Tuesday, May 10, 2011

19. (Traditional) French Macarons

I finally tackled this challenging cookie that seems to almost have a cult-like following. I have been researching how to make macarons for months, possibly over a year. I have read nearly anything and everything I could get my hands on, but I never felt the urge to actually make them. This was definitely one challenge that I would have researched to death and possibly never attempted.

But, low and behold my friend, Ms. Bride, planned a “Make-up and Macarons” party as a get-together in preparation for the wedding. The Bride’s friend, who I consider a macaron aficionado, has been busy working and would possibly not be able to make the macarons. Knowing that I bake (a lot), she asked me could I help. I told her I would try; never wanting to disappoint a friend.

After all the research I completed, I thought it would be best to try the Italian method—hot sugar syrup into egg whites. But after just being plain ol’ lazy and deciding I did not want to make a sugar syrup, I choose the French method. I used one of the more famous recipes on-line, of which I will not name because I am not sure if I liked it. But I used the mixing method of a different blogger, which I think worked fabulously.

Anyway, here is my first attempt at the dreaded (and potentially wonderful) macarons. The purple ones are plain almond macaron shells filled with either chocolate ganache or bourbon vanilla swiss meringue buttercream. The orange ones are orange zinger macaron shells with either chocolate ganache or bourbon vanilla swiss meringue buttercream filling.

I have never had a proper macaron before making these. So, I was not sure of how they should taste or how the texture should be, more than crisp shell that gives way to a chewy center, as I read on-line. I thought they were simply okay. I do see the potential for the more outlandish and extravagant flavor combinations I have seen on-line, but I honestly do not think macarons are my thing. I think I like the idea of the challenge and will probably be making them again (I want to try the Italian method), but I will probably not be a emphatic macaron consumer, which I believe is more than okay; different strokes for different folks.

The greatest sense of accomplishment came when these cookies, about 7-8 minutes into its baking time, started to develop feet. When I cut my oven light on and discovered my macarons had feet (the little ruffled edge that forms around the bottom of the shell and seem to allude many macaron bakers), I danced around my kitchen island screaming “They have feet! They have feet!” My mother thought I was crazy. None the less, my first attempt at macarons was deemed successful because the ones that I shared them with enjoyed them and like their taste and THAT is what matters most!

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