Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Going over the top

I am not a big spender by nature.  I don't go buying things, especially for myself.  However, when I am passionate about something, say, a new craft I want to learn and master, I really tend to be impulsive. Very impulsive. I buy stuff...lots of them. I purchase them on a whim, without second thoughts, thinking they are all necessities even if they aren't.

When I was into rosary-making, I had an oversupply of beads, a lot of them I later sold in bulk on eBay.  When I started sewing, I shopped regularly for fabric, many not even good ones. I would make bags I didn't even need or had any use for.  When I shifted to baking and cake decorating, I bought books, cake pans, tools. Again, lots of them. Now, I have cupboards and boxes filled with bits and pieces that sometimes I don't even know where to look when I need something.

Then came the macarons.

Firstly, I wasn't contented with what I read online and so I bought books.

Six printed ones...

Kindle versions of this and this...

And an eBook.

Seriously, how many different recipes can there really be?  How unique can one book be compared to the others? Still. I love books.  I love reading them over and over.  I love looking at the pictures.  I love collecting them. So yeah, I can never have enough.

Next, I thought I needed Silpats and silicone mats in my quest to find which liner is the best alternative to baking paper. Silpats made in France are quite costly while silicone mats from China are cheap.

During a trip to Target, I then saw an inexpensive food processor.  I bought it because I only owned a mini one and my excuse was that I was going to use it constantly in the kitchen anyway.  More baking sheets followed suit.

Last but not the least, I did the ultimate.  I got this...

It's a 4.6 liter Mauviel copper bowl.  I read how eggwhites whip better when it reacts with copper. Did I really need it?  Absolutely not! I can successfully beat eggwhites stiff in a stainless steel bowl even with my eyes closed. Curiosity just got the best of me. (*Note: I didn't buy the stand.  That's from a casserole dish I already had and it works well for this purpose.)

I couldn't use this copper bowl with my KitchenAid stand mixer though I did have an old hand mixer. But when my husband suggested that we redeem our Flybuys points for something, guess what we chose?

A KitchenAid hand mixer. (At least, this one we got for free.)  Believe me when I say that not all hand mixers are created equal! This little thing is beautiful.  It is so powerful and it hardly makes any noise!

So then, with all these things at my disposal, have I mastered the macaron?  Since my last post (two months ago!), I have made hundreds of them, some perfect, some not so perfect.

Chocolate macarons with dulce de leche

Coconut macarons

Purple macarons with dark chocolate ganache

Vanilla macarons with cashew butter

Lemon macarons
Malted chocolate macarons
I certainly have not mastered the macaron.  Nevertheless, I am more confident in making it, so much so that I am now proud to give them as gifts. I have learned heaps from experimenting, using different techniques and of course, the variety of things I showed above.  I don't recommend for anyone else to go over the top like I did because, yes, you can make a good macaron without those.  (I am in fact ashamed about what I had just shared with you. It's a sickness, I think.) What's more important is patience, practice and getting to know your oven.


Till next time.  Hopefully, I will not take too long again.  Enjoy the rest of your week!

PS. Let us not forget about the cakes!  You can view the new ones on my Flickr, if you wish.