Monthly Miettes: Parisian Macarons

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My reaction to June’s Monthly Miettes challenge was a combination of elation and fear. Buckle up ladies and gentlemen…we’re making macarons! I knew the day would eventually come when our group would have to tackle these trendy treats, but I thought creator Aimée White of Food: Je t’Aimée would hold off until later. Much later. But here we all are, mere months into this fun project and Aimée has thrown down the pastry gauntlet. Gotta say I applaud her decision!

While I enjoy consuming macarons, previous to this challenge I’ve never attempted to make them from scratch. What can I say? Renowned for being virtually impossible to get right due to their finicky temperaments, I have purposely avoided these sweet delights. The challenge is that so many things are out of your control, the affects of which can be fatal to these delicate pastries. Some of the more common causes of failure include humidity, oven temperature, and the quality of egg whites.

Not to be confused with coconut macaroons, macrons are a meringue-based pastry made from egg whites, icing sugar and ground almonds. While these confectionary treats have been around for centuries, macrons as they are known today are credited to famed pastry shop chain Ladurée.

© 2012 CookThatBook

The key to a perfect macaron is the little lip (technically called a ‘pied’ or foot) that rims each one, the tops smooth and shiny, texture chewy and meltingly light. As for fillings, traditionally macarons are sandwiched with buttercream, ganache or jam.

© 2012 CookThatBook

© 2012 CookThatBook

A variety of macaron flavours are included in the book, but I opted to make the original Parisian variety with a simple buttercream filling. Rather than using pre-ground almond meal, the recipe calls for grinding your own almonds to ensure better control over their consistency. As for the signature pied, according to the folks at Miette the trick is to let your cookies rest at room temperature for two hours.

© 2012 CookThatBook

I gotta admit that I fully anticipated failing miserably with this recipe test. After all, it was my first attempt and I know pastry chefs who have spent years trying to conquer the macaron. So imagine my surprise when I pulled the cookies out of the oven and found them to be…well…perfect!

Check out my little beauties!

© 2012 CookThatBook

The texture was the perfect balance of crispy and chewy, the buttercream was divine, and I cannot wait to make them again and experiment with different flavours.

For more information on Monthly Miettes or if you’re interested in participating, please visit Food: Je t’Aimée

© 2012 CookThatBook

5 comments on “Monthly Miettes: Parisian Macarons

  1. Food, Je t'Aimee on said:

    Oh my goodness! This is so exciting! I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one making these for the first time. And I’m so happy you were able to conquer the fear with such lovely results! Go you! They look nutty and creamy and crunchy and amazing.

    I love your lead-in to this post, too 😉 Too funny! So glad you’re with me on the Miette journey!

  2. Stay-At-Home-Chef on said:

    Thank you my friend! I’m so glad we tackled the untouchable macaron and can’t wait to make them again!

  3. Kate | FoodBabbles on said:

    Congratulations! Your macarons look perfect!! I loved this recipe. I have made macarons in the past however, this recipe made it easy… almost fool proof. This is now my “go to” macaron recipe. Since I participate in MacTweets, I make them almost monthly and I had about a 50% success rate. Now hopefully I’ll be having 100% success thanks to Miette! This was my first month participating after seeing it on your site last month and I love it! Such a cute book.

  4. Stay-At-Home-Chef on said:

    Thanks Kate! I was pretty excited they turned out so well :) I was hoping it was due to this being a fantastic recipe (as opposed to beginners luck) and so I’m happy to hear you’ve had so much success with them too. Fool proof macarons – imagine that :)

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