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Saturday, April 3, 2010

For the love of macarons..

People are going crazy for macaron and bakeries everywhere are adding macaron to their menus. Even McDonald's in France sell macarons now. Years ago, I tasted my first macaron from Bakerzin and didn't like it at all. I thought it was too sweet, the texture was weird, and it had no flavor. After that, I totally forgot that macaron even existed until I read about Mr. Pierre Herme and his crazy macaron creations on the web two years ago. I had never made macaron before, so I figured I'd try it out. I used a recipe which claimed to be Laduree's and the result was decent. I got the feet, the shine, the volume, but the taste was not as good. The center was hollow and the taste was very sweet and bland. I kind of gave up, because it was too much work and the result was not satisfying.

Last year's Thanksgiving, my friends went to Paris and brought me the famous Pierre Herme's macaron. I looked at the vibrant little cookies and I immediately fell in love. To be honest, I didn't really like some of his flavor combinations because I like traditional and simple flavors in general, but other than that his macaron was perfect. It was not overly sweet, the texture was nice, and the filling was very flavorful. So, I set up my KitchenAid mixer and started experimenting with different macaron recipes.

So far, I have tried 4 different recipes: Francois Payard's, Pierre Herme's, Helene Dujardin's (Tartellete), and Laduree's (claimed to be). My top two choices are Herme's and Tartellete's. Mr. Herme's recipe is rather time-consuming and involves more step as it is based on Italian meringue technique. Tartellete's recipe, on the other hand, is much simpler and based on regular meringue technique. With those recipes in hand, I had successfully made macarons with various flavors: matcha, pistachio, rose-pistachio, strawberry cream, gianduja, chocolate, banana caramel chocolate, blueberry cream, and passion fruit milk chocolate.

I have gone a long way from disliking this little French cookie to absolutely adores it and it seems like the rest of the world does too. I mean, how can you resist biting into this delicate colorful little cookies? If you have never tried macarons before, I recommend you to try a good quality one and then make them yourself. You can fill the cookie with any of your favorite buttercream or jam and mix-match the flavors if you make them yourself. Interested? Check out Tartellete's and Syrup & Tang's blogs, they have very detailed instructions on how to make macarons. Or you can check out my passion fruit milk chocolate macaron post in this blog for Pierre Herme's recipe.

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