Making Macarons

Macarooooon? Or Macarohhh?

Apparently, I’ve been saying and mentally spelling it, wrong all this time.

While it is acceptable to say “macaroon” and mean “macaron”, in truth, a macaroon and a macaron are two completely different things and therefore deserve to be called by their rightful names.*

*I’m sorry, it’s a pesky habit I’ve inherited from Hubby. His life motto is: Words have meaning. My words are corrected on an almost daily basis.

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The first hit I get when I google “macaroon” is, in fact, a macaron: a sandwich cookie made from ground almonds and sugar.

Go figure.

However, just below is a true macaroon, also made from ground almonds, but most often found covered in coconut.

Even though when I announced I wanted to make macarons, I wrote macaroon*, my dear friend Drew knew what I meant and offered to make them with me. Last year, he went to Paris and took a cooking class where he experienced traditional French baking with a handful of other Americans squished in the tight space of a Parisian chef’s traditional French apartment.

*And no, friends, I will not edit that mess. I’m leaving the improper spelling in there as a life lesson.

I’m going to be completely honest with you, because that’s how I like to live.

Until my visit at Studio B, I was not a fan of macarons. In fact, I had no burning desire to make them. They seemed such a big deal for such a small reward. Even when I didn’t know the extent of what it takes to make them, I knew it had to be more work than I was willing to exert.

But then I ate one I enjoyed and my disdain for them was ruined and it became a personal challenge to not only attempt them, but to master them.

I’m asking for much, I know.

I feel like I have to share with you the highlights of attempting to make macarons with Drew because it shows what a wreck making macarons can be, even if you made them previously in life with a French chef.

Now, I’m might sound a little harsh towards my dear, old pal, but I promise, he knows what he did.

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I think something is wrong

I’m not taking any fault for this one. I put the blame entirely on Drew, his kitchen, and his kitchen utensils.

Alright, maybe I should take 5% of the blame for not recognizing we were going to have a problem. As my husband likes to put it, Drew’s kitchen gear is “16th century, came over on the Mayflower, pots and pans, as well as a weird assortment of utensils seemingly robbed from homeless people”.

It sounds harsh, I know, but this much I can tell you to support my defense; the next day Drew went out and bought a Kitchen Aid mixer.*

*Yes, friends, we attempted to make macarons without a Kitchen Aid mixer. And while this may have worked out had he the proper sized mixing bowls, you guessed right if you assumed he didn’t.

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Macaron attempt #1 (at Drew’s, unbaked)

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Macaron attempt #2 (at home, baked)

In case you can’t tell, our batter was too thin.

This last bit of batter completely gave up on life and jetted out of the pastry bag before I knew what to do with it.

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Oh, and here was another fun thing we* decided to do. ‘We’ called in Hubby and Jason, who had been watching TV, to help make the fillings.

*By ‘we’, I mean ‘Drew’.

Naturally, every filling needed to go on the stove top and Jason and Hubby were less than thrilled to be working in macaron production.

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Still they humored us.

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It was a hot mess, but for a cookie I didn’t even want to make until a month ago, it’s a pretty great first time macaron making memory.

We ended up with a few decent cookies from the batch, but because I have problems, I needed to make my own at home a few days later to prove to myself I could do it.

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Much better!

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Lemon curd, chocolate ganache, caramel 

I’ll probably make a few more attempts at macarons, if only to be able to understand the process better. In making something new like this, even if it is something I never make again, I greatly enjoy the newfound appreciation gained for something so seemingly simple to make.

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