For my final Golden March french recipe, of course I had to make macarons. They seem so quintissentially representative of all things beautiful, delicious, and unique about French food and dessert. I (gasp, I know) had never tasted a macaron until I moved to San Francisco five years ago. Just as I was typing this I just realized that it is almost five years to the day today that I moved here from Chile. It was the last week of March in 2008. Where were you exactly five years ago?
Back to the macarons: obviously, if I was going to attempt macarons, they also had to be chocolate. Let's face it, when faced with any dessert choice I always choose chocolate. If you've been reading for a while, you might remember that we also had chocolate macarons at our wedding, so they always make me smile. Other than the cake, they were the only other item on the dessert table that I made sure that I took a bite of in the awesome frenzy of our reception. Macarons are exactly the type of elusive dessert that I would generally never try to make on my own because they seem way too magical and complicated. However, in the spirit of my Golden year pursuits, I thought, why not?
We are currently just beginning to plan our trip to France this summer, and I can not wait to taste the real deal. I have to confess that I don't actually love other flavors (besides chocolate) yet, but I think I probably just haven't tasted enough of them (because, like I said, I always choose chocolate!).
I followed this french chocolate macaron recipe almost to the letter to make these beauties, and it did not let me down! My macarons actually looked and tasted like real chocolate macarons. Trust me!
Ingredient tip: The one ingredient that I really had to search for was Almond flour. I'm not sure if this is just because I don't bake too much (highly likely), but I would recommend calling around ahead of time to make sure your store has the flour.
Process tip: The one other step that I didn't anticipate was that you have to let the liquid batter set for 30 minutes after you've piped it onto the trays but before you bake it, so it's a good idea to have multiple cookie sheets on hand to ensure that step won't slow you down exponentially with each batch.
Appearance tip: After the first batch I learned that I needed to make the cookies smaller, so I tried to control the dollups a little bit more carerfully with the 2nd batch. I didn't have a real pastry bag with a tip, so I just used a plastic bag with the corner cut off. As you can probably see from the pictures, these didn't look perfect like they walked out of a store, but I was ok with that because they still looked, felt, and tasted enough like the real deal for me. If I was making these for a party where I cared a bit more about the consistency of their appearance, I would definitely invest in a pastry bag and tip to ensure cookies turned out more consistently round and the same size.
I highly recommend this recipe, especially if you love chocolate + macarons. You too can have the magic of macarons in your own kitchen. Trust me!