Thursday, October 27, 2011

How To Make Macarons


Nothing stirs fear into the hearts of bakers everywhere like the French Macaron.  Perfectly smooth with that ideal crackle, that decadent ganache, and oh those ever elusive "feet."  A slight miscalculation in the beating of your egg whites and the entire batch'll come out flat as a pancake.  Problems regulating oven temperature?  Say goodbye to those darn "feet."  Oh, and if you mix hot sugar with egg whites too quickly, say hello to sweetened scrambled eggs.  Just thinking about the process gives me a bit of a panic attack.  And yet, I'm fascinated by them.

A few months ago, my family hosted a party to celebrate Baby 'Boo's upcoming arrival.  It was a low-key affair that we just kinda threw together.  Ok, I'm lying.  It was a highly color-coordinated and themed event because that's how my neurotic, type-A self rolls.  And because I firmly believe that the most important thing I can pass on to Baby 'Boo is a love of food, I knew I wanted macarons at the party.  No not wanted, NEEDED.


But I knew nothing about macarons.  Well, except for eating 'em.  And then, my darling friend Gina kindly offered to host a macaron baking class at her home.  And so, some lovely blogger friends and I crashed Gina's gorgeous kitchen to watch her work her macaron magic.  I braced myself for a frustrating and challenging afternoon.  We'd concentrate.  And measure.  And wait quietly with knots in our stomach while the darn macarons baked.  And somehow, the afternoon was nothing like that.



We giggled and chatted.  We snacked.  We dribbled macaron batter all over Gina's counters. It was then that I realized the true skill of a great cook is not always in producing great food but inspiring others to try to as well.  Gina made making macarons look effortless as she encouraged each of us to pipe cookies.  I piped some horribly wonky looking cookies that vaguely resembled circles.  Other blogger friends with less spazzy hands were able to pipe circles.  But regardless, all of us piped and all of us had a total blast doing it.



And when those cookies baked up and those elusive "feet" appeared, I think I shed a tear or two.  I could barely wait for them to cool so I could smear them with the decadent ganache and eat enough for two (because if I'm going to grow a human, I should at least get to eat some extra macarons, darn it).  For a second, I stepped back and took it all in.  Bloggers chatting away, a KitchenAid whirring with egg whites, the smell of freshly baked cookies in the air.  And through it all, Gina mixed, and supervised, and guided, like it was no big thang.



I went home and made macarons for Baby Boo's party.  Some of them were perfectly round.  Many of them were not.  But you know what?  The wonky looking ones were just as tasty as the (few) perfect looking ones.  So thank you Gina for opening your home to us and teaching us how to make macarons, but more importantly, for reminding me to appreciate good food and good friends.


Macaron recipe from Squirrel Bakes.

14 comments :

Gina said...

Oh I just love this and I'm so happy you finally have a minute to yourself. I'm so glad you and baby boo and doing so well. That was so much fun and we need to do it again soon. It was pleasure having you all here and sharing all the wonderful treats you guys brought. I still have to make those granola bars. You got some really great photos. Hope to see you soon.
-Gina-

Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } said...

That was such a fun day and so lovely of Gina to teach us and host. Glad that you and the baby are doing well. I still have to make the macarons - perhaps for Halloween or Thanksgiving. Hope to see you soon!

The Mom Chef said...

How much fun is this! I'm so jealous that you got to spend time with Gina (and of her for meeting you).

Those macarons are gorgeous. I've never tried to make them myself. I guess if Gina ever gives me lessons I'll give them a go. :)

Emmyw said...

These look brilliant and I love the way you write :) definitely keep eating macarons for two! Any excuse :)

lizlemonnights said...

Yay! You're back! Thanks for showing that macarons can be fun and not induce panic attacks. That means that there's hope for me!

Kristen said...

What a ball! That class/party sounds like so much fun. Gina is great. So glad to see you are doing well.

Ameena said...

How on earth did you find time to get out of the house, nevermind make macarons with an infant? Seriously, you impress me so much. And of course they look fantastic and perfect. Laduree has some serious competition!

Kathy Gori said...

That looks like so much fun..I've always wanted to learn to bake these and they seem so damn intimidating. I think I need some lessons! Beautiful cookies!

J+K said...

I had no idea that macarons were so finicky! I grew up with something my Nonny made called cornflake (as in Kellog's) macaroons, which as you can guess, were nothing like these. But I loved them just the same.
Love the pretty color and will definitely be trying them out in my kitchen.
Thanks and I am happy that mom and baby are doing fine!

Monet said...

What a great way to celebrate! Thank you for sharing another delightful treat with me. It warms my heart to visit...and it makes my stomach growl! I hope you are having a relaxing Sunday full of laughter and good food. I'm eating a bowl of soup and I'm thankful for these cooler days! I love the color of these too!

Kelsey said...

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

BigAppleNosh said...

These look amazing! I still haven't made macarons yet, but this post inspired me!

Jamila said...

The thought of making macaroons makes me break out in hives. But, your post makes it look possible. Hm... perhaps I will take an anti-histamine and try making them.

Sana Rydhan said...

how did i not see this post before! these were so good, even better than the ones i have tasted at bakeries! i will try this one day hahaha great post as always

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