At first it's the eye-catching array of colors. Its form so delicate and dainty. Perched on cute ruffled feet – slightly resembling a cookie but so clearly its own thing. And the filling just completes it. The macaron draws you in.
The texture in the first bite is unexpected but delightful at the same time. The shell is delicate and the interior is so soft and chewy. A burst of bold flavor from the filling ties it all together. And it makes me want to take another bite and try the next one. And the next one. And the next one.
After experiencing why the macaron is so appealing I knew I had to tackle the challenge of perfecting it. I immediately started to search for as many recipes and how-tos on making macarons as I could. Comparing the different methods used and taking notes on the do's and don'ts, I began to refine my understanding of this finicky pastry. I would jot down the flavors that I knew I wanted to play with and researched what flavors other people loved. The information I gathered was complex but the challenge made me just that much more excited to try my hand at making it. I was in love.
After extensive research and getting the techniques down in my head it was time to gather all my ingredients together. I measured out and sifted my almond flour and powdered sugar together and with whisk in hand I started to whip up my very first meringue (yes, I did it by hand), which would be the first of many. It took me what seemed like forever to get the nice stiff peaks that all meringues require. Once I got it right I needed to fold in the almond mixture until I had the right consistency. So with spatula in hand I got to work. Having watched plenty of macaron tutorials I had a vague idea of what the consistency needed to look like, but having never tried it myself I knew I had to work slowly so I didn't mess up and over fold or under fold. So, I folded and went with my gut. I divided the batter so I could make two different flavors. I put a few drops of pink food coloring in one half of the batter (because who doesn't love a pink macaron) and left the other half in its natural color. I poured the different colored batters into separate pastry bags and piped away on my pre-drawn template of circles. Then came the waiting game. I let my macarons sit for the time needed to form its skin and once that occurred, I popped them into the oven one tray at a time to let them do their magic. It was such a struggle not to peek into the oven and see if they had developed cute little ruffled feet. But with patience I let it do its thing and when it was time to pull them out of the oven it was honestly one of the most rewarding moments of my life! Cute, perfectly ruffled feet! I was giddy with joy! I whipped up a white chocolate ganache and some salted caramel and filled the macarons with them. Then came the taste test. It turned out just fine. The texture was spot on. The delicate outer shell and the soft chewy interior combined with the fillings just came together so well. The flavors were simply divine. After receiving the approval from my two favorite taste testers (my husband and my adorable daughter) it was a definite win. I succeeded in my first batch and now I was looking forward to making more and exploring more flavors.
So here I am today. The macaron has definitely captured a little place in my heart and I enjoy every new flavor I create to compliment this dainty little pastry.