Macarons Around the Blogosphere and Books

While looking through my friends’ posts on Google Reader, I came across my friend S’s shared item on Francois Payard’s Macaron Day NYC 2010.  You can also go straight to the source at the official web site,  I don’t think she knew of my fascination with these things, having procured 3 (hazelnut, coffee and chocolate) from Financier at Grand Central two weeks ago, before meeting up with her and the other girls for brunch.  At $2.75 a pop (at least at Financier), you better believe that getting one from one of the participating pastry shops for free is a steal!  A portion of the day’s macaron sales will also go to benefit City Harvest.  (On another note, it seems to be raise money for charities involving hunger month, because I am also participating in my company’s Bag Hunger campaign to raise money for that charity.)

What does a macaron taste like?  Well…  For those of you who have never had one — the outer shells are made of egg whites, almond flour, sugar, sometimes additional flavoring.  It sounds deceptively simple, but if you’ve seen my first macaron attempt and how that turned out, macaron making is not for the faint of heart.  The cookies themselves are light, with a smooth outer shell that gives way to a softer, chewier inside.  The taste itself depends on the flavoring of the macaron, so I can’t be more specific beyond describing the texture and the level of sweetness, which, by the way, is not too sweet.  In fact, I’ll be honest — the taste is not all that exotic or special in any way, but I think the fact that they’re so damn cute (and so damn hard to make and so damn expensive) makes you think that they’re more special than they really are.  The filling…well, that depends on the filling.  But usually the filling is also sweet — I’ve seen many of them filled with ganache or jam of some sort.  They come in all sizes, from just a tiny bit bigger than a quarter to the size of a regular cookie.  The ones I had from Financier were the size of a regular cookie.

Trader Joe’s apparently has frozen macarons.  Serious eats did a review of them here.  At $4.99 a dozen (if you can get your hands on them because apparently, not all TJ locations have them), it’s not a bad way to introduce yourself to macarons if you’ve never had them before.  Other comments on that review were not so kind in their assessment of the TJ macarons, but if you’re curious about the basic idea of what a macaron is like and don’t want to spend a lot just to have a taste, I would go with this.  I have never had them but they can’t be that bad.

My hands are full at the moment with other baking projects, so I will probably not be attempting macarons of my own again anytime soon.  My psyche is still just a little bit scarred from that horrid first experience.  But I will try again at one point, when I’ve forgotten the trauma.  🙂

I did bake last night though.  Dark chocolate cupcakes with a dark chocolate frosting covered with chopped hazelnuts and crushed graham crackers.  I’ve made them before, when I made my Lost cupcakes, but this time they were for my boss’s birthday.

Currently reading lots of books on baking science — well, lots meaning two.  Just sifting through them for bits of knowledge.  I picked up Shirley O. Corriher’s Bakewise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking today from the library.  Very excited to use it as a reference.  I might even get my own copy if it proves to be useful.  So far it looks like it will be.  I also have Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here For More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking.  I ❤ kitchen science.

3 thoughts on “Macarons Around the Blogosphere and Books

  1. I had the most yummy macaroons from the market in Milwaukee once. They were filled with a chocolate hazelnut cream and I thought I would just die. As I am writing this on a plane on my way to New York, I may just have to stop by Grand Central this afternoon and treat myself!

  2. Hi Avanika,

    I would definitely recommend Shirley O. Corriher's “Bakewise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking”. After using the library's copy for reference, I plan to buy my own copy to keep handy for future baking projects. 🙂

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