Lavender Tea with Lemon, Please: A cup of Macaron.

Le Macaron - I have almost conquered you

I’ve come up with several alternative blog post titles for my recent culinary experimentation:

Egg Whites Are The Enemy

Pardon My, Um, French?

and my favorite

Manhattan Macaron Murder Mystery

Anyone who’s tried to make these little bits of delight in their kitchen has most likely failed at least once.  And if you are one of those rare people without professional culinary training that perfected the art of the macaron on the first try, please come over and play with me.

Macarons are notoriously difficult to make.  Which means that they’re the perfect challenge for when I’m in the mood to make something complicated that claims all of my attention.  Usually I’m in this mood when I’m chewing on something.  Figuratively, I mean.  I find nothing more calming then browsing recipes, coming up with a game plan, pouring some cheap red wine into an inherited crystal punch cup, and folding almond batter into whipped egg whites.  And tonight I’m chewing.

So I decide to go for broke with both bowls of egg whites I’ve had out “relaxing” since yesterday morning.  I have two baking events coming up, and while I’ve let myself get down to the wire with my recipes, I’m very excited for the combination of a tea-themed event and an online auction to benefit Japan.

But, oops, I don’t have parchment!  Off to the grocer’s.

Ends up, there is no parchment paper to be found in Washington Heights.  Evidently tamales and chile recipes don’t call for it.  So I grabbed a roll of waxed paper and hoped for the best.

And, yes, there is a HUGE difference between the two.  I’ve learned.  But what can you do?  My philosophy is “making a mess into mmmmmmm”, so I’ve gotta stick by my dusty ways and make do.

And I made macarons!  Tinted a delightful spring yellow, pumped with the scent and light flavor of lavender tea in the macaron shell and with a tart lemon curd filling.

I also made a lemon macaron with fresh zest to be filled tomorrow with a lavender buttercream filling.  Not quite as close to “there” as these, but getting there.

What is working more and more with each test batch?

  • The amount of whipping that produces the perfect “stiff peaks” that are neither too marshmallow-y nor overbeaten and borderline dry.
  • Both processing and sifting the almond flour / confectioner’s sugar.
  • Folding the almond flour in three batches, sifting each time.
  • A properly heated oven: I discovered starting around 350 degrees then dropping the heat and holding the oven door open with a wooden spoon worked perfectly.

Now I’m extra excited to take a macaron baking class with my lady friends and buying the right equipment to make this process easier.

Recipes / details / better photos to come!

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