Chocolate and Almonds - Macarons
Macarons (the French kind made with ground almonds, not the coconut kind with two “o’s”) have been cropping up all over lately. You know how when you start looking for a new car and say all of a sudden you’re interested in a Volvo or some other brand you’ve never really thought about and all of a sudden you see them EVERYWHERE?
Well, it’s like that. First they were on Kuidaore http://brandoesq.blogspot.com/
Beautiful, but not my type, I thought. Then, as I clicked on random food blogs, there they were on Paris Breakfasts http://parisbreakfasts.blogspot.com/ David Leibovitz, http://www.davidlebovitz.com/ Our Patisserie, http://joakitchen.blogspot.com/2005/11/pistachio-macarons.html
and many many others. Then, as I Googled recipes there were – in addition to the chocolate ones – glorious pink raspberry ones, and pale green pistachio ones, and hazelnut ones. There was pistachio butter cream filling, chocolate filling, chestnut filling, peanut butter buttercream, and prune Armagnac filling. Just to name a few. It goes on and on – so far I keep chasing one link to another and have not run out yet. Good lord, there are Apricot ones . . . .
From what I read, they are addictive like few other things – many posts suggest a willingness to fly to Paris just to get one, and one post recounted how the author ate both of the ones that she bought as gifts on her trip home to London (a chocolate and a pistachio) – after all, neither of the recipients KNEW she’d bought them . . . .
And, they are a challenge to make. And they’re so dang pretty! So, last night I took my first shot. Summary – they are definitely worth making and I will do them again. Mine did not have the crackly top or the cute little feet that everyone talks about – I didn’t bake them quite long enough to sufficiently dry them out, and the feet only come if you fold the batter the exact right amount – I think mine were too fluffy. Also, the almonds need to be more finely ground – mine were a bit too coarse even after a long time in the food processor. BUT, a great start.
I made two different fillings - a dark chocolate ganache and a white chocolate buttercream flavored with Fiori di Sicilia – the exotic and delicious orange flower water that is the signature flavor of panettone. Wow, another exception to the chocolate and fruit thing – it was fabulous.