One of my friends, and reader of the blog (hi Pam!), suggested I should try making some French macarons. As it happens, I already have so in honor of her request, I thought I’d share the process with you. In North America, most of us think of macaroons as a pile of coconut, sometimes covered in chocolate. In France, the macaron is a very different thing. While we may pronounce them the same way, there's really nothing similar about them.
|What a macaron should look like|
Back in November I decided to take on the challenge of making macarons for a friend’s birthday. As far as I can remember she has loved these things since living in the UK. This same friend was the recipient of the chocolate-covered sponge toffee I posted about way back when.
If you’re ever planning on making macarons, I beg you, don’t spend too much time searching the internet. While I managed to find myself a good recipe to work from, I also freaked myself out big time. Some say the eggs need to rest at room temperature for days. Apparently, the older the egg white, the better the macaron. The batter must sit at room temperature for an hour before baking to ensure the proper “foot”, etc, etc. The information all started to seem so daunting that I almost didn’t do it. I’m glad I did.
I ended up using David Lebovitz’s chocolate macaron recipe. Somehow it seemed slightly less scary than the others I found. I also improvised the chocolate ganache filling I used. I melted together some semi-sweet chocolate chips, leftover dark chocolate, and the extra whipping cream I had left from a batch of salted caramel. I wish I had a picture of the final product with the filling. I thought they turned out quite well. While they didn’t look exactly like the ones from the bakeries, my friend seemed more than pleased with her gift. I had never tried a macaron before, so I had nothing to compare them to, but I thought they were pretty tasty.
|Not quite as smooth as the "real thing"|
|Before adding the filling|
While I wouldn’t go out making these every day, I definitely suggest you give them a try. There was quite a sense of satisfaction when they came out of the oven looking something like the pictures I’d seen. Also, in doing more reading after the fact, I came across the blog BraveTart. She makes these things every single day and has put together a list of the top 10 macaron myths and has also kindly provided her recipe. If you’re going to try them out check out her site.
Have you ever tried baking or cooking something that scared the bejeezus out of you for fear it was going to fail?