06 September 2008

my attempt at macarons

a stack of blue macarons from Laduree

Macarons, the oh so cute cookies from France! My obsession started (i think) in December 2007 when macarons began to pop up on all the baking blogs. Every blog I visited, someone was making them. And, how could I not fall in love with them as well? They are tiny, have hundred of variations, and most of all, look like little hamburgers! Anything mini, I love. Only... I had never tasted a macaron! I was only in love with them visually.

A website I discovered, paris breakfasts, featured these little cookies occasionaly through adorable watercolor paintings. And my obsession could only grow!

I was determined to make them as well. But I had never tasted one! And as I read the recipes and guides online, I was petrified as I discovered that they are very very finicky cookies and have lots of problems! They don't like to rise, they crumble, they don't have feet, the temperature must be exact, there can't be too much humidity, you must set out your egg whites... so many complications! ...I decided I would wait until I had a lot of time before I tried.

Then, in March I went to New York and visited a French chocolate shop, La Maison du Chocolat - which, I knew had chocolate, but I was ecstatic when I glimpsed some macarons stacked very nicely on the side: I could finally taste a real macaron from France! And taste I did, I bought one of each flavor, 6 total, and happily munched on them for the next few days. Yum yum!

Of course... then I went to la France in July and tasted many many more macarons there - but that is another story! Today's story is how I finally made my own macarons, thanks to Christophe Felder!

Les macarons de Christophe by Christophe Felder

I purchased his book, Les macarons de Christophe, which has wonderful explanations and step by step photos. Of course, it is entirely in French, but it only means more practice for me! (Shopping for books in France, that is an entirely different story as well!)

And so began my attempt at making these finicky macarons, 8 long months after the start of my obsession! There are 2 main methods of making macarons: The Italian style of boiling the sugar and bringing it to room temperature, and the French style of just mixing it all together. The Italian style is more effort, but more stable. The French style is picky as everything must be just right, no room for errors! I tried both, and both worked out well for me :D

The batter, piped onto parchment paper!

Lucky me! Success on the first try! They rose, and they have feet!

And sandwiched together with a pink strawberry almond buttercream paste.

A whole group of macarons!

Of course, success does not come without failure when one experiments - but that is the only way to learn! From left to right: too flat, perfect, and a cracked one! Flat = I added food gel coloring in attempt to get a pink, but it killed my meringue. Cracked = I used a thin baking sheet which heated my macaron too fast.

You must lightly punch in the base of the macaron to make room for the yummy filling!

Uh-oh! Another lesson learned: Let your fillings properly chill in the refrigerator, or else they will run and drip and make a sticky mess! This was a strawberry white chocolate filling.

A good macaron, although a little flat. A mango puree with sugar. Yum!

And that is the end of my first attempt at making macarons! But definitely not the end of my macaron obsession :) Oh! and I cannot forget the kindness of my penpal Tiphaine who surprised me with a macaron kit!
My macaron kit! It came with a gorgeous box, as well as a silicone baking sheet, piping bag and tips, and most importantly: a book full of recipes! But, this gift is another story as well.

And that's all for now, until next time!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful. But where are the instructions in English? Please. P-l-e-a-s-e. Puhrutty please.

Nate-n-Annie said...

very pretty. The blue ones are so striking.

Fifi Flowers said...

Those blue ones are gorgeous... I'm borrowing them for a post... I will be linking it to you and this post... ENJOY!
BTW... the post will be run on Monday 4/6/09

Kathy's Red Door Welcome said...

I can't believe you made these delectable macaroons. I was in Paris in '08 and went to La Duree where they sold macaroons by the bucketful. I'd never tasted anything like them before. Then I was in Westwood, Ca. and ran across a bakery apropriately called
Paris, and they had these yummy cookies, but they wanted four dollars for one cookie. Yikes! Thanks for sharing the book that teaches you how to make them. Hooray!

Jan's Art said...

Yummm. I too have an obsession with macaroons ever since I sampled them in Paris. Haven't been brave enough to try them myself. I just keep collecting macaroon recipes and one day I will be brave enough to try them!

JUliee said...

awesome!!! congrats ^^