There are pluses and minuses of living in, seemingly, nowhere. There’s the quiet. There’s the privacy. There’s the fact that we are lucky enough to have enough of a yard to have space for a vegetable garden and the dog to run around and the ability to attract and see birds and other animals. But there are certain “special” things that we don’t have that I wish we did. For example, a bakery with more specialized and fancy pastries. With no easy access to French macarons, I was “forced” to try my hand at them.
The last time I tried to make something I’d never had before — gelato — it didn’t turn out too well. From what I’ve read about macarons, it’s almost like people try to instill fear in you. They’re notoriously difficult to make, or at least to make well. But you can make nearly any flavor combination you can dream up. The use of meringue and almond flour reminded me of Zimtsterne.
I opted to use the recipe for the wafers from David Lebovitz. But his chocolate filling called for corn syrup, which I generally try to avoid. So instead I made a simple bittersweet chocolate ganache using the recipe from The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard.
I also slightly adapted Lebovitz’s recipe with techniques from Food Nouveau. In particular, I whipped the eggs until they weren’t going to slide around in the mixing bowl and I let the batter sit for 10 to 20 minutes before baking.
But I did have some issues. I should have sifted the powdered sugar before combining it with the batter. I also shouldn’t have tried to divide the batter into two batches. By the time the second batch went into the oven, they’d been sitting out too long. The result? Wafers full of cracks.
So were they difficult to make? Not really. Granted my second batch didn’t turn out picture-perfect but if you follow the instructions, they seem easy enough to execute.
The result was that they tasted fantastic. Almost too sweet but not quite there. My husband seemed really impressed with them. The wafers were much softer than I expected and with the ganache, they were almost brownie-like.