Macarons were my first pastry undertaking where I really challenged myself. It was spring of 2011 and I had nothing to guide but a cookbook on macarons. And this book was written in French. I got the zany idea that this girl from south Louisiana could master one of the most intriguing little pastries because I witnessed my roommate make them.
At the time, I was taking this self-appointed gap year of sorts when I finished law school. It was 2010, and instead of toughing it out in the jobless job market, I decided that it was an ideal time to spend a year in France. During that year, I was an “English language assistant” at a high school in the Paris suburbs. And during the rest of my time, I was exploring all that France and Europe had to offer. I lived in an apartment with some other 20-something recently-graduated French students. And it was my roommate at the time who made macarons, inspiring me that I could make them too.
I didn’t try to make them until I moved to New York City months later. With my macaron textbook in tow, I decided that I would not only master them, but that I would sell them. Fast forward many weeks, even months, and dozens of failed attempts. Any type of way one can fail to make a macaron, I did. Some were footless. Some were cooked on the outside and TOO gooey on the inside. Some took on too much color (overbaked!). And many, many cracked–leaving unsightly little monsters who clamored to the baking sheet. And finally, one day, I figured them out.
Now, I can make macarons in my sleep. Well, not exactly.. You see, there was actually a “macaron tower” challenge on episode 3 of the Great American Baking Show–one of those episodes that no one got to see. The thing about the Great American Baking Show is that we were actually outside. It happened to be humid with thunderstorms abound that day. And if there’s one thing about macarons, it’s that they are sensitive. I mean hypersensitive. Any little change in the environment can impact their outcome. And normally it’s no big deal–in baking, you’ve got to adapt. But when there’s a clock counting down and cameras coming at you from every angle, it’s a lot easier to make mistakes! My macarons came out beautifully, but they still weren’t to the caliber I’m used to!
I shared my recipe on the Home & Family site, so click HERE for the recipe!
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