Here it is. The long awaited post of what I’ve been calling my “macaroon project”. Please be warned, this post will be a lengthy one. My fondness of these adorable little sweets has its ups and downs. I remembered disliking it when I first tried a pistachio macaroons when I was just a little girl. It may be the fact that I used to hate pistachio as a little girl, or I just don’t like the chewy texture. But my take on that particular nut has changed 180 degrees. I grew an addiction to anything pistachio, whether it’s savoury or sweets. I have come to love macaroons ever since I move to Australia 6 years ago. It is not until early this year when I challenged myself on to making my own macaroons for a friend’s birthday party. A challenge which ended with a teary disaster. After 3 failed batches, I finally gave up.
When I found out that Savour offered a half day macaroon class, I decided to enrol and found out the secrets behind these sweet little thing. We made 8 different macaroons that day. I was quite disappointed that my favourite of all, pistachio macaroons, was not one of them. I distribute the macaroons to friends and people at work, everyone absolutely LOVED it. Her fuzziness at work even requested this for Christmas. She read my mind!!
I promised to myself that I would get a lot of practice before making it for Christmas hampers. And this year, I will planned ahead since Paul at Savour said that macaroons can easily be stored frozen up to 6 months. A plan so beautiful if I was just disciplined enough to actually follow it. Ever since I went back to uni part time, my timing is way off. Not much baking as I liked it to be. I’m exhausted all the time. My weekends are spent in libraries and computer labs rather than in front of the oven. Next thing I know, it was already the first week of December, and I haven’t even try making macaroons at home.
At Savour, they taught us 3 different techniques, Italian (using Italian meringue), French (the usual meringue technique), and Spanish (I forgot which one is this one, and as I end up not using this technique, I can’t even remember what distinct this one from the other techniques). I planned to make 9-10 different flavours for 20 friends. Yes.. yes.. I know.. It was quite ambitious (or even delusional) of me. But I always loved a good challenge, and the perfectionist in me just couldn’t resist it. I made the first batch using the Italian technique, and it worked really well, even though I had a couple of case of ‘Siamese twins ‘ due to the lack of spacing I made when piping the macaroons. The second batch was made using the French method. I don’t know whether it was my ‘macarooner’ technique that went wrong or it was because i was in a foul mood when i made it, i just know that it was a disaster. My macaroons turned out to be more cookie like, than a fluffy, chewy meringue. Lesson learned! Never bake when you’re upset. I thought it would cheer me up, it made it even worse. I decided to stick with the Italian techniques for all my macaroons.
I’d like to thank to Helen at Tartelette for her AMAZING macaroon recipes. She’s just such an amazing baker. Her recipes are innovative and her photos never failed to make me drool. I had to refrain myself from licking my screen every time I visit her blog. The fact that she is such a lovely person makes her blog my daily bread. After seeing her pecan pie macaroons, snickers macaroons, red berry macaroons (I used blueberry instead since I coloured the shells purple) and opera macaroons, I just can’t resist including these flavours in my macaroons project.
So, together with those 4 flavours, I made pistachio macaroons with pistachio buttercream filling, chocolate macaroons with 70% Valhorna dark chocolate ganache, crunchy hazelnut macaroons with crunchy hazelnut praline ganache, vanilla macaroons with vanilla-white choc ganache, Dulce de leche macaroons and Lemon macaroons with lemon curd filling.
After cartons over cartons of eggs, I finally finish my macaroons on Monday 22 December at 2 AM. Just in time for Christmas. I made a cute little gift tag and some illustrations on the different flavours of the macaroons to be included in the box. It will save me a lot of time explaining the flavours to everyone. EVERYONE loved it. A few of them even giving me orders for more. I don’t think I would want to look at macaroons anymore, at least for a little while.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Everyone! =)