Monday, June 20, 2011

French Macarons

Not to be confused with coconut macaroons.

Have you ever seen these little cookies? I think they are becoming trendy. Maybe they'll be the next fad. Like cake pops. But better.

Max and I first tried macarons last year when I bought a box of them from a local French cafe. We were instant fans. We have been wanting to try making some for awhile, but I'd heard they are tricky. So we studied up a little before attempting to make them.

I don't know what all the potential pitfalls are, but I thought they were actually fairly easy. Our batter came together just fine, and piping them onto the pan was easy enough (although messy). I have large tube cake decorating tips, but I imagine you could just cut the corner off of a zip lock bag and that would work fine.

We did have one problem when it came to baking. Our first pan of cookies, baked on a dark teflon coated pan, came out perfectly. Our second and third pans, light-colored aluminum pans, came out gooey and we couldn't get all of them off the pans without destroying them. We cooked them longer, but I think we still didn't cook them long enough. They looked set, but they sank as they cooled. So make sure you wait till they are brown around the bottom edges. Next time, we'll err on the side of overcooking instead of undercooking our cookies.

If you're interested in trying them, these are helpful resources.

Demystifying Macarons (PDF -- Includes recipe we used)
Joanne Chang demonstrates (YouTube)

We added lemon zest to our batter and made lemon buttercream frosting and lemon cream cheese frosting to go on them. I preferred the lemon cream cheese frosting because it wasn't quite as sweet. I also tried using some leftover chocolate ganache frosting I had in the fridge and it went together surprisingly well. I think some kind of a raspberry frosting filling would have been fantastic. Maybe we'll try that next time.

There are so many flavor possibilities with macarons that I can't wait to try them again!

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