A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi

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There will be no recipe for this post, primarily because I don’t consider myself an expert enough to share a recipe for macarons. They are finicky little cookies. However, I would love to provide resources I’ve found useful and flavor combinations I’ve found tasty:

It helps me to watch a video tutorial so I can get a better sense of the texture of the meringue. The most common analogy you come across in recipes is that the batter has the consistency of “molten lava.” I don’t know about you but I don’t personally handle molten lava all that much, so the analogy is a bit lost on me.

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Practice. Makes. Perfect. Here are my tips to add to the sources above:

  • Be prepared to make at least two separate batches if this is your first go. They’re easy enough to throw together, but if you want consistency, making multiple batches will go a long way towards getting you comfortable with the process. To get the two batches above, I made a total of four (I have a tendency to undermix the batter producing domed shells that crack and are too delicate).
  • Dry flavors should be added to the confectioner’s sugar and almond flour:
    • Ground, dried herbs and spices like cinnamon, lavender, and cardamom are all great additions
  • Wet flavors and food colors should be added sparingly to the egg whites:
    • Use only gel-based food dye to avoid too much moisture
    • About a teaspoon of flavoring is a good place to start: vanilla, rose water, strong liqueurs all provide good flavor
    • Instant espresso and tea leaves, while technically dry, can be dissolved into the egg whites for a coffee or tea flavored macaron shell. Earl Grey works well.
  • The golden rule: even malformed, cracked, flat, imperfect macarons are perfectly delicious, so don’t discard them. Use them as experiments for different fillings (or for other baking/decorating purposes).
  • Macarons keep well. Unfilled macaron shells freeze BEAUTIFULLY. Filled macarons will even last a few days in the refrigerator.

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I’m very proud of my own recipes, but I use a variation on Pop Sugar’s basic recipe for these beauties, so I’ll let you find your own macaron way.

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