My quest to start a whoopie pie stand of my very own in a Chicago farmers market.
I am so sorry, sweet readers, to abandon you for nearly a week! I was hit by some nasty food poisoning/stomach flu/bug (?) on Friday and Saturday that knocked my planned posts out. But I’m back! And I’m better than ever! Right? Isn’t that how your immune system works?
Anyway, I made some very exciting purchases in the few days since I last posted. First: an oven thermometer! (I now know that the hotter I tell my oven to get, the more it lies to me about how hot it’s getting and sneakily keeps right on going up that thermometer. So set at 400 degrees, it really gets somewhere around 445. Good to know!)
And this stand mixer! (scroll down) Innit cute? I think I got a good deal on it, it says it works well and comes with the whisk, which is the attachment I need most. But even if it doesn’t work, ebay will supposedly refund all of my money. I will definitely
put up a million pictures of it next to 14 exclamation points calmly mention how it works in a future post.
So let’s get down to business. I made two batches of macarons this past weekend to make up for my slacking. Because I only have one little thimble-size container of gel food coloring (why get more than one? you have to use so little of it each time…), they’re pink again. BUT they come in more exciting flavors this time! I made one batch of coconut-flavored shells with cinnamon buttercream (a really excellent combo) and some neutral shells with raspberry buttercream, also very tasty. I used some extracts that I bought before Christmas when I took on a week-long truffle-making project for my family.But I’m getting ahead of myself. So, the parameters: I used Brave Tart’s recipe again, but now that I was armed with my trusty oven thermometer, I was sure I would be more successful than last time. So, so sure. Here’s what I got:
Now, you’re probably saying to yourself “a big ol’ mess?” And yes, you would be correct, but I blame the insanely close piping (which is what led to several macaron fusions) on fatigue from the bug. Blame it on the bug! Blame it all on the bug! I did get some beauties in the middle of the sheet.
But as you can see from the full view of the sheet, the shells in the very right and the very left 2 rows were cracked. What do I blame this on? Well…not really sure. I checked my oven before they went in and it was right at 300 degrees, and increased by maybe 10 degrees by the time I took them out. I’m thinking my oven is just really terrible (it is quite old and the sheet just fits) and somehow slams the delicate little shells on the edges with a ton of heat at some point during the baking process, and they literally crack under the pressure. It’s this or something to do with my whipping or mixing techniques, but I thought it could have been that last time, so took extra care to make sure the egg whites were properly whipped, and tried to perform some good macaronage.
I don’t think it’s my macaronage technique because I always get the batter to the right consistency and the cracked macarons are always on the edges of my pan. When I made these the second time this weekend, I got the same pattern. I even tried the quick!-open-the-oven-door-twice-during-cooking technique espoused by the Godfather of Macarons, Pierre Herme. I think I’m going to have to keep messing with the oven door though a la this blog, where she actually leaves her oven door open for an entire minute while baking her macarons.
I do think that I’m at least on to something in terms of recipe because I’ve been using a carton of egg whites (the sacrilege!), I’m not worrying about their age or temp, I don’t let the shells rest for much more than 10 or 20 minutes after piping, and I’m still getting some really decent shells. They’re just only in the center of my pan. Ah well, they do make some pretty macarons though…
A “big” ‘RoonReview coming up next! Stay tuned! Or even better…subscribe!