Thursday, August 9, 2012

Nick Nack, Paddy Mac

This old gal, she tried one, she tried macs and she got none
With a nick nack, paddy Mac,
Please, throw me a bone?
This old gal was all alone.

This old gal, she tried two, she tried macs - they were hollow, too
With a nick nack, paddy Mac,
Should I just have made a scone?
This old gal began to groan.

This old gal, she tried three, yep, they're hollow you can see
With a nick nack, paddy Mac,
To the French I must atone,
This old gal, she should have known.

This old gal, she tried four...


With a nick nack, paddy mac,
They're hollow and I'm thrown!
Please send a case of Côte de Beaune.

I tried again, friends.  A morning, entirely to myself.  Clean, peaceful, quiet kitchen.  Mise en place. 

I dressed comfortably. 
I had my coffee.
I streamed "La Vie En Rose" radio on Pandora.
I wore my lucky (signed) apron.
The Hubs kissed me goodbye before leaving for work and said,
"I know it, Hon, today's gonna be THE DAY."

I smiled.  Stared out the kitchen window.  Humble.  Determined. Researched.  Focused.
(Hit it, Edith Piaf!)

Is it me?  This doesn't feel or look right.  I feel naughty.

This is the fourth attempt of the same recipe (french-ish method).  I'm sorry, Stella & Mardi.  Four identically hollow batches NO. MATTER. WHAT.  This fourth attempt really hit home at the meringue stage.  Everything I have read talks about the meringue needing to be shiny and stiff at this stage.  I timed myself and used the exact speeds indicated for a Kitchenaid mixer.  Every single time this meringue is dull and able to split itself, looking like it was a cut marshmallow.  I know, I know, they say it's ok to beat the heck out of it, but I honestly think that I'm breaking the structure-ability out of them. 

They rise, they dome.  They have lovely lacy feet.

That glorious almondy steam.  The smell of failure.  Who knew?

They are expertly masquerading as perfect macarons until you turn them over or bite into one.

If the intent were to create a little natural hole in the bottom to sneak some pastry cream into a hollow shell, I AM A FOUR-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD WINNER.  Oh, bother.

I Have:

Adjusted temperatures rack positions, & baking time
Rapped the pans on the counter
Let them dry for 15, 30, 60 minutes
Tried colorless macs
Cracked the oven door
Dry days
Moderate days
Monsoony days
Various phases of the moon (kidding)
All ranges of Macaronage

What I have gotten in return?  Consistently. Pretty. Hollow. Macaron.


It's time to try a different recipe/method.  I'm sticking with French, just going to do something a little more traditional.  No more fancy shortcuts. I'm going to patiently wait for those egg whites to season 2-3 days.   I'm going to look for glossy meringue with stiff (but not marshmallow) peaks.  I'm going to wear lipstick.  I'm going to get this right.

(I'm probably going to still listen to La Vie En Rose radio on Pandora, though.  That was bliss.)

People who don't know any better would not call this failure:

Failure still tastes pretty good, actually...
Now is the part of the post where you All Comment Below, cheering me on, rooting for this underdog to succeed.  You know, sorta like, "Don't give up, Sweet Teeth!" or "Try playing Mac The Knife instead!"  and other such helpful hints.  With that support, I know I can go back into the kitchen when my next batch of whites has aged, all Rocky Balboa style (but less hairy, with lipstick) and report back to you that it is indeed possible to conquer your fears! 


  1. You can do it!!! don't give up! You will triumph! (picture Meg Ryan standing in front of the Arc de Triumph). You will master this.
    Jamie, aka, you sister who will gladly eat any "mistakes"

    1. Thank God for sisters. Yes, you can have the mistakes and now I will have to use that picture in my "triomphe" post if I ever get these right! XOXO, Sis!

    2. MY LIFE. Six batches, all but one that look perfect, and I still get air bubbles and hollows.


Play nice in the sandbox, please!