Recently I’ve been challenging myself to take my baking to the next level, attempting complicated recipes that require much more patience than I believe myself to have.My list of baking adventures of late have included French macarons and croissants.
Invested in a digital kitchen scale, a new cookie sheet, a silicon baking pad, food colourings and flavourings. This was an expensive adventure…
First attempt was chocolate macarons. They didn’t make it far. A good experience, but it wasn’t worth making the filling for. The consistency of the batter was off and when piping onto the pan I could already tell it wasn’t going to work. We ate the chocolate almond cookies and they tasted nice, but looked nothing like the macarons they were meant to become.
Second attempt was for pistachio flavoured macarons. I didn’t whip the egg whites as long, and tried for soft peaks rather than stiff peaks, thinking it would help for a smoother consistency. Definitely saw an improvement, but I ended up adding a bit of water to the batter. Hallelujah! They piped onto the sheet much more easily and I got a total of 12 really nice looking macaron cookies. The rest had to be thrown out.
I made a pistachio buttercream and filled the little beauties – 6 total. A lot of effort for 6 macarons. But they were fabulous.
I think I’ll have to combine and play with recipes to get one that works for me. There will be an attempt number three, but I need a few weeks off…
The croissant adventure took even more effort (and a few more swear words under my breath) but the results were more tangible. I woke up thinking that we could have warm croissants out of the oven by mid morning, but after what felt like I whole day, it was 5pm and they were just coming out of the oven. So much for breakfast!
Croissant making is something I feel I could get the hang of after one more go. I might try a half recipe next time – there were too many croissants to eat in a weekend and I had seen how much butter went into the batch (a WHOLE pound!!).
I’ll need to perfect the rolling technique – both when folding the dough each time, and when shaping the croissants before they go into the oven. Not bad though for a first try!