So, first things first. I was feeling pretty good about myself. I’d mixed up my almond flour and confectioner’s sugar, along with the spices required for the pumpkin spice part of the shell. Heck. I’d even gone so far as to actually blend them in my food processor to really get them mixed up. I’d whipped my eggs into glorious stiff peak form, spending nine minutes as per the tutorial I was following. (By the way, that nine-minute trick really seems to work. So, something for the future?)
And then it all went to crap, because I couldn’t be satisfied with non-colored macarons, I had to add color. And the only color I had was oil-based. And oil plus meringue is a terrible, terrible equation, which I realized as the orange oil dropped into my beautiful stiff peaks.
My stiff peaks dissolved into sad mush.
Here’s the nuts thing. I added the exact same color to my last batch of macarons. I don’t think I added as much, but still. Somehow I got lucky. I don’t know. But now I do know: get powdered food coloring, or JUST BE CONTENT WITH NEUTRAL-COLORED MACARON SHELLS.
I started over again. I cracked my eggs. I added my salt and cream of tartar. I blended. For nine minutes. All was fine. I folded in my dry ingredients, doing my best to try and get the batter to the appropriate “molten lava” texture this time. I found a hack for filling the pastry bag that made things ten times less forehead-banging.
I got out my pans.
I had no parchment paper.
For some reason I really like to bake at 9 o’clock at night, so there was no way I was going to drive to Smith’s for parchment paper. Call me lazy. Call me undevoted. I just wasn’t. And I didn’t want to let the batter rest, because who knew how long it would be until all the air in the eggs deflated? So I pursed my lips and I piped.
And I baked.
And. It was a mess. As I should have expected.
Was it the recipe? Was it the lack of parchment paper? Was it some combination of both? I don’t know. All I know is that my macaron shells were determined to stick to the pan, and that the shells cracked, and that the feet never developed. Ughhhhh so apparently I’m not the fancy French pastry chef I thought I was after my last success.
Here’s the thing: I probably won’t try this recipe again, so I’ll never know. The combination of shell plus pumpkin spice is just a little too cloying for me to enjoy.
If When I muster up enough mental duress to try my hand at macarons again, I’ll move on to a different recipe. One with a simpler shell that doesn’t involve vanilla extract, probably.
One thing’s for certain, though: macarons have not defeated me yet. I WILL PERSEVERE.