I've never been camping.
As a kid growing up just outside of cottage country, it seemed almost expected that part of every summer would be spent in the great outdoors, but growing up with a mother who was very vocally against all things tent, ground, and bug related, the wilderness and I never had much of a relationship.
I guess that's why when I think of camping I think of s'mores. I may not be able to relate to the feeling of sleeping under the stars, or building a big campfire from scavenged twigs and branches, but shoving gooey marshmallow, melty chocolate, and crunchy graham cracker into my face ... that's something I can definitely identify with, in any format. Today's blog is an amazing recipe from Bakers Royale that takes this classic combination and turns it into something a little more refined ... a macaron.
The simplicity of the s'more, in that it's really just three ingredients sandwiched together, definitely has a certain universal appeal. The simplicity of the macaron ... is an oxymoron. If you've never made them before, or maybe haven't even heard of them, macarons (not to be confused with macaroons, which are little mounds of coconut mediocrity) are little cookie-like sandwiches that have a reputation for being notoriously tricky to master. The egg whites have to be a perfect consistency, the almond meal the perfect texture, and it has to be mixed JUST enough but not too much (somewhere I read that it's helpful to think of the consistency of flowing lava ... as if that's something we're all used to have dripping from our spatulas). The sign of a perfect macaron is that once baked, it has a ruffled edge called a "pied" or "foot" in English, otherwise it becomes a flattened disk of sadness. (honestly this is probably the only time you want feet anywhere near your baked goods).
Now, dear readers, some people will tell you this is an easy thing to accomplish. For some people it's something that actually does come easy (I'm convinced these people are martians and not to be trusted) while the rest of us just fake it. But believe me when I tell you ... I am not a macaron master.
Exhibit A: Half of my macaron shells were footless (and I'm still not entirely sure how I managed this).Exhibit B: Instead of using almond meal I thought "I'll make my own" and ground some bleached almonds (good in theory, however trying to do ten things at once in typical me fashion, I overground them into a paste. almond butter anyone?).
Exhibit C: I ran out of butane for my kitchen torch so the "toasted marshmallow filling" lacked any semblance of toastiness (still delicious though).
I could probably go through the alphabet here but the main thing is that although I will probably never be macaron maker extraordinaire, I tried something new and I had fun with it, and that's what I encourage all of you to do. Find a recipe that may intimidate you, get into the kitchen and go for it. Even if it doesn't turn out perfectly the first time, you'll have gained a new skill or two. Troubleshoot, tweak things, and try again. You got this. I believe in you.
And, as always ...