Adventure into Macarons

I had never heard of macarons before I watched the Great British Bake-off. I only knew once I saw them that I HAD to try making them. I am not a big fan of macaroons (mostly because I can’t take the texture of shredded coconut) but these seemed different! Crunchy shell with a chewy interior? Almond flour? Pretty colors and fun fillings?

Of course, I went on to search for a recipe. Right now, I have two of Dorie Greenspan’s cookbooks and one of them, Baking Chez Moi, I still have around from the library. And I found her recipe for macarons!

This site has the exact recipe I used: Parisian Macarons.

First thing, I would not recommend trying to make these when you have 5 children running around the house. Every few minutes I had to stop what I was doing to help a child. In those few minutes, I would often forget where I was in the recipe! I found my way back quickly but it still would have been disastrous to skip a step!

I was able to concentrate better once I had the two youngest children down for their afternoon naps though.

This was my first step. Sifting the flour. I did this while feeding the kids their lunch. They thought I was cutting something. No, I was just sifting confectioner’s sugar and almond flour through a mesh colander. It just sounded exciting I guess!

I waited until after the littlest kids were napping to make the meringue. I’m glad because this sugar syrup had to get up to 245 degrees F!

I forgot to take a picture of the meringue when it was done getting whipped into shape. I think I am in love with Italian meringue though. It was like eating really, really awesome marshmallow creme without all the artificial flavorings! I looked at my jar of marshmallow creme and it actually has many of the same ingredients as Italian meringue. You mean to tell me I’ve been eating the inferior version of Italian meringue this whole time?

The macarons are all piped out into their cozy little circles, ready to sit for 30 minutes to form their crust. My circles weren’t very neat, but maybe I will do better next time.

Here are the macarons rising in the oven. My son Matthias was completely fascinated by these. He kept coming into the kitchen to watch me while he was supposed to be working on an English worktext. I let him hang out with me for a little bit and watch the oven.

I don’t think they are quite as poofy as they should be. And they might have been in the oven too long. At least they have the “foot” and the smooth top!

I used strawberry jam and lemon cream for the filling in some of them. I ended up making some with just strawberry jam too. The boys and I shared one strawberry  macaron. They all really liked it (even my picky eater, Matthias) and of course, each one wanted his own macaron. I was a little surprised that they liked it. My sample lived up to expectation though!  Crunchy shell and a chewy cookie interior along with the tart jam? I wanted one just for me too! Well,  I told my boys they had to wait until tomorrow. Not very nice am I? I think they were still holding out hope for one because they kept coming into the kitchen to see what I was doing with the macarons.

I also had some frozen chocolate peanut butter balls made from chocolate ganache. So I pulled out a few and melted them in the microwave to get a spreadable frosting for a filling. I didn’t get to try one of these macarons. Tomorrow, I definitely will!

The recipe said to wait 24 hours before eating the macarons and let them sit in the fridge. Um… why? I don’t really know why, but I figured I’d better follow the recipe. Hopefully, it will be worth the wait!

-Lynn