Books & Recipes – French macarons are my guilty pleasure. I love the light, crispy yet chewy texture of the delicate cookies, and the sweet, buttery filling ranging from buttercream to chocolate ganache. Intimidated as I was, I decided to give the fanciest of French desserts a shot.
Naturally, my first stop in my macaron adventure was our library, where I collected some cookbooks, including: The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer, Bake it, don’t fake it! by Heather Bertinetti, and Bouchon Bakery by Sebastien Rouxel.
The Art of the French Pastry and Bake It, Don’t Fake It were both very helpful in introducing me to the world of French pastries, including detailed baking guides as well as helpful hints for novice bakers. Bouchon Bakery is a beautifully photographed cookbook that made me believe I too could create Instagram worthy delicacies. Additionally, I requested Macarons: Authentic French Cookie Recipes by Cecile Cannone through Interlibrary Loan, which features a ton of recipes for both macaroon shells and fillings.
The first batch was an absolute failure and did not reach fruition. Anyone who has made macarons will tell you how crucial it is not to overbeat your egg whites; and mine ended up looking like a pile of soapy egg suds. Yuck.
The batter was still fairly lumpy in my second batch but I persevered, hoping everything would magically work itself out, which somehow, it did! My third attempt went 1,000 times better. With the assistance of my sous-chef (aka: Mom), I managed to whip the egg whites into shiny, perfectly stiff peaks. With the grace of an experienced baker, she showed me how to gently (so as not to collapse the fluffy batter) fold in the dry ingredients.
Three more batches and 12 hours (yes, TWELVE hours) later, I could bake no more, with over 100 macarons. With some fancily piped Vanilla Buttercream (recipe courtesy of Cecile Cannone’s Macarons: Authentic French Cookie Recipes), even I was impressed by my handiwork.