Macarons

I had to try them eventually.  After all, they are half of the namesake of the blog.  Macarons have been my absolute favorite sweet treat for many, many years.  I can say with firm certainty that I was a super fan well before they have become the rage.  They were my preference even when cupcakes were the “in thing”.   I’ve had my fair share of macarons.  Some good and some not so great.  My first macaron was from Bouchon Bakery in NYC.  I told myself that they were a relatively harmless treat since the meringue shells are made with egg whites, almond flour and sugar.  The only source of butter is the inside (if buttercream is used).  Plus, they are fairly small.  So, 2 cookies for a snack made me feel a bit virtuous. I told myself I was being much smarter to pick a macaron over a cupcake.  That is true. Unless you eat 12 in a sitting.

Since Bouchon, I have had them from Laudree (straight from Paris and from it’s location in NYC), various bakeries in my area and even from the freezer section of Trader Joes.  They aren’t cheap..although the Trader Joes ones are a bargain at $4.99 for a box of 12.  My husband even had a macaron tower constructed for me for my 50th birthday in lieu of a birthday cake.  He often jokes with me saying I should learn to make them to make my addiction more cost effective.

So, on another snow day this past month, I set out to do it.  The ingredients are minimal.  I had everything except the almond flour at my disposal.  I just needed the time and patience.  I read recipes, watched videos and set forth and made the commitment.

The batter came together pretty easily, just as the recipe and videos showed. img_1628

I was rocking it through this stage.  The piping of the macarons got a little hairy.  I was proactive in making a template so they would all be exactly 1 1/2 inches around,  While I had the pastry tip, I did not have a large pastry bag on hand, so I used a gallon ziplock bag to make a pastry bag.  A good idea in theory, but batter leaked out of the top of the bag and there was a ton of wasted batter.  Plus, a shaky hand lent itself to odd shaped circles and various sizes.  I rummaged through my cabinets and found a mechanical pastry bag I bought from Williams Sonoma many years ago.  This ended up doing the trick and gave me more confidence to pipe better circles.  Unfortunately they don’t make it anymore.  So, I’m glad I have mine.

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They came out pretty good for my first attempt and I am definitely not afraid to make them again and I’m excited to experiment with other flavors.  Lessons I learned from macaron making is I need time and patience.  Lots of sifting and time to let the cookies rest before baking and time to let them “bloom” after completion before eating.

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If you are inclined to try them, the recipe from Tasty gave me the confidence to make my favorite treat of all time!

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