Mistake #1: Not Having the Proper Equipment
YOU WILL NEED AN ACTUAL, FOR-REAL SIFTER . . . you know, the one with the squeeze handle or crank. Don't think you can "make do" with a colander/strainer thing as a sifter. Believe us, You. Will. Regret. It. After making two batches, sifting each one three times, we decided we did not have the patience to be pastry chefs. In fact, I vowed during one of the sifting cycles (while Thelma was desperately calling neighbors to find a good sifter) to never make French macaroons again, but I quickly reneged on that as soon as I tasted them.
Also, if you don’t have the right pastry bag tip, the chocolate macaroons will turn out looking like dog poo (see exhibit 1).
Mistake #2: Mismanagement of Time
Don't attempt this little endeavor when you are on a time schedule. Poor Thelma had to finish baking and cleaning her kitchen without me (which she claims took 2 hours!). We had no idea how long making these jewels would take (in part due to the fact we didn't have a real sifter) and I had to get home to relieve my sitters.
Mistake #3: Being Overzealous
We were so excited about making these delectable desserts that we wanted to try several different flavors. We planned on making a butter cream, a chocolate butter cream, Italian cream, and chocolate ganache filling but only were able to finish the first three (see mistake #2). You should chose one flavor and go with it. In our opinion, the Italian cream filling on chocolate macaroons are TO DIE FOR! That's all you need, we promise.
Mistake #4: Misinterpretation of the Recipe
When using Martha's recipe (which we did), know that when it says it will make 35 cookies, its means 35 actual cookies. Somehow we interpreted this to mean we'd get 70 cookies and then have 35 once they where sandwiched together. My husbands exact words were " You two worked that long and that hard to make three cookies?" Okay, granted we got more than three cookies, it wasn't much more.
We really do plan on doing this again, but next time we will be more prepared. Isn't it true you learn as you go?
Yes, we know, they aren't as pretty as some of the pics you've seen on the web but they sure were tasty!