But far more undiscussed is the beating and folding and that is where my problems lie. I believe that in some cases I have been so anxious about overbeating the eggs to a dry consistency that I actually underbeat them and the mixture was runny so no “foot”. Then another time I beat the egg whites to perfection and folded in the dry ingredients but all it takes is one or two extra folds and they are overfolded, too fluid, and then - no “foot”. So I finally think that I have gotten to know the “right” consistency and I thnk that success or failure in this little cookie is far more in the flip of your very own wrist with your very own whisk rather than how long the whites are left out (also important though) or how fine the flour is (also important though).
I think this is precisely the reason these babies are difficult to master! Most of the blog articles I’ve read say to fold until the batter “flows like magma” but what on earth does that mean? I’ve never been near an active volcano in my entire life (and have no wish to be)! So I finally took a course here just to find out what the batter should look like, consistency wise.
The French teacher used the Italian meringue method. Sugar syrup heated to 118C, but she only started whipping the whites when the sugar was very close to temp. They were still at the ‘foamy’ stage when she poured the syrup in. Meringue was whipped until temp was between 38C to 42C, then folded into dry ingredients. Her check for the right consistency was when the batter fell from the spatula in a thick continous ribbon.