Friday, February 5, 2010

Mac-A-Valentine

A macaron or French macaroon is a confectionery whose name is derived from an Italian word “maccarone” meaning paste. It is meringue-based: made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectionery sugar.

The confectionery is characterized by its smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference, and flat base. Connoisseurs prize a delicate, egg shell-like crust that yields to a moist and airy interior. The French macaroon differs from other macaroons in that it is filled with cream or butter like a sandwich cookie, and can be found in a wider variety of flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, chocolate) to the exotic (foie gras, truffle). Making macarons requires a great deal of discipline and is a process that is highly dependent on exactitude, technique, and proper equipment. For this reason it is a notoriously difficult recipe to master and a frustrating endeavor for the amateur baker. (from Wikipedia)

I never actually had a real French Macaroon before until a few weeks ago. After stalking several local bakeries I found some beauties located at Les Medeleines . Before I had another failure in the kitchen I had determined that I would actually try one so that I would know for certain what I was trying to make. Well, to be honest I didn't need to go to any bakeries because the very best bakers turned out to be Barbara of BarbaraBakes and Tiff of FoodFinery who showed me exactly how to make these "notoriously difficult" cookies. Please visit their blogs for bounties of ideas on many things including French Macaroons!


This is what I learned:
  • add flavoring and coloring before beating egg whites
  • beat egg whites until peakes stand up and will NOT BEND OVER (much longer than I had done previously)
  • stir in almond flour that is premeasured, and then test to see if the batter is correct thickness- it shouldn't be to thin or to thick (here is where the tricky part comes in)
  • standing time didn't make too much difference in our altitude and climate
  • bake at 280 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until shell is set
If you would like the recipe we used go to Deeba's wonderful blog,

I am in a wonderful group of the most creative and experienced French Macaroon bakers (Mac Tweets), take a moment to check out their blogs to see what great Valentine Mac's they have created to celebrate this lovely holiday. Many thanks to Jamie and Deeba for all their work!!

I am just wrapping up my first give away, a great pagkage of REAL SALT, this is the last chance you have to leave a message on a favorite local place you love! Next week I'll annouce a winner.

21 comments:

  1. They look pretty and good! :)

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  2. I have never had a real macaroon before and am kind of scared to attempt it...considering how fickle they tend to be. Sigh. But I should really just do it.

    Yours are super gorgeous! I am so impressed by how well they turned out.

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  3. Great post! Our Mac-A-Valentine baking party was so much fun! We definitely need to do it again! Love your pics!

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  4. Great job, they look like a super Valentines treat.
    Hope you are having a fabulous weekend.
    *kisses* HH

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  5. I really need to learn how to do these. Rachel is wanting them and she will be home soon.

    Yours are gorgeous.

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  6. Oh my goodness!!! These are lovely..so pretty. I have always wanted to make some but was too afraid. I will check out the recipe. A million thanks my friend...xo

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  7. Oh Cristie, those look amazing! So glad you mastered the art, with a little help from your friends.

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  8. Hooray for us! We are really getting this mac thing :) Love your photos at home!!! See you soon!

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  9. They are so pretty! I wish I could have gone baking with you guys at Barbs house. What fun! I really need to master this little cookie. I've only made them for the DB challenge. I need to get on it! :)

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  10. I would never attempt to make these babies because I'm not much of a baker. But yours are gorgeous. I also love Jamie's blog and glad to see you're making macaroons with her.
    These are perfect for Valentines Day.
    Sam

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  11. I love all of the macarons! You guys did a FABULOUS job!

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  12. So pretty Chrisie! Love the shade of red you made your macs!

    One of my favorite places to visit is lake front in Chicago. Standing on the lake front and seeing that gorgeous city in the background still gives me goosebumps!

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  13. Your macs are *so* gorgeous! I used the same recipe from Deeba and had footed macs, too. Yay! I hadn't dared put any food coloring yet. Next time, I will! :)

    I wish I lived closer to join your mac-baking party.

    PS...I had to go back and edit my comment just to say that my spam word was "suckm" -- haha

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  14. I was sad to miss this party! I have a lot to learn with macaroons. Yours look beautiful!

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  15. Wow! I ate my first macaron last spring at a fabulous little french bakery in Seattle near the "Pikes Place Public Market". It was heavenly and yours look every bit as professional! Ooh la la! I will add them to the list of things I want you to teach me.

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  16. Oh my Cristie - this looks way beyond my chocolate chip cookie abilities, but I'd love to sample yours. Amazingly beautiful!

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  17. Gorgeous and with such great company, it couldn't get better than this. Love your mac-a-valentines Cristie... perfect and ever so pretty! Thank you for joining the MacTweets party!
    Eeeeeks, obviously issed the last chance for the giveaway! Good luck for the winner, and looking forward to the next 'attack'!!

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  18. Oh, wow, you were part of Barb's mac baking posse! Sounds like so much fun! Your macs are absolutely stunning! Little Valentine gems :)

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  19. Cristie these look amazing! French macaroons have replaced cupcakes in New York as the new treat du jour. You're so with it!

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  20. beautiful macarons! i love the photo of them in the tall glass! Very pretty and they look so yummy!

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