"It is meringue-based: made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar. The confectionery is characterized by its smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference, and flat base. Connoisseurs prize a delicate, egg shell-like crust that yields to a moist and airy interior. The French macaron differs from other macaroons in that it is filled with cream or butter like a sandwich cookie, and can be found in a wider variety of flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to the exotic (truffle, matcha tea)"
Doesn't that just sound beautiful and tasty?
I had my first macaron about 3-4 years ago. I was at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco having brunch. The dessert table was overwhelming, but in a very very good way. They had all of the typical options like tiramisu, cheesecakes and napoleons. Around one side of the table were 4-5 bowls filled with mini macarons! I have been reading food blogs for years so I knew what macarons were, in theory, but I couldn't imagine what they tasted like. (Sidenote: I have what I consider to be a pretty unusual ability to be able to very accurately imagine what things will taste like. If I know the majority of the ingredients in a dish I can almost taste it in my mind. This makes watching the Food Network very interesting and also torturous.) So I'm pretty sure I grabbed one of each flavor on my plate. I remember putting the first one in my mouth and being shocked. They were light and chewy. The chocolate one had a very light chocolate flavor but a very deep ganache filling. The raspberry one was perfectly fruity and not too sweet. I even like the pistachio one and I am not usually a fan of pistachio flavored things. Long story short (TOO LATE, KAYLA!) I kind of fell in love. I also was on a mission.
Unlike cupcakes, macarons are not on every single street corner. Over the past few years I've really only had macarons a handful of more times. The best of those times, of course, being from Thomas Keller's Bouchon. His macarons are also the size of a drink coaster. So you can't go wrong there.
Where was I going with this? Oh yes. So I've been tired of only being able to come across these precious little gems every once in a blue moon and I decided I am going to make them myself.
Through reading all of my various food blogs, I almost scared myself out of doing it. There are so many steps! There are so many bloggers who made 4, 5, or even 6 batches before coming out with something that even remotely looked like a macaron. I didn't want to set myself up for disappointment. I was not cocky enough to think "Well I am going to get it right on the first try."
Puh-lease. I can barely brush my teeth correctly on the first try, let's just be honest here. The other thing I had going against me was all of the warnings that you had to follow instructions exactly in order for these things to come out o.k. In case you didn't know, I am not one for precision. "Good enough" is usually "good enough" for me. Perfection and precision are not my bag. Plus, you needed a kitchen scale! You have to measure things in grams and/or ounces! Who does that? (The answer: Bakers. Real bakers measure things in grams/ounces, Kayla.) Despite all of the things stacked against me, I decided that I had to try.
Part II to follow...