I have been procrastinating on baking French macarons. Not quite sure if it was the thought of having to spend $11 on Bob Red Mill almond meal. Or how painstaking it would be to grind a bag of almonds. It all just seemed like a hassle. Then there was the issue of egg whites. It took me a little while to save a bunch of egg whites. For some reason, I had this illusion that the macarons would need a dozen egg whites. Not true. Recipe calls for approximately 2-3 egg whites.
The real problem is, is that there has been so much hype about making french macarons. I was actually AFRAID! People devote multiple postings on creating these goodies. All the technicalities described in extensive verbal and pictorial detail. It made it that much more daunting.
All the hype made it even more elusive.
Today I set aside my procrastination and faced my fears. The coveted French Macarons.
My first encounter with macaroons (with the double o) were sticky,chewy mounds of coconut bound together by egg whites and dipped in chocolate. Simple, easy and straight forward. Good but nothing to rave about.
A year ago, I read about Laduree in Paris. I have been to Paris several times in the past 4 years but have not been privileged enough to get another Paris trip in the last year or so. Instead I remember standing in front of Laduree while I was browsing in Harrods, London. I stood in front of the store for a while. I pondered and considered stepping in but I was AFRAID. Fancy places scare me. I wasn’t ready to pay a hefty sum for some confectionery. I felt like I wasn’t good enough for Laduree. Instead I walked away from Harrods with a tin of over priced stale shortbread cookies which Joe and I ended up not eating.
Before today I have never had a macaron. I know how to spell it and pronounce it. Not quite sure what it is suppose to taste like. I have always marvelled at the beautiful pictures of it online. I would spend many hours reading about macarons. The three different versions. French, Italian and Spanish. The much desired perfect foot. The myriad of colours and and fillings that is only limited by your imagination.
How does one idolise something one has never known and yet one knows so much about it?
That’s it. I am a Macaron stalker.
As always I digress.
As I was saying many paragraphs ago, I finally faced my crush and my fears.
I attempted the French Macaron.
With all the ranting and raving about the process of making French Macarons, I decided to make my first time as simple and painless as possible. Plain macaron with a bittersweet chocolate ganache filling.
Grind those damn almonds.
Combine the ground almonds with the powdered sugar.
Beat the eggs and granulated sugar till it reaches the stiff-peak stage.
Sift and fold the almond-sugar mix into the egg whites.
Pipe onto baking tray.
Place in the oven and PRAY!
20 minutes later …….
They have feet! Hallelujah!
They weren’t perfect but not bad for my first time.
Slap some ganache.
Slap them together.
Voila! French Macarons.
Crisp shell. Tender and slight chewy on the inside and an explosion of decadent ganache goodness on the inside.
So now if only someone can tell me if I got it right?
Next time…. rose flavoured white chocolate macarons, lavender infused chocolate macaron and lemon curd macarons… yes I dream big.