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My second failed attempt at making macarons — another Martha recipe this time

After my first failed attempt to make macarons, I tried another macaron recipe from Martha Stewart. You see, I have faith that she knows what she’s doing — and I clearly do not.

baked mini macarons undermixed batter plate

Results from my first macaron-making attempt. Photo by Jennifer Melo

The last time, I followed the recipe as directed and ended up with poor results so this time, I tried another Martha recipe and made a few adjustments.

I’ve worked with recipe developers in my time and, understandably, they get really annoyed when someone complains about bad results but they didn’t follow the recipe exactly. But nothing irritates a baker more than following a recipe exactly as instructed and ending up with crappy cookies. Harrumph! (Arms crossed. Brows furrowed. Foot stomped.)

So this time, I veered from the recipe and made a big mistake that led to my doom. So not Martha’s fault.

This batch turned out worse than the first one, but I’m learning some great lessons along the way.

About the macaron recipe

I used Martha’s recipe for Parisian Macarons for my second macaron-making adventure. Calling it an adventure takes the sting out of making another bad batch.

I noticed this recipe calls for piping 1″ macarons so I thought that might correct my issue with the mini macarons I ended up with last time. So I made  a new macaron-piping template with 1″ circles to help guide me with sizing and spacing.

I also thought I’d mix the batter enough to make the mixture a bit more runny so it’d spread out more. But I ended up overmixing it this time.

Photo by Jennifer Melo

Piped macaron shells, overmixed batter. Photo by Jennifer Melo

Then I did more research and found a video that suggested I could bake two cookie sheets at once. I’m a sucker for time management, so I thought I’d try that. Bad call. BIG mistake.

This is what happened when I tried to bake two cookie sheets at once, alternating sheets on racks about halfway through baking time: Very inconsistent cooking results.

Making macarons: My results

– Inconsistent baking. Most of these macarons were plagued with problems. Some cookies were undercooked and others were overcooked on the bottom but not-so cooked on top.

-This recipe directs you to leave your oven door “slightly ajar” when baking. Hmm… maybe my definition of slightly ajar is different than Martha’s.

-I ended up with several cracked macarons and/or sunken middles. What the heck’s going on here?

green macaron shells

The two shells at front seem fine. Photo by Jennifer Melo

I had just a few good, camera-ready ones to show you (see?)

Photo by Jennifer Melo

Photo by Jennifer Melo

…But looks can be deceiving because these were raw in the middle.

green undercooked macaron

Undercooked macaron shells. Photo by Jennifer Melo

-Macaron size was still smaller than I’d like. The batter spread some, but very little, after piping.

-Several clung to the parchment paper and cracked when I tried to remove them, a common problem with undercooked macarons, I learned. So I cooked the white ones longer than the green ones but they fell flat rather than puffing up.

White, hopelessly flat macarons. Photo by Jennifer Melo

White, hopelessly flat macarons. Photo by Jennifer Melo

So it’s back to the drawing board for me. Here’s hoping third time’s a charm.

Biggest lesson learned: Don’t bake more than one sheet at a time.

And we learn from our mistakes. Right? Right!

 

4 Comments on My second failed attempt at making macarons — another Martha recipe this time

  1. Suzy
    August 31, 2013 at 2:42 pm (4 years ago)

    Boo

    Reply
  2. Jen Melo
    September 15, 2013 at 6:21 pm (4 years ago)

    Hiss. 😉

    Reply
  3. Dina@TheEverydayContessa
    September 17, 2013 at 10:32 pm (4 years ago)

    I think they look awesome! I am not brave enough to tackle macarons, they look delicious but scary!! Keep going you are a great baker. I love your site, you now have a new follower!

    Reply
    • Jen Melo
      September 18, 2013 at 7:46 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks so much, Dina. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I first tried to make macarons and if I knew then what I know now, I might never have tried. Oh well, at least I’m learning. Thanks for your support, encouragement and the follow. Much appreciated.

      Reply

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