Ugly macarons are still delicious

 
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Updated on Feb 5th. Scroll to bottom to read about baking macarons without a resting period!

There are so many opinions out there on macarons, so many tips, warnings, shared stories. So what the heck, I’ll just add to it.

I love macarons. LOVE them. I had two for breakfast this morning. Lily asked me if I was “in a relationship with macarons” (that’s how she talks now). She sees the dreamy, closed-eyes look I have on my face when I eat them.

They’re not the most affordable dessert (at a whopping $3.30 each at Ladurée) so I made up my mind to learn how to make them. I want to serve them at my retreats and it’s just not very comforting to have a tiny tease of a dessert when you’ve treated yourself to a weekend away. You need a plateful of macarons to really feel happy.

I’ve read a whole bunch of recipes and blog posts. I’ve watched some videos. I’ve taken a quick lesson with the talented @emilychincakes. Everyone admits to macarons being finicky; everyone has little tricks that help make the perfect macaron.

See that space? That’s called a “hollow”. Still delicious.

See that space? That’s called a “hollow”. Still delicious.

That bottom half has no “feet”. Still delicious.

That bottom half has no “feet”. Still delicious.

I remember when I got into baking sourdough bread. The motto was “even ugly bread is delicious when toasted”. I’ve made macarons three times now (not including that time in France when Dustin had his “poofy hair”). I promise to update this post if I change my mind, but my conclusion is that ugly macarons are still delicious. That air pocket on the inside? meh. Doesn’t quite come off the parchment paper? meh. They’re ovals with a pointy top? meh. The “feet” are really small and didn’t even puff up on one side? meh. They’re overbaked and a little brown? Pack your knives and go! Just kidding. I overbaked almost every tray and somehow they’re still chewy and delicious.

 
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If you’re baking macarons to sell, then you are amazing and you better charge enough for all that time in the kitchen. If you’re baking macarons to eat for breakfast? Just get-er-done and know that at least two of them on at least one side will look good enough for a picture. They seem to always taste delicious anyway.

For the winter retreat, I’m hoping they come out beautiful. But if they don’t? I’ll tell everyone to make that really dreamy face with their eyes closed when they eat them. I’m positive they will taste perfect.

Macaron resources:

My tips for low-stress macarons:

  • I don’t age the egg whites.

  • I don’t bring my egg whites to room temperature

  • I used lemon juice because I couldn’t find my cream of tarter

  • I used parchment paper because I don’t own a silpat

  • An amazing buttercream fixes all mistakes

  • Make sure to rest your macarons after piping so they dry out a bit and form a shell. See below.

Update! I’ve tried baking a batch of macarons without a resting period. Conclusion: rest your macarons! Of the 12 that I baked immediately after piping, 5 of them cracked. That’s a 40% fail rate. Wait, not a fail. Just ugly. They were still delicious. So while 100% delicious, 40% ugly. The remaining trays were rested and baked with no cracks. Were they still funny shaped? Sure. But definitely photo worthy.

Bottom tray was baked without resting after piping. Top tray rested about 20 mins.

Bottom tray was baked without resting after piping. Top tray rested about 20 mins.

Full of cracks. Arguably ugly. Definitely delicious.

Full of cracks. Arguably ugly. Definitely delicious.