Monday, March 21, 2011

Macarons...if I can too!

I finally took the plunge!  Since returning from France, I have been yearning to make macarons.  We ate some amazing macarons while in France.  Not just the famous ones from Laduree, but some incredible ones from a local macaron lady (this was at our village's weekly farmer's market).  I've been dreaming about making them since we returned.  Alas, I've read so many blogs about how difficult they are to make, that I haven't attempted it.  I'm not big on planned failure.  At least not until now.

While reading one of my favorite blogs, Eat, Live, Travel, Writewhere the amazing Mardi and Mr. Neil create amazing food, amazing pictures and amazing stories, I was again amazed at Mardi's incredible macarons (she participates in a monthly macaron challenge at MacTweets).   As I was reading various MacTweets submissions, I stumbled upon PastryPal's blog, which has a step by step tutorial for making macarons (all you have to do is give her your email and she sends you the link).  Once I read the tutorial, I was sold.  I even had almond flour in my pantry from a previous Dorie recipe.

Piped and drying
Macarons really aren't that difficult, as long as you follow a few simple rules.  Don't under beat your egg whites and don't over beat them.  Let your piped macarons sit until they are dry before you bake them and then let them cool before you remove them from the cookie sheet.

My first batch were the traditional almond macaron with a chocolate ganache filling.  Turns out my macarons were baby sized (the tutorial said to pipe them nickel sized, which I did) and I ended up with a lot of ganache left, so I tackled some chocolate macarons also.  So, in one day, I made about 200 macarons (which became about, not from my eating them...but from making them into sandwiches).  These puppies are quite addictive and we are going through the 100 or so quite quickly (plus I gave a few away).

Look at those beautiful feet!
I am over the top happy with my first attempt at the elusive macaron.  The first batch had the beautiful "foot" that is required for a proper macaron.

The only issue with them is they were a little tall for their small diameter, so they tended to tip over once they were sandwiched together.  Kind of like weebles...except when they wobbled they did fall over.  I made the chocolate ones a little larger, so their proportion was a bit better.  I am looking forward to experimenting with a variety of flavors now that I feel like I've got the basics down.  I know salted caramels are in my future and maybe a coconut concoction (that I'll have to eat all by myself since the boys are coconut phobes)!  If you've got a favorite flavor, let me know!

My favorite shot...the leaning tower of macarons!

Because, you can never have enough macaron shots!


Allison said...

OMG. There's a bakery in Vancouver that makes a champagne macaron! YUM! The idea of making them myself is crazy. I love that you did! You go girl!

Creating Amazing Meals said...

Wow, Steph! I am totally impressed! I really want to make macarons - I have the almond flour & everything. One of these days, I will! Thanks for the inspiration.

Anne Marie said...

Beautiful, Steph, even the wobbly ones! These are one of my favorite treats. They look so good, like you could just keep popping them in your mouth, one after another.

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Wow what a great first attempt! Thanks for the shoutout - I am glad I have some decent macs on there if people head over. They would have been scared off by my first attempts.

There is some great info here:

about macaron myths, including the fact that if you have the batter correct, you hould not need to rest them, I never do. Lenôtre don't either. Still with these fussy little things, whatever works I guess!

Here's to MANY MORE successful macs on your blog!!!!

Cher said...

Yeah, Steph. I keep eyeballing macaroons, but I am not quite ready to plunge yet. But with inspiration like this, I am getting braver!

Anonymous said...

These look great for your first attempt! I'm going to tackle these fairly soon, but I have to make a trip to Sur La Table first! Great job!

Ms. Hobby said...

Those look great! I didn't like coconut as a kid, so there is hope your son might grow to enjoy them, maybe in the right macaron, perhaps? ;)

Kathy said...

Steph, Great job! I have had eggs out on my counter twice in the last month so that I could make these. I have not gotten around to it yet. They are something I am looking forward to trying. It's the challenge. Yours looks incredible!

Irina@PastryPal said...

Fantastic! I'm so glad you didn't let anything stand in the way of making them for the first time. The little wobbly ones are so cute, though maybe the directions should say to pipe them the size of a quarter?
Thank you for the shout-out and congrats! It's just the macaron beginning.

Mary said...

These really do look wonderful. To get macarons on your first attempt speaks well of your skills as a baker. This is my first visit to your blog and I have really enjoyed browsing through your earlier entries. I love the food and recipes you feature here and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a gret day. Blessings...Mary

SoupAddict said...

Beautiful! It's pressure-filled, isn't it, that moment when you peek in the oven to look for the feet. Of course, my peeps think I'm crazy, being happy over such a thing as macaron feet. Well done!

Gloria said...

You know I have never had this type of macaron. But I've been intrigued since they seem to be all over the blog-o-sphere. They look so elegant. Thanks for sharing your experience...I would like to tackle this challenge this fear too! Your macarons look beautiful. :)

A.W. said...

Hi Steph!

Thank you so much for writing to me. You're always so very sweet! I have been trying to go back to spoonables, but something always calls me away at the last minute. In fact, I even made the quinoa dish and snapped some photos, but the dearly beloved hubby hire a crew of workers to do some landscaping for us and so whatever time was not spent with Jitterbug, I was in the yard. The landscapers were here for three days and whoosh!!! Time fled from me again.

But in the last four months, I haven't been completely silent. I have tiptoed my way into creating a new blog focused on my artistic endeavors:

Hopefully in the next week or two, I'll post some artwork on that. And I'll try again to return to spoonable. I did make the eclairs (absolutely loved those!) and will seriously try to post it.

But a HUGE thank you for your very kind note. It brought a smile to my lips and that little kick for me to try a bit harder to come back.

P.S.: Loved your macarons. You're such an inspiration. I've yet to try one and can't seem to find any bakery nearby that makes them, so maybe I'll just have to bake some myself.

P.S.S.: Happy belated birthday! Hope you had a sinfully good time in Vegas! Did you by chance stay at the Aria Resort? I ask because my ten year old (Ladybug) is named Aria and she has it in her head that the place is named for her!!!

She's a dreamer like her mother....