Intro to Macarons (for me, anyway)

Paul, December 30, 2011

Macarons. Little almond/meringue based cookies with creamy fillings that seem to be all the rage these days or for the past several years at least. There are elite shops set up that sell just macarons in all varieties of flavours and colours, the most famous of these being Pierre Hermé (left and center pics below) and Ladurée, both out of Paris, natch.

  

Researching these cookies, one is left with the distinct impression that they require not only skill of the highest degree but intricate steps and rituals known only to the anointed.  Mere mortals can expect endless failure, best to leave it to the pros, kids.

And at prices tipping the $2 – $2.50 mark per cookie, it’s understandable that those who make them want to keep them pretty exclusive. It would, for example, cost you about $700 for the cookies visible in the photo of the display case seen above. Of course, you’re also paying for the high-brow location, the perfectly appointed stylish shop (yes, it is lovely), extra fancy packaging and a fairly large dose of lah-dee-dah.

Inspiration for Macarons

Enter Stella Parks of BraveTart.com and pastry chef at Table 310 in Lexington, KY. Her viewpoint: They’re just cookies, people! There’s nothing magical about them (although they are pretty damn tasty) and you don’t need to set up a sacrificial altar to the macaron gods to make them successfully.

And Stella knows what she speaks of. She makes these by the hundreds each week so has developed a very successful process that knocks out all the finicky, excess steps. And best of all, she shares her recipe and tips on her blog: Basic Macaron Recipe here, the Ten Commandments of what you must do here, and lastly, Ten Macaron Myths Busted here.

Naturally, I decided to give these little goodies a try. In fact, two tries at this point.

What I’ll do is break the process down into three parts:

  1. Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  2. Almond Flour (pretty simple, really)
  3. Making Macarons

I’ll give each of these their own posts so it doesn’t turn into a ginormous long essay and you can print each process out individually, using the very handy PrintFriendly button below every post on the blog.

Speaking of, did you know you can nab a bookmark bar button that lets you print any page easily without lots of excessive info and graphics? Check out the PrintFriendly page for details and add it to your browser(s) now. It will make grabbing recipes and info SOOO much simpler for you! Do it before you hop over to Sally’s pages, too.

Alrighty then, let’s get going on these babies, shall we? Next up: Swiss meringue Buttercream!


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