Macarons, part deux

Figuring I’d keep striking while the oven’s hot, this afternoon marked my second foray into the macaron-making process. Flavor du jour — lemon.

I’m quickly deducing that sifting the almond meal is my least-favorite and most time-consuming step of the whole recipe. It took forever, scattered almond crumbs all over the kitchen, and I had to use two separate sieves because they kept clogging up. After I’d finally sifted an entire lightly packed cup’s worth, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and stirred it through the powdered sugar.

Instead of mixing vanilla bean into the batter, this time I went with lemon zest and a few drops of yellow food coloring. Unfortunately, when I mixed the almond meal/powdered sugar in, the dark flecks of almond made the whole concoction look like Dijon mustard. Not exactly appealing. The appearance improved somewhat after baking, but the yellow food coloring got totally lost somewhere along the way. (If anyone knows a trick for achieving a uniform color and consistency, I’m all ears.)

For the filling, I whipped up a batch of homemade lemon curd in a double boiler, another first and not too difficult to do. After an hour in the fridge, it was DELICIOUS, a sort of ridiculously thick, rich lemon frosting.

Again, the texture and taste of the cookies turned out well, but the appearance is still not perfect in my discriminating eyes. I slathered on the lemon curd and started assembling them, but the curd was so thick, I shattered several of the delicate cookies before getting the hang of just how much pressure to use. And I overdid the lemon curd on the first few — as it warmed to room temperature, it melted a little bit and oozed down the sides of the macarons. No matter. I’ll save the “mistakes” for myself.

a few of the more photogenic final products

I’ve got tons of lemon curd leftover. This may call for a batch of scones…

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