If you asked me month ago if seventeen days is enough to learn new skill or at least get to grips with something that you have not practised extensively or done on daily basis, I would say yes. With no hesitation. Obviously assuming that we were not talking about learning new language or working out guiding principles of theory of general relativity.
Seventeen days, that’s over 400 hours, half of which theoretically could be dedicated to mastering the skill. Practice makes perfect, they say!
I wasn’t even close to spending 200 hours in the kitchen within last three weeks, but for some irrational reason- as I was going to soon find out- I woke up this morning with a strong desire of baking macaroons. Those shapely, colourful treats appear to be one of the bastions when it comes to mastering baking skills. I wanted to try myself and find out whether I am able to deliver.
I heard too many stories to think that recipe for macaroons is easy. It does seem to be quite straightforward at first glance, but as always, devil is in the detail.
Let me tell you, nothing about macaroons is easy! Even sifting almond flour proves to require technique and knowledge. (And I thought I did my research thoroughly…) Despite difficulties I made sure to grind almonds as many times as needed to be able to sift them though extra fine sieve. I felt a bit like in a lab; measuring, weighting, trying to be as precise as possible. Quite successfully I got to the point where all ingredients were in one bowl and mix of very satisfying colour and texture was right there, at my hand. How hopeful I was putting baking tray into the oven… I even took a photo! That’s how proud I was.
Well, that was the first and the last photo I’d taken of my macaroons. As soon as the door of the oven popped open the air escaped the dough and left macaroons completely deflated. I am not sure what I did wrong, it could have been anything.
I got a lesson of humility. Cooking is a science, so is baking. And it cannot be underestimated or rushed.
There is one more thing I learnt within these 17 days; you cannot give up, no matter what. There is always room for an improvement. It is important to quite quickly embrace the reality and come up with an alternative solution. I wouldn’t allow myself to write ‘Day 18- was meant to be macaroons but didn’t work out’.
Having half of the bowl of divine ingredients I decided to mix in some more almond flour and make more traditional, pancake-looking, soft sponge cake with chocolate buttercream- a.k.a remedy for all the sorrows. For those who were hoping to see some haut cuisine – deconstructed version 😉 Voila!