As anyone who has ever attempted to make French macaroons, aka macarons (those delicate and dainty little celestial bites of heaven made of almond meal, unicorn tears and angel breath), will admit, there is nothing straight-forward about making them and can be very difficult to make. You could follow a particular recipe to the T and things could still go horribly wrong leaving you with cracked, bumpy and/or lumpy shells and a dejected, heartbroken soul. The fact that despite following a recipe with the most care and attention one could STILL not end up with picture perfect macarons is the bit that terrifies most bakers as the cost of ingredients alone, namely almonds, is nothing to be sniffed at. And even if an attempt was a success, it's not guaranteed that the next go would follow suit, which further exasperates.
So why are macarons so difficult to make? Technique, well-honed "macaronage" skills and the best equipment money can buy aside there is a certain element out of our control which without considerable experience one may not know how to adjust for, and that's the atmosphere. Humidity to be precise.
French macaroons are incredibly sensitive to moisture above everything. This is why some recipes call for "ageing egg whites" as when egg whites get old they loose some moisture. Some recipes also recommend powdered food colouring over liquid, again to control the water content in the batter. In countries with high humidity almost year-round it is recommended to have the air-conditioning on while making them. It is true that these hints and tips, along with the important macaron batter folding technique, help when making smaller batches at home, as the smaller the batch the less tolerance there is, but ultimately it is only practice (and perseverance) that makes perfect. And perfect macarons are so so SO worth pursuing!
In the words of Roosevelt, "Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty...". We'll assume he was referring to macarons just for this post's sake. So fear not, go on and get baking! Here is a much more detailed recipe explaining the steps clearly to get those perfect pretty frilly 'feet' and shiny domes. We use it everyday in our professional kitchens tweaking it here and there to suit us when needed and encourage you to do the same to make it your own. And in case you need a break (or really cannot be bothered) buy macarons online right here and get them delivered - how's that for easy!