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Macarons – my nemesis

When I face a challenge in the kitchen I usually face it head on. With perseverance and a big helping of luck I often succeed. Macarons are a whole different matter. As I had an egg white left from the mini cheesecakes rather than throwing it away I decided I would put it one side to age so I could have yet another attempt at macarons. This time I decided to ditch the French method that I had unsuccessfully used the two previous times and try the Italian method.

It went well until I dropped the egg white. As I had already prepped the rest of the ingredients I decided to soldier on and use a new egg. I then made a stupid error with one of my scales. The more frustrated I got the more schoolgirl errors I made. The final straw was when the mixture that appeared to be running in perfect lava-like ribbons poured straight out of the piping bag.

Let’s just say it’s going to be a while before I try them again because 1) it’s not a good look swearing at inanimate objects in the kitchen 2) I hate wasting good ingredients. Good job my local Morrisons has started to sell surprisingly good macarons for £4 for 8 alternatively I’ll go for the old school and failsafe coconut macaroons. Those I know I can make.

What is your nemesis in the kitchen?

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Freelance food geek who's passionate about food education.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2012/02/17/macarons-my-nemesis/


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  1. lisa procter

    Ah no. Well atleast you keep trying!

    I was going to attempt these one day but as I’m not exactly the best baker in town…think I may leave it for a while! Haha.

    If you do manage to get a pretty easy recipe that works, I’d love to know it!

    Thank you

  2. Susan

    Jules, I love that you posted this — so heartening that wonderful cooks have nemeses. Macarons intimidate the crap out of me. Hard to think of any other specific nemesis in the kitchen (probably because I have so many) …

  3. Jacqueline

    Awww, what a shame Jules. I am glad it isn’t just me that has those moments. I usually keep trying and wait until I have figured it out before blogging whatever it is, but this is refreshing and makes me feel better about my disasters :)

  4. Elly @theVCBT

    Meringues! To be fair, I’ve only attempted them twice, but both times they have wept, cracked and sunk. Of course I still ate them…

  5. lazygiraffe

    Oh what a shame they didn’t come out :(
    They are very much dependant on so many factors, especially as all ovens are different.
    Good tip about Morrisons selling them though ;)

  6. thelittleloaf

    Oh what a shame! I hate it when things go wrong in the kitchen and it happens to everyone – I think it’s important for us all to remember that so I love you for posting this.

    I’ve always used Ottolenghi’s macaron recipe and it works every time – I swear it’s all about the recipe not the technique :-) Also, just as an aside, I think people are a bit too obsessed with making macarons – they do look very beautiful but they’re a bit twee for my taste. I’ve made lots and posted a few in my time, but on balance I’d prefer a big slab of gorgeous chocolate brownie!

    1. Jules

      I may have to try that method. I have to agree, can’t beat a slab of cake!

  7. Domestic Executive

    Blasted Victoria Sponge. Despite all the wonderful advice you’ve given me it still doesn’t turn out as it should. But I haven’t given up yet!

  8. laura@howtocookgoodfood

    Great to see that macaroons are just not easy to make. Most people seem to say they only crack it after a few goes. Trouble is, there are so many wonderful things to bake that are easy that I just don’t know if those blasted macarons warrant such effort!

  9. James B

    I have yet to pluck up the balls to make macarons yet! They fill me with dread just the name.

  10. Clare

    Love your blog, it’s nice to see I’m not the only one who has kitchen nemeses. This is a blog I came across which I think you might enjoy, she’s had a similar battle with macarons you might find heartening :)


  11. C

    Pity about your macarons, but glad to know it’s not just me that fails on various things! I don’t think I have a particular nemesis (because I’m too loath to waste ingredients to try new and exciting things!) but I struggle to get sweet breads to cook and not burn. V frustrating.

  12. Cakeboule

    OMG macarons as they made me cry with sheer frustration! Never have attempted them again although they tasted OK I can not make them perfectly! One day they will not beat me!

  13. Tracy

    Macarons are my nemesis too. I have decided to give up on them and just tell myself they are too trendy and hip for my country kitchen. The ones I have made have tasted ok but they really do not have that visual appeal that I’ve seen in the shops.

  14. Jules

    Thank you everyone. Glad to see I’m not the only one who struggles with them.

  15. Fuss Free Helen

    Start with chocolate ones using the French method. For some reason the cocoa powder makes the batter behave far better. I spent a weekend and made about 6 batches and just about got it at the end.

    1. Jules

      Thank you Helen. Will try using cocoa next time.

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