Nguyen Le, the aspiring macaron baker

SAN JOSE, CALIF. — Last year, Nguyen Le, a freshman, decided to take on the trickiest challenge in baking: making macarons. 

Being one of her favorite desserts, Le wanted to be able to enjoy them without spending much money. She watches various YouTubers, like Sugar Bean 슈가빈, to learn the techniques. Le shared her tips, “One: oven thermometers are a must because ovens lie.” Most of the time, ovens on YouTube videos will call for different temperatures because they may operate differently. “Second: always use a scale if the recipe calls for grams or ounces. Never use cups, teaspoons and tablespoons.” Measurements are intricate details that often mess you up. 

The sophistication of macarons appeals to Le the most. She isn’t intending in trying out other desserts yet and works on mastering macarons instead. Whenever Le’s mind is set to something, she is determined to finish it, giving all her patience and perseverance along the way. Le wants to continue sharing her bakes with her family and friends. “I want to express my gratitude toward my loved ones through the care I put into my macarons.” 

Nguyen baked macarons for friends on Valentine’s Day

The results of Le’s first attempt were disastrous. The batter was overmixed, the macarons weren’t rested long enough, they were underbaked and the meringue was under whipped. They hardly looked edible, let alone a macaron. Despite the mess, she felt more motivated to try again and again with newly acquired knowledge. “It made me realize why macarons are so expensive; it took me five hours to make a mere batch of failed macarons. You need a great deal of diligence if you are going to learn how to make macarons.”

Le’s very first batch of macarons

Improvements have shown through her latest batch. She experimented with a new filling, strawberry buttercream. The macarons had a balance between crispy and chewy. The tops were smooth. “I can now eat macarons without the expense of my money and I’m proud of myself for that.” Le plans on trying different fillings, such as lemon buttercream and raspberry ganache in the future.

Le’s latest batch of strawberry buttercream macarons

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