If there’s one maxim I consistently try — and fail — to adhere to, it’s “Know your limits.” After yesterday, there’s every hope that I will remember it going forward. So… French macarons. AKA “macaroons,” not to be confused with the stickily delicious American coconut confections. I figured what the hell (never a good way to start a project).
As usual, there are 7,000 recipes on the Web, and each is different. My usual course of action is to intuit and combine — which in this case didn’t quite work. Like one recipe (thank you, Martha) calls for two eggs. A similar one for the same yield, doubles that! Four eggs! What?! Huh?! So, I used three. Here’s MY recipe. Go ahead, enjoy. The very best part is whipping the egg whites. You feel powerful and confident as they work themselves into a “soft peak” tizzy and then obligingly morph into little snowy mountains of “hard peaks.” It’s all down hill from there, unfortunately.
Eggs (that’s the easy part)
Sugar (confectioners’ AND superfine). The superfine is super easy to work with. The confectioners’ clings to the sifter with a death grip due to 87 percent humidity.
Almond flour (comes pre-clumped in July humidity)
Cream of Tartar (good luck with that, especially in the fancy stores that DO carry almond flour). I think only folks over 80 still buy it.
Food coloring (choose Yellow #17 if you want your cookies to look like snow a dog peed on)
YIELD: 4 cookies
3-5 Business Days
10 measly but harrowing minutes (recipes call for turning the temperature up and then down and then up again. Um, okay)
* Prep time includes:
- Trek to Broadway Panhandler to buy piping bag, piping bag tip, some other piece that would supposedly make it easy; metal spatula (didn’t need it, in the end); sifter; cookie sheet (since mine had gold paint on it from an art project)
- 3 heartbreaking trips to three different stores for ingredients
- A full day to read the 7,000 recipes;
- A trip to the wine store (trust me, it was necessary)
- Locating, dusting and washing a blender
- Locating, dusting and washing the egg beater (I didn’t even know I had one!)
- Sifting the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar (a cosmic joke, really) for about an hour before giving up
I’m just gonna skip to the good part (and let you find your own way vis a vis the outside cookies) since my method included having all the gooey dough come out the TOP of the piping bag and run down my arm.) The filling! Which I think I invented! Well, sort of, in a round-about way that involved a quasi-Proustian Jamaican guava cracker (see earlier post). Here’s the easy recipe:
LEMON-GUAVA MACARON FILLING
Goya or other brand guava paste (don’t bother looking for it at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods; can be found at Shop Rite, which we don’t have here in Manhattan. Mine came from Boston.)
Lite cream cheese
Blend. Enjoy. It’s truly amazingly delicious. Next up? Madeleines! What the hell, right?