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The Macrons That Weren't

Knowing all weekend that I was planning on whipping up a batch of macrons Sunday, I have been keeping mental notes of all the wonderful things that I could say about these delightful little treats: the flavor profile, how they puffed up beautifully with their signature skirt twirling at the bottom, how the neutral colors are pleasing to my classic eye. I brainstormed a series of pictures I could take to document the new method I was trying out (Italian meringue vs. the French meringue I normally use). I had a plan and was ready to go. It was just a matter of time. 

But like life, events do not always unfold perfectly. Sometimes the corner catches in the zipper or the button falls off the cuff of your just-bought blouse. I was fully prepared. I did my research on Italian meringue, pre-traced the circles on the parchment paper, measured all my ingredients ahead of time, and blocked out ample time so that I would not be rushed. So where did it all go wrong? It was the sentence, “Just shy of stiff peaks.”

I am very aware of what stiff peaks look like, but “just shy,” well, that’s a different story. Is just shy 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock, or 4? And does it have to hold its time? The fear of accidentally whipping the meringue to stiff peaks like I am accustomed to resulted in meringue that was “almost, but not quite, just shy.” This in turn affected the overall consistency, causing it to be too runny.

Perfectly mixed batter should ribbon or be thick enough to make a V coming off the rubber spatula. Mine did not. It happily flowed right back into the bowl. “Maybe it will be fine when I pipe it?” the delusional side of my brain chimed in. So that’s what I did. I fitted the bag with the proper tip and I got the exact result that I should have expected but did not want. It was just too thin! Not one to give up, I irrationally pressed forward, sprinkling the tops with the finely crushed almonds I chopped earlier in the day. And then I stared.

During this quiet time with both sides of my brain, I finally did what any reasonable person should do. I carefully folded up the parchment paper and placed it in the trash can where it belonged. I briefly thought about restarting but chalked up the day to a learning experience and poured a glass of wine.



(Note: This is a picture of meringue from another day.)

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