school schedules.  This meant almost always someone around to watch over and no nice big chunk of time to crank these out.

The first batch – batch 12 – had some serious variation while I experimented with resting times and oven temperatures.  The result:

Variations within one batch of macaron shells

Variations within one batch of macaron shells

Notes:

  • I clearly didn’t fold long enough as there are still little peaks.
  • Shells (left most) looked the best with little to no resting and an over around 225 degrees with a double pan at 16 minutes.

I am actually quite please with how they turned out.  I thought I was going to have an entire batch completely screwed up, instead I got mediocre.

The recipe for the shells was from Les Petits Macaron.  For the filling, I used the lemon curd recipe from the same book.  This was my first making of lemon curd, and I think it was quite a success.  I look forward to trying more in the future.

Filling the macaron shells with lemon curd.

Filling the macaron shells with lemon curd.

It was not all hard work.  We did take the time to enjoy some tea and silliness.  More on batches 13 and 14 to come in the next post.

Tea party during the middle of macaron making.

Tea party during the middle of macaron making.