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Lemons: Lemon Macarons

It is time to lay my demons to rest. It is time to master the art of macarons.  The theme for this months Sweet Adventures Blog Hop is lemons and I thought that was good enough excuse to get the egg whites out and make some lemon macarons. For those of you who have been hiding under a rock for the past five months the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop is a group of Australian bloggers making desserts once a month based on a theme.  This month it’s the turn of Jennifer from Delicieux to host the blog hop and the theme is lemons.

When I first started writing my food blog and reading other food blogs I got a silly idea in my head that I couldn’t be a ‘real’ food blogger without mastering the art of the macaron.  When I decided this, I had never even eaten one, I was just seduced by all of the beautiful photos on the blogs I was reading.  In particular, the photos by Mardi at Eat.Live.Travel.Write and Stella from Brave Tart.  I had numerous attempts that you can read about here, here and here. If nothing else it is worth a look for the photos of the absolutely disastrous first batch that couldn’t even be scraped off the baking paper!

Having had a rest from my quest to make a successful batch of macarons I won a copy of Mad About Macarons by Jill Colonna and have finally plucked up the courage to give it one last go.  This was one last go because if they didn’t work this time, that was it, I was done with macarons.

Armed with a whole book dedicated to the little blighters the challenge was set.  As with all the other attempts I felt like I followed the recipe to the letter.  I knew some of my past mistakes, which included under mixing the batter, so I threw in a couple of extra stirs for good measure.

Once the egg whites have been whipped with the caster sugar and the almond meal and icing sugar have been added and thoroughly mixed through it is time to pipe.  I’m not well practiced in the art of piping so I drew circles on the baking paper so I could gauge the size. Despite this, the macarons still varied wildly in size.

The macarons were baked for 10-12 minutes without the fan on in the oven, so one tray were a little darker than the other.  I turned the fan off because I have had baked goods resembling the famous tower of Pisa due to the vicious strength of my fan.

When I eventually opened the oven I think the whole neighbourhood heard my squeals of delight when I discovered I had feet!  The macarons had risen to the perfect height to give the little lip at the bottom known as ‘feet’ in the world or macarons.

So the macaron shells aren’t strictly the lemon part of this dish, although I did colour them yellow to give the eater the impression of lemon.  The lemon flavour comes from the filling.  The recipe suggested a lemon butter cream or lemon curd filling.  With my new found love of curd, it had to be the lemon curd.  I followed the recipe I posted in February, but replaced the lime juice with lemon juice.

I roughly matched up the shells so I had even sized tops and bottoms.  I was super pleased with the results, but they weren’t perfect and I was left with a little point on each one from the piping.  I took my worries to the Twitterverse and sure enough, when the reply came, I should have mixed the batter even further, meaing when piped the pointy bit would disappear as the the mixture is slightly more fluid. Oh well. The results were good enough to bring me joy and encouragement for more macaron adventures. But here is my first confession, in order to photograph these little beauties I did have to slice off the pointy bit of half of the macarons so all of the bottoms had holes.

More practice for my piping skills. once I’d shaved the bottoms of half of the shells I piped some lemon curd into the centre of each one.  The instructions were not to pipe right to the edge so that when you press the shells together the filling doesn’t gush out of the sides but I may have erred on the side of caution and under filled.

Now for the magic. As instructed I resisted trying one immediately, carefully placing the finished macarons in an airtight container in the fridge.  According to the author of Mad About Macarons they need to be rested so that the flavour of the filling can infuse into the shell and the correct texture can be achieved.

Who can refuse a macaron for breakfast? Success. Not only was I pretty pleased with the look of the lemon macarons I even liked the taste and texture. Winner. I will be making macarons again.

Comments

Comment from Jennifer (Delicieux)
Time April 16, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Congratulations on mastering macarons Nic! They look fantastic! I’ve only had one attempt so far, and I ended up with most of them being cracked, but I did get some feet. Can I ask which method you went with, French or Italian?

Comment from nic
Time April 16, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Thanks Jennifer, I went with the French version as that’s the way I make meringue too. I still haven’t braved Italian meringue, but your cupcakes have spurred me on to try!

Comment from Kyrstie @ A Fresh Legacy
Time April 16, 2012 at 7:15 pm

You are so brave to keep trying! And what a result-they look awesome!! Congratulations :)
They are in the too hard basket for me. My 1 year old wants to be in my arms constantly so any recipe that requires supreme attention is strictly off limits here! Thanks for the laugh too.

Comment from Christina @ The Hungry Australian
Time April 16, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Nic, I’m in awe of your efforts. You are very hard on yourself because I think your macarons look amazing. And you’ve photographed everything so beautifully, too. Lovely job.

Comment from nic
Time April 16, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Brave or maybe stupid Kyrstie?!

Comment from nic
Time April 16, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Thanks Christina, the encouragement is much appreciated!

Comment from tania@mykitchenstories
Time April 16, 2012 at 9:13 pm

You really have worked hard on this and have succeeded. They look absolutely fantastic…. I have never made them yet and so you are def very cool

Comment from JJ @ 84thand3rd
Time April 16, 2012 at 10:26 pm

YAY! They are brilliant and I have to say I love the little peaks (even if they aren’t really supposed to be there!) they give your macarons personality ;) Would you believe I’ve never made macarons… may need to do that soon!

Comment from Laura (Tutti Dolci)
Time April 16, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Your macarons look beautiful! They are on my baking list but I have yet to try… I think I shall attempt them on a day that I don’t need them for anything in particular, and then I won’t feel so anxious if they don’t work out! I love your choice of lemon curd as the filling.

Comment from Lizzy (Good Things)
Time April 17, 2012 at 5:18 am

Beautifully done, Nic! Love it.

Comment from Jane M
Time April 17, 2012 at 5:57 am

Last November I took a baking/Viking cooking class on baking macarons. I baked a few batches soon after but haven’t in long time. They sure are a fun cookie to bake and tasty too!

Comment from Tamar
Time April 17, 2012 at 6:08 am

I actually think that the little pointy bits make them look like actual lemons, and that’s adorable. Congrats on your successful attempt!

Comment from Ambika
Time April 17, 2012 at 8:05 am

Congratulations on the successful batch!! These macs look so perfect for the season!!

Comment from muppy
Time April 17, 2012 at 3:43 pm

lol! i know those squeals of delight :) they look perfect nic

Comment from Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite
Time April 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Hurray! I know you’ll be hooked now. They are beautiful! COngrats!

Comment from nic
Time April 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Thanks for all the comments.

Mardi, yes I think I will get hooked, and I hold you entirely responsible ;)

Comment from Julie @ birthday cakes
Time April 17, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Your macaron look so good. And your photos are just so great. I think I’ll have to try and bake some for myself

Comment from Thyme (Sarah)
Time April 18, 2012 at 2:52 am

They look beautiful! My daughter was sitting next to me when I was on TS and she gasped “look at those macarons!”

Comment from nic
Time April 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Thanks Julie, and Sarah, I don’t think I could get higher praise that that ;)

Comment from Amy from Appetite for Discovery
Time April 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Love these little dollops of sunshine! They are gorgeous and so are the photos. Good on you for giving them another shot – and mastering them! They’re on my to-do list…

Comment from Erin @ she cooks, she gardens
Time April 18, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Congratulations on mastering the macaron! They look gorgeous; such lovely, sunny little bundles of joy.

I feel your pain about the process, good on you for sticking it out! I find myself in the same boat when I go to make them, I feel like I’m about to run a marathon and there is such a sense of relief when it’s over. I’ve had more successful batches than failures lately but I still sit in front of the oven and watch to make sure they rise. I don’t think I’ll ever feel 100% confident about it. :)

Comment from Moya
Time April 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm

To me your macarons look perfect and I know from experience how happy you were when you saw the “feet”! I even feel very happy drooling over them and I would eat macarons for breakfast. :)

Comment from karen
Time April 20, 2012 at 3:54 am

Wow they look really good… can’t wait to taste!

Comment from Amanda
Time April 20, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Oh, well done you! I am far too lazy to attempt anything so delicate. And what powers of self-control – I couldn’t manage that either.

Comment from Erica
Time April 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Macarons are just so pretty, aren’t they?! I couldn’t resist making them for this month’s blog hop either :) Your photography is beautiful, congratulations! I think I need to make macarons just one more time before I can say thay my macaron demons are completely at rest…

Comment from Stephanie
Time April 22, 2012 at 12:44 am

What gorgeous macarons! I made some for the blog hop too but I was hesitant with my food coloring. Next time I won’t be so cautious – I love how yours are bright yellow!

Comment from Mel B (Honey You Baked)
Time April 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm

These look simply stunning! Love the colouring :)

Comment from Johanna
Time May 19, 2012 at 5:10 am

Hi,

I’ve started My Sweet Party, where I every month host a party with a theme (MAY theme is CHOCOLATE). The party is ongoing the entire duration of the month and then I will choose my top three favourites and feture those blogs. I would LOVE you to join My Sweet Party!

http://meandmysweets.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/my-sweet-party-chocolate-cake-love.html

XXX
Johanna

Comment from Heather
Time September 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Hi Nic. These macarons look amazing. I have just started making them too – after my third attempt I have just about got them perfect. I have decided to make lemon ones this weekend – I tried clicking on the link to check out your lemon curd and it didn’t work. Is it still on your blog?

Comment from nic
Time September 19, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Hi Heather, Thanks for stopping by and thanks for pointing out the broken link, it should work now! Good luck with your next batch, I’ve signed up for a cooking class on macarons to try and get them nailed!

Pingback from Lemon Salt | Foods for the Soul
Time March 7, 2013 at 11:07 am

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