Finally I can say that I have conquered the macaron, and I did it before the end of 2011 like I hoped I would. I must confess that I was quite intimidated by macarons but after making them I don't know what all the fuss is about. The process involves quite a lot of steps but overall it isn't difficult at all. I used Martha's recipe and made the chocolate variation with chocolate ganache filling. Of course I'm still only a novice macaron baker but here are my tips if you want to try a batch yourself -
- Do your homework. I suggest reading this post by Brave Tart, and then read her post on macaron myths and then the one on the ten commandments. Consider yourself prepared. Well, at least I did after I read them.
- Do yourself a favor and buy almond flour (I bought mine at Stop & Shop in the natural foods section) instead of crushing almonds in a food processor. You'll save a step and some time.
- Don't have a pastry bag? I didn't either. However, I did have this handy tool that I bought at Target. I had to refill it once but it worked out just great.
- Find a little circle shaped object (I used the lid from a bottle of olive oil) that you can use to trace circles onto the parchment paper with a pencil so you can at least attempt to make the shells all the same size. I flipped the parchment over so the batter wasn't actually touching the pencil circles.
- Most important tip - enjoy them! Even if the tops don't match the bottoms and they're lopsided and the ganache oozes out. Not like any of that happened to mine. Wink.