Although I like to experiment with making chocolates once in a while, I’m not much of a baker. This partly stems from having lived alone for a long time, and being forced to eat anything I’ve baked all by myself. But it’s mostly just because I’m not very good.
So anything that can help make me a better baker with minimal effort is a good thing. Being a bit of a gadget fan, when Lékué offered to send me this macaron making kit to try out, I jumped at the chance.
The slight fly in the ointment is the fact that I don’t particulalry like macarons. But if I could make them well enough that other people would want to eat them, that would give me a sufficient sense of
superiority accomplishment. And what’s not to like about that?
The macaron making kit itself is very simple. It consists of a 40cm x 30cm silicon matt with circles marked out in ridges and a squeezy bottle (or Decomax pen to give it its proper name) with interchangeable nozzles. I’m told half that battle of macaron making is getting even circles of mixture onto the tray, and that’s what this kit is designed to help with.
It won’t improve your recipes and it won’t magically cook your macarons perfectly, but it will help you make evenly sized blobs.
The kit comes with a small booklet with some recipes in multiple languages, but they all seemed a little complex, so I found a basic macaron recipe, and thought I’d make a simple ganache filling to go with it.
The recipe is relatively straightforward, but the part where it’s easiest to go wrong (and thus, the part where I went wrong), is mixing the ground almonds and sugar into the egg whites. In my attempts to make sure the colouring was evenly distributed, I ended up over mixing.
Still, I persevered. Gently pouring the mixture into the squeezy bottle and piping blobs onto the matt.
Blob, Blob, Blob
My friend Edd (who knows a thing or two about baking), had told me not to let the mixture go up to the circular ridges when using this kit, so it was soon clear I was going to have a problem – the mixture was spreading even before it was in the oven.
Again, I persevered. The squeezy bottle and mat did actually make this part very, very easy. It was both mess and hassle free.
After baking in a low oven, my excitement turned to disappointment. Rather than rising and leaving those trademark macaron “feet”, they had spread outward. They still looked somewhat like macarons, but they weren’t the masterpieces I had been hoping for.
Still, as they cooled on the matt, I whipped up a simple ganache with some Duffy’s chocolate and cream. I left it to cool in the fridge before assembling my macarons.
That was very easy – they peeled away from the tray with minimal effort, then I simply used the same squeezy bottle (this time with a smaller nozzle) to pipe some ganache onto one half before sandwiching the two together.
Pictured here are a few of the best ones. I won’t be giving up my day job.
I’m told that macaron making requires a lot of practice, and now I’m aware of some of the mistakes I made this time, I think I could improve next time round. Normally I would say I don’t like macarons enough to try again, but given how simple the process is with the Lékué kit, I probably will.
Even if I don’t make macarons very often, I’ll certainly be using the constituent parts again. It made the process simple, clean and fun, and – most importantly of all – just a little bit less daunting for the total novice.