7 Jan 2013

learning: macarons II

Macarons learning, round II. Further to my very first macaron baking -here-, the learning process continues… (Basic macaron recipe from livelonger.hubpages, lemon cream filling my own.)

Basic Macarons with Lemon Cream Cheese filling
120 g almond meal
120 g icing sugar
45 g egg white
food colouring (used peach)

45 g egg white
120 g caster sugar
30 g water       

lemon cream cheese filling:
150 g cream cheese
30 g unsalted butter
65 g icing sugar
1 1/2 TBsp lemon juice
zest from 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Concerns and thoughts on round II:
- I can control my piping better than before. This time was much smaller and I left more space in between. Shells stuck and joined issue solved.
- No pointy shell. In round I, I let to bang the baking pan 3, 4 times on the counter. I confess this round I rapped it like 20+ times. I must have lost my mind, as the more I banged the pointy thing flattened. Yes, no pointy peaks, but perhaps resulted in further problems in baking later??
- Uneven tone wise, not so visible.
- Some matters solved, but the biggest problem arose: about 12 pairs cracked, little or without feet.
Inconsitent macarons. On the 1st 2 trays I baked, those on the left are ok: smooth shell, got some straight feet (but still feet). This problem fell on the right last 2 rows. With the same of everything (format, ingredients, mixture, resting time & etc), but why on the same baking, the left and the right varies? Maybe I over-mixed a little. But why macarons on the left are ok? It can only goes down to my oven, the uneven airflow. 
My small oven always bakes unevenly, inner left is hotter/browner than outer right. At the right, there is a fan which will be switching on whenever the oven turns on. I can’t turn the fan off manually.
With itching fingers, I turned up another 5~10°C on the 3rd tray and baked a bit longer. 8 pairs among were little or no feet, inside are like baked hard cookies (all filled up no hollow) instead of softer texture as of the rests. (But after piping with cream, they are softer now.)
- But wait a minute, in round I, I was using my same little oven, but not even one single shell cracked. I used the same baking tray too.
- Think again, are you sure you got hit 118°C over the sugar syrup? (+.+)? Maybe not, maybe over 118°C? Using wild guess renders yourself room to error. Which means, if I want to continue with Italian meringue method, I must buy a thermometer. Or, I shift to try the French method. Hmmhmm…
- I wanted to age the egg white but the night before I realised only 2 eggs left in my fridge. I cracked them aged overnight, plus another two newly cracked ones. So, consider I didn’t age my egg white.

I told myself, don’t let those not so good ones let ya down. Be optimistic. You see, you still have some handful ones are ok, with feet and smooth surface delicate shells:

Luckily, my lemon cream is not bad. I beat them very creamy and smooth. I piped a bit more cream this round.

I brought my box of macarons to my colleagues and friends as treats. As expected almost every single one found it very sweet, but still, I received lots of praises. I told them about the crack issues but all of them just laughed off and said: just bring over all those ok ones like today, the cracked ones leave them at home yea. Now, a colleague pleaded me to sell a batch, just pick the ok ones would do, added a note. >”<)

Making macarons is challenging but it's fun. I just wish that it is not sweet, so that I can attempt on more. Anyways, will try again, when I have time. Just can't take more sugar for the time being.

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