My interest in macarons started quite recently. I don’t even remember seeing Laduree in Paris during my business trips years ago when I was more focused on museums and fashion. Macarons will definitely be part of my travel plan next time I’m there!
Fast forward to now, with so much time in my hands and a new kitchen, I’ve gotten obsessed with macarons but haven’t actually tried baking them! I’m trying to gain enough confidence to brave it. There’s so many ways to fail at it so attacking it like a science seems like the right way to go. But, even with all the exact science you’d expect from baking, there so much lore surrounding macarons:
- Egg whites need to be left at room temperature for at least 24 hours before using for macaron baking. I have yet to try this and pray that e.coli won’t kill me!
- The macaronage stage can be perfected by folding only 15 times. I certainly hope so but I doubt all bakers use exactly the same vigor.
- To let moisture to escape from the oven while baking, insert the end of a wooden spoon into the oven door. I’m not crazy about this as it’s already too hot in my kitchen. Plus, I don’t want to risk melting my oven knobs!
And so my quest for the perfect technique started…
Step 1: I took a macaron baking class at a local culinary school, Enderun!
The recipes taught were the most basic so it did look easy enough IF you have the right ingredients and the equipment used in the school. I have been holding off on trying at home because I’m not so sure if my conventional oven can produce the same quality. So, I’m researching some more…
Step 2: Macaron books!
It’s no secret that I tend to hoard, among other things, books. I have just a few macaron books and still eyeing more titles. I don’t want just another recipe book. Recipes are easy to find online. Just google it! What I need are:
- instructions with step-by-step illustrations
- troubleshooting guides
- thorough information on ingredients
In terms of recipes, what’s more interesting to me are those with exotic ingredients and flavor combinations.
For now, these are my favorites:
Hisako Ogita’s i ❤ macarons: Tons of illustrated instructions and pairing suggestions for shells and filling. Includes recipes for unused egg yolks.
Jose Marechal’s Secrets of Macarons: Detailed information for main ingredients and techniques. Specialty macaron recipes are to die for!
Gordon and McBride’s Les Petits Macarons: Basic macaron recipes in three methods: French, Italian and Swiss. Also includes recipes for unused egg yolks.
All three books provide helpful illustrated troubleshooting guides to help explain why your macarons didn’t turn out perfect and provides remedies for your next batch. Note to self: BOOKMARK those pages!
If you’re a sugar geek, this is the book for you!
Gesine Bullock-Prado‘s Sugar Baby is not a macaron cookbook but it will help to understand sugar if you’re going to try the italian meringue method for baking macaron puffs. It has one recipe for Parisian macaron shells under the soft ball stage technique. I’m intimidated by it but I think I will eventually try!
Some more books I have with simple macaron recipes:
And so far, the book with the most exotic macaron recipes is Adriano Zumbo‘s Zumbo Macarons!
Joining my library soon are:
With the wealth of information I have now, I think I might brave my first batch soon! All of these are just the start though. As with a lot of other disciplines, it will take a spark of artistic genius to create macarons that aren’t just a feast for the eyes. I’m hoping that I remain curious, up to the challenge, and sustain this interest until I find the perfect technique!
Good luck to me!
- 10 Irresistible Paris Pastries (and where to eat them) (theflyingfugu.com)
- Zumbo Macaron Book Review (pastrygene.wordpress.com)
- Les Petits Macarons (ideasinfood.com)
- Kitchen Experiments: First Attempt at Macarons! (thekitchn.com)
- What’s the difference? Macaroons vs. Macarons (thekitchn.com)
- A Brief History of Macarons by Anne E. McBride (lespetitsmacarons.com)
- Move over cupcakes! Try Parisian Macarons! (today.com)
- Adriano Zumbo Patissier