It was Friday evening, during dinner, when I baked my first macarons. Only two days before all I knew about macarons was that they were tricky to make with many ways that I could fail, and that was enough to keep me from even trying. I never even read a macaron recipe before so I don’t even know where this notion came from. It was probably based on something that I heard here or there and that was enough to intimidate me to never even try. And then, last week, Helene a.k.a Tartlette came to Seattle and taught a macaron class, arranged by Viv, a.k.a Seattle Bon Vivant.
We made them together with a partner – always a good idea to have someone hold your hand when you’re scared – and Jessie was, again, my mate. Since Jessie is a walking dictionary and encyclopedia for all things sweet – you just have to see the spark in her eyes and her big smile when she talks about desserts and candy – I was certain that she had a lot of experience with these cookies. I asked her if she made macarons before. She replied, “I never tried to make them because I knew this is a very unforgiving recipe”. Hmm, well, I that’s what I’ve heard too, but just look at this,
I’d say it’s very forgiving.
So what if my macarons turned out flat?
So what if they did not have pretty “feet”?
So what if they cracked at the top?
I ask you, if this isn’t forgiving than what is?
I slathered each cookie with plum jam (other flavors work great too), and topped with a cloud of whipped cream, and, believe me, this was very forgiving. All my problems faded away after the first bite. So, they did not turn out perfect. I did not care. Would you care?!
After the class I was so excited about making macarons at home as soon as possible and I could not wait patiently for the eggs to “age” for 24 hours. So I waited…… aemmm…. less than 20? This might be just one of the factors that made this a “disaster”, but I don’t mind. Would you?
And besides, anything with a cloud of whipped cream in, on, near, or under it heals, or hides, every imperfection.
The macarons by themselves tasted great. I flavored them with vanilla sugar, lemon zest and orange zest. They were very good on their own but with a reinforcement of jam and whipped cream… Even though I’m not a big fan of jams (or any cooked fruit) it was a great addition to the macaron. And the whipped cream… well, we have already covered that…
The only word of caution I can give you is to make them an open-face sandwich and not like a real sandwich-sandwich because with a top cookie and bottom cookie and a fluffy filling in the middle, the minute you take a bite, the whipped cream and jam just fly out of the sandwich and make a sweet and sticky mess on your plate, or fingers, or shirt… But I won’t mind. Would you?
Because when it comes to sweets, everything is forgiven. (Well, OK, almost everything. Desserts can be ruined if they are overly sweet. That’s just my opinion.)
Like way too many hair clips on a little girl’s head.
If you see an older woman, or man, walk around like that, well, it’s a different story, right?! But on a little girl? It works perfectly. It’s cute and adorable and sweet and it doesn’t matter is she has 4, 6, or 8, or the whole package of hair clips on that little head. Same with macarons.
It’s just a sweet thing.
And she’s even sweeter when she helps with the laundry. That’s just my opinion.
So life isn’t perfect; there are so many roads and turns you can take where things can go wrong, just like with macarons. But they are my macarons. And I had to jump right in and give it a try. I was excited. I took a risk. I did not follow the recipe’s instructions. The result? Not perfect. But this was one of the best desserts we recently had and it made us super happy. I will definitely try it again. Jump right in. Head first.
Next time, I’ll try to follow the recipe better.
Macaron recipes can be found on Helen’s blog.