Friday, May 2, 2014

Macaron Madness!

Were we mad to make French macarons? Everyone said "they're tricky."
 "You'll have to do it several times to get it right." "They take awhile."

Well, they are a little tricky. And they do take awhile. 
But boy, are they ever fun to make!

My friend Kate and I decided to tackle these sweet delicacies sometime last year. 
Then, in this post, I said "My project of the month was to learn to make French macarons.
Which, I might add, Kate reminded me of near the very end of the month!

So, we gathered together our almond meal (which we pulverized through a sieve), 
powdered sugar, food coloring, eggs, cookie sheets, mixers and more and 
settled into her kitchen to experiment!

We started out with a video by "Beth," explaining the trickier parts of the recipe 
and then opted to use her basic recipe (versus the recipe in the January
 'Martha' and on her website here.) Basically, the reason was because Beth used 
almond flour instead of processing your own almonds to make almond flour. 
Apart from that I think they are similar and next time I'll try Martha's recipe with the 
almond flour and see how it works.

We whipped the heck out of those eggs! Then for the first batch -- raspberry ones -- 
added a plethora of mauve coloring (which really looked wretched until it was blended.)

When done, it was an interesting shade. Definitely mauve. Next time, I'd use a ton
 of red to get pink. (Some of these photos show our second batch, which was a 
sunny yellow. Much prettier.

Then we folded in the almond/powdered sugar mixture, folding till it was the 
consistency of molton lava!

We piped dots of the cookie mixture onto parchment sheets. Then you give them 
a couple of good bangs to get the air out and into the oven.

And then we waited! While we did that, we whipped up our buttercream and 
made another batch, this time, yellow! Then with baited breath we pulled them out! 
Would they have legs?


One is always looking for "legs" (that little crinkly part) on the sides of the macarons --
 and no cracks. One or the other indicates under or over mixing. We aced it!

Then came mixing up buttercream and flavoring it. We flavored the raspberry 
with syrup left over form my Easter Pavlova and used lemon extract for the others. 
We also made a lovely chocolate ganache. Kate piped it in and topped them!


I think we may have overbaked a bit -- not because they were at all burned but a 
little too crackly or flaky on the top when you bit into them. But today, I refrigerated 
them, then removed them after some time and they tasted more "authentic." It's s been 
a long while since I've had a real macaron from France, so my memory could be off!
 No matter what -- they were delicious!

Now, if only I was enjoying them in Paris!

Today I am linking with Pink Saturday posts at Beverly's.


Deb said...

Wow...they look wonderful. I love how you displayed them, too. I have never made them because I found them a little intimidating. Thanks for sharing, Jeanie.

Mae Travels said...

They really look like the macarons at the French bakery that I photographed earlier today -- they'll be in tomorrows blog post on

Shabbyprimdelights said...

Your macaroons look wonderful. I am ashamed to say I have never ever had one as yet....maybe one day ...HPS Michelle

Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

WOW Jeanie you're a star!!!!
I'm sure Pierre Hermé the French pâtissier extraordinaire famous for his macarons will be beating a path to your door very soon!

I love the colours you went with - they look divine on your pretty plate with the violets.

Maybe I will be brave and give them a go too - like you, I've always wanted to have a try!

Bravo Jeanie! If I lived on the same continent I would make you send me one ha ha!!
Shane xox

skiourophile said...

Wow, I've always thought "too hard", but you inspire me! I love the colours too.

Pearl Maple said...

Well done! they are not easy to make and sure do look tasty

Beate said...

Wow, congratulations on making such perfect macarons on the first try! I love macarons, I definitely need to try that one day :) They look delicious!

Anonymous said...

Looks so beautiful. I want a bite. Aloha from Hawaii.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh, now this is a treat I have yet to master! Aren't these the most delicious little things? Jeanie dear, thank you for coming to visit. Enjoy the start to spring; ours is so late, and will be short, but I hope we BOTH at least have a summer! Love, Anita

Joanne Huffman said...

I'm really impressed. They look enchanting.

shoreacres said...

I would eat a macaron if I ever came across one, but I'm sure not going to pay $4 for a cookie, which is what they're going for at a French bakery in Houston!

On the other hand, given the effort making them requires, maybe the price is right. Too much work for me, but congrats on your success!

Arti said...

'fun to make'... it's more fun to watch you make! what a fabulous post. I'd like the step-by-step pictorial account, never knew or even thought of macarons being home-made. BTW, I'm still curious about the Madeleines (from reading Proust, where he dipped them in tea then devour) Would you be doing a Madeleine Madness post? ;)

~*~Patty S said...

OH you two are amazing and so are those gorgeous macaroons!
Thank you for sharing your adventures in the kitchen and for making my mouth water with your really wonderful post ♥
Happy Weekend
Happy May!

Beverly said...

Happy Pink Saturday, Jeanie. I have missed you, and I am so glad you joined us this weekend. Thank you for making Pink Saturday special.

Girl, I am so about to lick my monitor. Your macarons are beautiful. Can you figure out a way to pass me one - no really you better make it two.♥

Marti McClure said...

Hi Jeanie, I love your macaron story and they are gorgeous! You guys did such a beautiful job. I after my last trip to Paris I bought a macaron cookbook and I even have almond flour in the freezer. You have inspired me! ! Happy Pink Saturday. Xoxo. Marti

joyce said...

I didn't know there was such a thing. What a blog post to come back to! They really are beautiful....good job. I also really, really like your new look, the part that I really, really really like is how you incorporated your Gypsy into the new look. Wonderful job, looking forward to connecting with you again! (Btw, I can just see you in the kitchen with your friend, keeping on telling her to wait 'cause you need to take a picture!)

RobinfromCA said...

I've never tackled these so I applaud you! They look delicious and make me want to head over to our local French bakery!

Friko said...

Congratulations on a successful project.

Now, how about sharing them out among deserving readers?

They really look delicious and very pretty.

Esme said...

Kudos to you! I took a macaron class in Paris but have yet to try them at home.

Bill said...

My wife and our youngest daughter took a class from a French woman living close by. The macarons they make are wonderful! It looks like you've got the trick down, too. Long live French pastry!

Bill said...

I just saw you live in Michigan. We live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The French woman lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She offers many French pastry classes. I'd love to take her apple tart class. :-)

I need orange said...

They certainly look beautiful! Good work! :-)

You are always up to something interesting! Thank you for taking us along on your adventures!

JillO said...

They look much too pretty to eat.

Beth said...

They look beautiful!!! I wish I liked to cook but I never have enjoyed it so I just make the basics! I love to live through others who cook and this has been so interesting to see the process you go through to make the French Macaroons! I know they were very delish!!!

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

What pretty macarons, Jennie!
I love to bake, should try this one day. What fun you two had..
Enjoy your day.

O-town Ramblings said...

I've never had a french macaroon but your pictures make me want to go out and find some to try. Very pretty!

I don't usually bake or cook with my girlfriends, other than making salsa together, but this post reminded how fun it can be. I think it's time to have a baking bonanza day.

Beth M. said...

What an accomplishment...and a delicious one, at that! Macarons are laborious but so worth the time, especially if you can share the work with a kitchen friend. And I prefer the almond flour (to grinding almonds myself). The flour still requires some sieve mashing, like you pictured, but the flavor AND the finished texture remain perfectly light. I just don't have the professional-grade machinery to replicate that at home.

In sum, A for effort! :)

Barb said...

My mouth is watering, Jeanie. Why oh why do we live so far apart????

Bella Rum said...

What a project! I don't know what they taste like but they look delicious. They're so pretty. Wish I could taste.

Louise said...

What a fantastic job you did! I've never braved them at home- we even have packet ones in Australia! And I have a packet in the cupboard- I should get round to trying them. I've been to a macaroni demonstration in Paris, it was rather intimidating the way the professionals do it- they adjust their ovens by a degree depending on the weather! I can barely get my oven within 20 degrees of where I want it. Still I'm very impressed with your efforts- well done.

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Thank you Jeanie, how kind of you to leave such sweet words..

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Bravo! They turned out amazingly well, especially considering that was your first attempt. They look beautiful and delicious! I really want to give this a try as it would be a great (and less expensive) dessert for JC night. We have had macarons a couple of years but they are $2/macaron so that adds up for a bigger group!

Paulita said...

This is so impressive. And I love the mauve color. Looks like you got it just right. What's next? French chocolates? Here’s my Dreaming of France meme

Willow said...

They look amazing ~ and I love the colors.

Tracy said...

WOW... they turned out perfectly beautiful, Jeanie! Fun to see your day baking. I think I had mentioned to you, that I had tried macarons last year--total flop... LOL! I have no idea what happened! Seeing your lovely French treats, gives me hope... maybe I'll try them again! ;o) Oh, and such a pretty plate you have the macarons on... would that be French porcelain--Limoges maybe?! ((HUGS))

paris parfait said...

So impressive that you made macaroons! Even the French don't do this - and why should they, with delicious ones available at the nearest boulangerie? :)

Parisbreakfasts said...

You hit the bulls eye
Did someone say it's 'feet' not 'legs' haha :)
I love the shine.

Red Rose Alley said...

Thanks for your link, Jeanie! When I was looking for your blog to reply to you, there were a few blogs listed, but the family blog had the most recent post, so I thought that was your current blog, but I think I missed this one somehow. Your macarons were beautiful. I'm realizing my egg whites didn't look like yours (they were liquidy instead of white and fluffy), so maybe that's where I went wrong. I'll keep trying!

Have a lovely weekend,


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