They’re so cute, they’re so sweet, they’re so… freaking hard to make!
Macarons are light and airy cookies that sandwich a sweet filling like buttercream, chocolate ganache or even Nutella. Yum! I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making these pretty sweets so I jumped right in with minimal research. Not my best idea.
I later learned that macarons are known in some baking circles as the hardest cookies to make. And now I know why.
Martha Stewart macaroon recipe review
I wasn’t about to mess around with a random recipe so I turned to the domestic goddess herself, Martha Stewart for support. And by that, I mean I went to her website in search of a recipe (nice website redesign, by the way, Bravo to Martha’s web team!)
First I tried this recipe: French macarons
The recipe is simple and straightforward. But Martha, girl. You failed me.
I needed more instructions so I’d give it a three out of five in satisfaction rating. Specifically, I think the recipe needs more explanation when it comes to batter consistency.
It could also use direction on working in food colouring because this green batter turned out a few shades lighter once baked …
…and more details about drying time in various conditions would be helpful too, please.
- The cookies cooked nicely overall, but they turned out too small for my liking. I thought the batter might spread (it didn’t) and maybe even expand after baking — it didn’t. If this recipe was called “Mini Macaroons,” I would’ve been almost completely satisfied but I envisioned a bigger macaroon of maybe 1.5-2” in diameter. Mine were piped at 3/4” as the recipe directed and a three-quarters of an inch is where they stayed. That’s probably because I didn’t mix the batter long enough, so I’m partly responsible for this fail.
- The colour lightened and browned a lot after baking. What started as a fresh apple-minty green batter turned into a dull, light khaki green after cooking. Reptilian, almost. Weird, definitely. This food-colour-fading effect is well-documented so I would’ve avoided this if I researched more.
- Inconsistent macaron texture. Some of the macaron tops were rough, lumpy and grainy so I learned I should mix the batter a bit more next time and not mess around with the batter.
- These macaroons tasted fantastic! Thank you, Martha. Yes, we can be friends again. I gave up on making macaron filling from scratch after I saw the cookies didn’t turn out so pretty. But waste not! I filled them with some delicious raspberry curd I got from a recent trip to the U.S. Want to hear all about it? Read me! > 10 great reasons to visit Norfolk, Virginia.
Learn from my mistakes
I went rogue by splitting the batter in half. I wanted to add food colouring to half of the batch and keep the other batch white but that was a bad idea. Don’t do that.
Macaron batter is sensitive and you need to pipe it promptly after folding the mixture. So I learned that if I want to make a batch in another colour, it’s best to start fresh by making the recipe all over again. Yes, even if that’s a whole lotta kitchen cleanup for one day.
So now I’m brushing myself off and starting again. In the meantime, please feel free to share stories of your macaroon flops or successes. I’d love to hear ‘em. Ready, set, go!