Today is the fourth annual Macaron Day: for those in New York City today, each participating bakery, including Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery, Francois Payard Bakery, and Mad Mac NYC, is handing out a free macaron. For those of us who aren't, however, we can still enjoy these colorful, puffy Parisian treats by ordering them online via bakeries spanning the globe — from LA, NYC, to even France!
With their vibrant colors and lacy frills, dainty, crisp-crusted French macarons are the perfect Valentine's Day baking project. But these lovely little delicacies are temperamental enough to stump even the most accomplished chefs. Even if you follow a detailed recipe down to the letter, a batch of macarons can go very wrong very quickly. Thanks to humidity, an unreliable oven temperature gauge, or an overly enthusiastic stirring hand, you may find yourself facing macaron-ageddon rather than baking bliss. But before you throw in the tea towel, we've assembled a few tips to solve your sugary conundrums.
Perhaps it's the rainbow of cheerful hues, the adorable two-bite size, or — most likely — the perfect crisp-chewy texture, but I just can't get enough of French macarons. Even when I'm stuffed to the gills, I can always make room for these tiny, delicate pastries.
True, macarons can be temperamental (meringue is the capricious culprit), but they do respond wonderfully to patience, encouragement, and a loving touch. So before you dismiss the idea of making these little lovelies at home, we've found a basic recipe that breaks down the uncooperative veneer of the elusive macaron.
Although part of the same happy pastry family, the French macaron should not be confused with the coconut macaroon. They are similar in concept, but differ greatly in execution: while both entail adding dry ingredients to a delicate egg white meringue, the one "o" macaron uses finely ground almonds as its base and requires much more gentle handling.
Much like a first date, there's a good chance that your first batch could end awkwardly. As in love, you simply pick yourself up and try again. Once you begin to understand the macaron's nature — its singular texture, its response to your oven, its personality in your climate — suddenly it's like the realization that you both enjoy the same rom-com movies and takeout Chinese: everything just works.
Ready for the challenge? Read on for the recipe.
Macarons are the delightful little French cookies that took American patisseries by storm a few years back, and now it appears they're making a go with beauty brands as well. Parisian macaron masters Ladurée are coming out with their own makeup line in Japan, and over the past few months we've seen the debut of several products inspired by the sweet treats. Mor launched a macaron-themed lip balm ($10), Chantecaille introduced a macaron palette ($68), and Kate Spade's new fragrance, Twirl ($65), includes a macaron note. Now, even Etsy shops are getting in on the confection craze, with sweet offerings like these raspberry macaron bobby pins ($5). Bon appétit, beauty fans!
Last week, famed Parisian patisserie Ladurée opened a New York boutique in the midst of macaron fever. While we can't wait to nibble the tasty treats here on US soil, we're equally charmed by something new in the beauty world. MOR's Lip Macarons ($10 each) are smooth, moisturizing lip balms scented with classic macaron flavors: French vanilla, peach, blood orange, and more. The tin container is just a little larger than an edible macaron, making it the perfect go-anywhere balm with a subtle French flair. Comment dit-on "adorable packaging"?
Relationships often have early omens that signal whether they are meant to last. When I met my husband in college, it was clear that our mutual love for Star Wars (I know, I know -- nerd alert!), amusement parks, late night runs to Jack in the Box, and practice of couch potatoism were harbingers of a long life together. But oddly enough, what sealed the deal was meeting his parents. It happened at an elegant Chinese banquet restaurant over the largest meal you have ever seen. His dad took charge ordering for the four of us, and soon four 5-course meals appeared followed by five or six additional heaping platters. We had so much food, the waiters couldn't fit it all on our table. We had so much food, boxing it up in doggie bags seemed like a futile effort. We had so much food, his mom got violently ill later that night. I knew I was in love with him, but I guess I kind of sort of fell in love with them, too.
Then I met his sister, and all of the pieces fell into place. She shares my love of baking (though she shares their dad's scientific curiosity and patience, whereas I am impatient and want it to work the first time), and within the last few years took up the task of creating the perfect macaron. Mind you, she has been a full time grad student living on her own in NYC, so where she finds the time I have no idea. But her creations are lovely, and while she was visiting this past week, she taught me her fine art.
- Macaron myths completely debunked.
- Macaron myths completely debunked. — The Kitchn
- A look at Alice Waters's Twitter press conference. — Inside Scoop SF
- What Food & Wine's Ray Isle eats over the course of one weekend. — Grub Street NY
- Putting Anthony Bourdain in his place. — Eatocracy
- The people behind the World's Best Restaurants list have named the best female chefs. — Eater
- Why it might become hard to buy your favorite beer. — The Atlantic
- 25 new uses for kitchen scissors. — The Bitten Word
- An in-depth profile of Sandra Lee. — New York Mag
Source: Flickr User Julien Haler
In my humble opinion, Paulette Macarons are the crème de la crème of the tiny French sweets with their perfectly chewy, crunchy outer shells and gooey, flavor-packed centers. Au revoir cupcakes!
I got a bit carried away with the photos . . . more sweet snaps below!
For the rest of the mouthwatering photos, keep reading.
BellaSugar hearts macarons. She enjoys them so much that she shared her favorites in the Savory Sights group in the YumSugar Community. Since today is Bastille Day, the time is right for lovely photos of macarons.
I can't get enough of macarons! Half of the draw is their color. Here are some pictures of macarons I've loved (and eaten) before.
Do you have an image of something delicious that you recently made or consumed? Upload it!
I love the idea of small wedding desserts instead of a traditional tiered cake. A table of homemade pies and cookies, a doughnut tower, pretty little cupcakes, or a candy bar are all crowd-pleasing delights. But I'm especially enamored with macarons making their wedding day debut.
Not only are they bite-sized and delicious, they are practically too pretty to eat! Stacked on cake pedestals, adorning a tower, or individually plated, these tiny treats come in a range of flavors and colors, perfectly matching a wedding or bridal shower's palette. For some major eye candy (or cookie), see my matrimonial macaron roundup below!