Bonjour, Macaroon!

There is nothing I like better than crisp Fall air early in the morning, the sun becoming bright in the sky.  I like it almost as much as I like learning a new cooking technique.  Last night, a friend and I became privy to one of the baffling mysteries of the culinary world.  “How the heck do you make French macaroons at home?”  The questioned was answered by the amazing Jerome at Cathcart & Reddy (aka DessertTruck).

I was ready, eager and excited to get cookin’ (literally).  We built up our forearms whipping egg whites and granulated sugar; folded in almond flour, confectioners sugar and some more egg whites and tinted the cookies a classic Tiffany blue.  Hey, this is new York after all.  We learned the proper piping techniques; definitely different from buttercream, but after a few discs I got the hang of it.  Swapping the pastry bag between the two of us we made quick work of the batter and ended up with a whole tray of cookies ready to sit and rest before baking.

The cookies sat and hardened for a bit so that during baking its distinctive crispy outside with a chewy middle would form.

Next, we went to work on the fillings.  The fillings are where the macaroon really get their personality.  The first one we made was a rich and smooth mix of peanut butter and chocolate blended into a mix similar in consistency to Nutella (also a good filling I bet!).  The second was a chocolate ganache that was thick, fudgey and just sweet enough.  I imagine it would be delicious with a little extra salt in it to counter-balance the sweetness, but that is a step I’ll experiment with in my own kitchen.

I was so excited to see that our cookies came out of the oven and they were pretty successful!  Slightly bumpy, each with a foot but I am thrilled that the process has been demystified.

Once the fillings were scooped into piping bags and the cookies cooled we gently removed them from the pan and started pairing them up two by two so they were ready to be filled.  A swirl here, a dollop there and in no time we had a delightful tray of “fancy” French pastry that I am no longer scared to attempt.  So delicious and for you out there with certain diets; they are gluten-free and dairy-free.  I can’t wait to see what other filling I can come up with.  Jerome mentioned savory macaroons, which I am tempted to try.  For Christmas perhaps?  I was thinking a rose tea white ganache using the Rose Black tea I brought back from Fortnum & Mason.  Ooh, or a chai filling, mmm.  Ok, ok I’m getting a little Homer Simpson over here.  Enjoy,  and as always, thanks for reading!  -Krista

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