Is it just me or are macarons popping up everywhere? I’ve even seen some at Starbucks and the freezer section of Trader Joe’s. Macarons are the new cupcake. Or at least they seem to be from where I’m sitting.
Remember not too long ago when I gushed over dinner at Masa’s and their candy cart? It was my first taste of macarons and I fell hard. I became infatuated. Like that first magical kiss, it was all I could think about.
I wanted another kiss. I searched high and low until I found a bakery not quite nearby but close enough. Pamplemousse has over a dozen flavors of macarons and for a special birthday treat I took home a dozen little beauties just for me… and Dan. It was his birthday week too so I had to share.
Alas, the birthday macarons only deepened my feelings. Infatuation turned into obsession. I wanted more. It was inevitable that I would give in and take the next step. Why fight it?
I was intimidated at first. What am I getting myself into? Am I ready for this? What if I don’t do it right?
Anyway, I did it. Two ways.
I started out with the base for the raspberry mascarpone macarons and split the batter in half (by weight). Half became hot pink when I added rose gel food coloring and the other half became chocolate brown when I added cocoa powder. I didn’t have powdered food coloring and I’m not sure if the gel coloring made the batter runny or if I mis-measured something along the way, but my hot pink batter spread out into an illustration of the stages of mitosis and the cookies didn’t really puff up or grow “feet”.
The chocolate batter was thicker (but then it had more dry ingredients with the cocoa powder) and half of them came out looking pretty good (with feet and all). The other half of the chocolate ones stuck to the pan and had a gooey brownie texture.
The few that survived were filled: the pink ones with raspberry jam or raspberry mascarpone cream, the chocolate ones with ganache. Both tasted good.
For my first time it wasn’t too bad. There were a few uncomfortable moments but overall the experience was good. I plan to try making macarons again and expect it will be a little less painful next time. (Maybe I’ll even stick to one recipe from start to finish. It’s crazy enough it just might work.)
Have you made macarons? How did they turn out? Do you have any secrets to your success? Better yet, what’s your favorite flavor?
More information on macarons
- Stephanie of Wasabimon dedicated an entire week in January to these delicate cookies. Check out her macaron week.
- David Lebovitz has a plethora of information (instructions and recipes) about making French macarons.
- Super cute macaron pops from Bakerella and Tartelette.
- Helen Dujardin of Tartelette wrote a Macarons 101 tutorial for Desserts magazine. (look for the pdf link)