French Macarons

I’m a new fan of macarons.  It all started a few months ago when I visited Paris for a few days.  Traveling on my own, I looked into cooking classes as a way to pass an evening.  The evening class didn’t work out, but a macaron class offered by Cookin’ with Class – an english speaking cooking school in the Montmatre neighborhood – fit best into my schedule.  You know, as much I love cooking I am so naive sometimes!! I had no idea what a macaron was ! So I read about them on a few blogs (which got me thinking about starting this blog – but that’s another topic for another post) and decided to take the class. 

More research – this time of the delicious kind.  I mean, after all, I should know what these macarons taste like, right ?!! So I ordered an assorted box from Pierre Herme online the day before I left for Paris and picked them up at the store the afternoon I arrived.  16 assorted macarons – nirvana !! A little explosion of colors and flavors. The rose, pistachio, lemon, vanilla (yum !), the chocolate/passon fruit (not so much).  Oooh, these could be dangerous!  It was love at first bite.  btw – these Pierre Herme macarons are the one’s pictured on my home page. 

Anyway, I took the class and really enjoyed it.  Rachel Khoo, our teacher, was terrific. She really made these macarons seem approachable. I’d highly recommend the class. Here’s their site www.cooknwithclass.com.  Here’s the macarons we made in class:

But would I be able to make them at home?

So now I’m back home, a few months later.  I’ve tried duplicating our class’ success to no avail. The first time I tried the italian method we’d learned in class and had issues with the sugar syrup. (Think spun sugar !) Then I tried the french method and although they were delicious – they didn’t have the all important ‘pied’ or foot.  Now it was time to try them again but the pressure was on…..   I was spending Saturday with girlfriends at the lake. This same group got together while I was in Paris and I had promised to make macarons for our next outing. 

Well I’m so excited I can’t stand it.  They ALL have pieds !!!

I used the french method recipe from ‘i love macarons’ by Hisako Ogita.  This is a great, easy to follow book with two methods for making the macaron cookies and lots of ideas for flavoring the fillings and cookies. I followed the directions except for using two pans . I had used two pans in an unsucessful batch where the bottoms didn’t cook enough, so this time I only used one pan and  baked them in a convection oven. The biggest key to the success of this batch was PATIENCE.  There is no rushing these babies!

I made two varieties – Rose and Hazelnut.  For the Rose I added rosewater to the cookie and the buttercream filling.  I meant to use food coloring to make the cookies pink, but I forgot until the batter was already in the piping bag – oh well.

 For the hazelnut I used 25% hazelnut flour and 75% almond flour, and a little cocoa powder for the cookie.  I used Nutella for the filling.

So here they are – sorry for the bad photo. These were the left over ones- note to self – take photo before serving !!! A you can tell from the first pic , some cookies came out great.  Some of the cookies, like the ones in the pic below had tips and I forgot the cookie food coloring – just excuse to make them again soon

I think I’ll try them once a month for a while. I’m sure my friends won’t mind being my guinea pigs.  Now, how to get pumpkin involved in the next batch ???

Comments

  1. I recently discovered Macaroons! I love them. They do seem intimidating but I love meringues which you should try if you have not- another treat that I too discovered while visiting Paris. Also, if you figure out the addition of pumpkin- I would be sold!

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