A Letter to the Elusive Vegan French Macaron

An Overworked Kitchen
Toronto, Canada
February 13th, 2017

Dear Vegan Macaron,
Bonjour!
You have seemingly become one of the most profound culinary discoveries this decade, much to the delight of enthusiastic vegans & vegetarians such as myself. A riveting creation with bloggers and foodies responding maniacally(again,such as me). Stalwarts in veganism have challenged & battled the ‘Egg’ to recreate the delicacy that bears little forgiveness to it’s maker. You surprisingly imitate not just the supremely elegant,tantalizing looks of your non- vegan friend but thoroughly infatuate the taste buds too. The chewy goodness and melt in the mouth factor have indubitably been captivated. You are no fake my dear, rather, an identical twin…
Allow me to abate the flattery so I can come to the point. It is of my opinion that no baker is satiated well enough until he/she masters or at the least, attempts the task of conjuring the glorious French Macaron. With this, I  begin this intense, heartfelt and veritable account of my journey with you. Please allow me to bare my heart and I pray you take no offence. I have no intention of appearing impertinent or petulant. I’m just a mad, incorrigible baker that has discovered an authentic, calming remedy for insomnia,  a learner that is on a tranquil quest to decipher the cryptic myths & mysteries of baking, and, at the bottom of it all, I’m just a soul that loves insanely, to eat, experience & live….

“What will be, will be…”
One blazing afternoon in the soaring summer of 2016, as Doris Day crooned to “Que Sera Sera”, I arduously jotted down the recipe from Blog #1. Many hours were spent reading, re-reading & registering a detailed instruction manual, to the point that it was indelibly ingrained. The author, a kind lady must have spent tedious hours drafting the inner workings of it all for the benefit of her readers. I was captivated and floating in nervous elation.

To some I may seem a tad impatient but set me to do a creative task & I am instantly overcome by the patience of a saint. Aquafaba was whipped to a snowy white meringue and powdery almonds were sieved painstakingly. Le macaronage was done without an ounce of care or concern for my aching biceps. The batter flowed like thick ribbons of hot lava, delicately amalgamating with the remaining batter. The Pipe-wait- bake-wait drill was unduly carried out as well. Soft words of encouragement came from my eternal cheerleader, the hopeful husband. Yet, I failed, miserably. The shells were lopsided!

Backing to the drawing board the following day only to be struck by disaster. The adage, “Third time’s a charm” is preseumably a myth since the catastrophe occurred again. I won’t go on my dear, for 6 attempts within a span of one week led to a similar ordeal. Where was I going wrong?
Well, the chapter finally  came to a close, not without the utterance of a seething string of profanities.

“Someday we’ll find it, the Rainbow Connection….”
Despite the series of disappointments, the winter of 2016, instilled in me a desire to take a chance. Winter inspires in a myriad of ways. The liberating chilly breeze, the gray skies. The night in question was a snowy one, snowflakes descending like cotton fluffs. My heart was full, spirits high. Gwen Stefani sang a soulful “Rainbow Connection” , emphasizing the magic of wishes, the tangibility of dreams….
I bet my hopes on a new recipe from Blog #2 and the miracles spurring from a flurry, wintry night. This particular recipe involved the making of a French Meringue(vegan of course) as opposed to the Italian Meringue done previously. Three times my heart was blown to smithereens. The shells were lopsided! I will confess, two of those fateful attempts, the batter was a pathetic mess and I had to toss it out before it was even piped.

Blog #3 had a much more detailed plan with definite reasons for lopsided shells/Uneven feet and pictures accompanying literature. Another glimmer of hope. Another brand of almond powder. Another round of tinkering with the oven temperatures. This recipe employed the Italian Meringue technique and it was the best macaron batter I had achieved, even if I say so myself. The result you ask? The shells were lopsided.

Now, intense research has taught me that of all reasons that are have been attributed to lopsided shells, the one thing that is not in my control is an oven that heats unevenly. At the risk of sounding petty, I have to say, it is conceivable that this is perhaps true. More than that, the other reasons attributed have been scrupulously checked for. After 11 valiant attempts, enormous expenses at the grocery (although I never resorted to making full batches), an unhealthy amount of  sugar intake and countless nights scrubbing unkempt utensils and kitchen sinks, I think I deserve to place the blame elsewhere!

That said, this is not Au revoir my friend. The curious case of the Vegan Macaron will be deciphered. If this tumultuous ordeal has taught me anything, it’s that I can be a fighter. I’m not quitting, just indulging in a long break.
Maybe someday you will appease this chagrined baker, maybe someday I will seize that ineffable joy, maybe someday I will bake the perfect French Vegan Macaron…..

Until then,
A Despaired Baker
P.S – Here’s a picture of my imperfect vegan macaron. The entire flawed area I.e with no feet is hidden behind owing to some smart photography by the husband;)
img_2066

(Thank you for reading this article. I just want to take a moment to thank those wonderful bloggers/bakers who have put in enormous effort in bringing those recipes. Successful or not, I will forever be grateful to them.)

35 thoughts on “A Letter to the Elusive Vegan French Macaron

  1. Ahhh! Divya your post was like a whiff of fresh air on this Saturday morning. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your tryst with baking the perfect macaroons. You put across your thoughts and feelings so well. Always a pleasure reading them.
    I am unable to spot any flaw in your yummy bake😉😉
    Do share the recipe when you are satisfied with your outcome. My son has turned a vegan recently. So would love to bake it for him.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And your comment brought forth a lovely beginning to my weekend! You’re so kind & generous with your compliments. I’m so grateful, you have no idea!😘
      If you can look to the far right, you’ll notice the uneven feet Radhika. It’s far from being flawless trust me!
      I’ll email all the links I used and please try it and make sure you keep me posted. I’m still trying to figure out the problem!🙆🏼

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  2. What a relaxing way to spend an afternoon reading your lovely evocative words from your overworked kitchen. Your macaroons (incidentally one of my favourite things) filled my senses, just lovely. Enjoy your weekend. 🙂☕️

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  3. What a declaration of love and war at the same time! 😉 Thank you so much for turning this rainy morning best spent in bed into a delightful read dear Divya! I feel with you on your way to conquer the vegan French macaron. And I think you’re right on it being the uneven heating oven the source of it. I suffer from a similar specimen though I suspect it’s might be the lightly uneven floor that’s causing the uneven heating in my case. Also I have an electric oven and have heard that for some baking tasks gas is the better choice. What kind do you have?
    By the way I think your macaron looks adorable all the same 😄😋 And I always think taste beats optics as long as you don’t own a restaurant 😉 But being also cursed with the perfectionist gen I know how you must feel about it. Let me asure you that someday you will bake the perfect macaron! Maybe with another oven 😉 xxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sarah
      Thank you for this beautiful comment & taking the time to read. I’m so so grateful🙏🏻 I’m terribly glad you like the article & were able to resonate with me & those emotions😊
      Mine is a gas oven & for everything else that I bake, it’s perfect. That’s why I feel bad blaming the poor oven:(
      Thank you for those wonderful words of encouragement Sarah, you’re so sweet!!
      Coming to the taste part of it, yes, it was nice but many batches were gooey! I still ate it! That’s why I never made full batches of the recipe…just one third most of the time:)
      Thanks once again for this lovely comment:)
      Have a great weekend
      Hugs😘

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You´re very welcome, Divya! 🙂 It´s been a real pleasure to read your article and I hope someday soon you´ll be victorious (I even more hope to be around when that happens and snatch a macaron or two 😉 ).
        I have to admit that I´m not vegan (strange, these days I kind of feel ashamed of that when a decade or two before it would have been the other way round 😉 ) and can´t imagine how difficult it must be to bake without all the classic ingredients, especially eggs! The good thing about not being Vegan is, that I´m “allowed” to eat it too 😀 So, I´m open for all kinds of recipes, especially since I rarely eat meat, maybe once or twice a month. My problem however would be to abstain from milk products because I just love them! I tried out alternatives like soy or almond milk and find that I like them, but they will never be able to substitute milk for me 😉
        Looking very much forward to your next post – love the diversity of them! 🙂 Have a wonderful Sunday and an amazing week, dear friend! xxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. If I am victorious I will send you a whole batch Sarah:) thank you for your positive energy!😊
        Actually I’m not vegan too. I’m vegetarian & Indulge in cheese & other dairy.
        I don’t use eggs. You’re right, it is quite challenging but these days the options are immense! 😊
        Thanks again for the love & for reading & for all the appreciation . It means so much to me! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Woo-Hoo! I will hold you to that promise! 😀 (Imagine me now pushing you gently but firmly into your kitchen 😉 )
        Have a wonderful week, my dear friend! May the kitchen gods and all the others watch over you and help you in all your endeavors! 🙂 Much love! xxxxx ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My goodness, you are persistent! And don’t they taste fine, even if they are a little lopsided?? I bet it’s the uneven oven temp that is causing the problem–it sounds like you’ve covered every other possibility . . .

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    1. Unfortunately most of them were gooey on the inside & some hollow as well. We still ate them! Thank goodness I never made the whole batch. I would always break down the recipe and make few. Thank you for reading Kerry:)

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  5. Loved your post; definitely enjoyable. But hey, you are such a talented baker, am sure you will get this perfected in no time. Also Divya, the pic you posted looks like the most perfect one to me and I can say it would taste great:)
    So do not despair and just enjoy…a wee bit imperfection is ‘perfectly’ fine!

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    1. Thank you Rashmi:) Deepak did some clever photography to hide the flaw. One entire half has no feet, you just can’t see it😉
      It did taste pretty good:)
      Thank you so much for your sweet words of encouragement & reading the article Rashmi😊🙏🏻😅

      Like

  6. You are a great baker, amazing artist and a wonderful writer as well. I enjoy reading all your posts. You write straight from your heart which makes it so interesting to read. You are one extremely talented person who always inspires me ! These macarons look great. I haven’t picked up the courage to bake macarons so far.. Your post makes me want to experiment soon 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gayathri you are too kind to shower me with these lovely compliments. I’m just a learner:) But I’m so grateful for your kind words. Thank you taking the time to read & comment. You have no idea how much this means to me😘
      Glad to have met you & your perfect baking & designing inspires me on so many ways🙏🏻❤️
      Haha as you know by now, the journey with these Macarons has been a little rocky😂
      Please do try it:) If you are looking specifically for Vegan ones I will message you the links I used. The authors are amazing & they all make it so easy:)

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  7. You are a perfectionist, Divya, for in the picture the macaroon looks absolutely perfect. Will you believe me if I tell you that the picture caused me to drool and I have just satisfied my taste buds with my son’s favorite cookie. All the best for more yummy delicacies and perfect ones too! Please do share the recipe too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First of all, I’m so sorry I missed this message & I apologize for the delayed response:(
      You are so incredibly kind! I’m glad you think it’s perfect & I’m so happy you guys indulged in a cookie!
      This one’s been such a long challenge, I felt it necessary to document it:) thank you for the good wishes & thank you so much for reading! I’m so grateful 😍 I’ll definitely share the recipes, please do leave your e mail address

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You are one determined girl! Where did you learn to try and try till you get it perfect?! By the way, the definition of perfect differs as per the situation 😛
    Personally, I would be thankful if I could reach somewhere close to the stage which you call imperfect! But, you are one gifted gem (perfectionist) and would pray that the next attempt makes you smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anu you’re too kind & I’m banking on those prayers for the next time( whenever that will be):)
      Thank you for taking the time to read & the sweet compliments… they totally made my day! Honestly, the first time I’m wasn’t disconcerted. I told myself, “ok they’re not tooo bad. After all it’s only your first attempt!” With the same thing happening every time , it’s led to a tussle!!😉
      Thank you once again for your lovely words! I’m so grateful to have met you here 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  9. How beautiful the words flow, Divya, evocative and redolent with the fresh smell that comes from the home of a baker. I absolutely loved your journey with the French Vegan Macaron…The picture looks flawless to me…
    I surely don’t know which one I liked more, the savoury letter or the superb vegan macaron… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Maniparna
      Thank you so much for those kind words! I’m so grateful🙏🏻
      The journey has been so long & taxing, I felt it necessary to document it. Thank you for reading. The picture has been cleverly manipulated with;) The part with no feet is hidden. Thanks once again for your beautiful comment! So glad to have met you here! Someday if I do perfect these goodies, I wish to share it with you & all my fellow bloggers😊

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Your words flow like magic, my dear. Not only are you a talented baker but you are also a fantastic writer. I may not be a baker, but I can feel your pain of trying out a new recipe and the countless trips to the grocery store to make it perfect. Very well written my dear.

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  11. I am incredibly and irrevocably in love with your writing style! This was fun and full of voice–very lighthearted. Plus, as a vegan, I understand the struggle for macarons. You’re picture, however, definitely shows no flaw in my eyes. Very well done. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so kind! Thank you so much for the appreciation & for taking the time😊 The picture is taken very smartly because the uneven part is hidden! Haha:) It really is a challenge isn’t it? But I hope to keep trying:)

      Liked by 1 person

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