Have you tried the French macarons? Not to be confused with macaroons made from shredded coconut, the French macarons are more delicate, are filled with variety of flavored concoctions and are incredibly pretty, that is if you buy the right ones. I've had a pleasure of eating macarons in San Francisco, Paris (of course) and Madrid. Once, I even baked macarons for one of the Daring Bakers challenges. Although my macarons tasted pretty good, they looked nothing like they were supposed to. And oh my god, they did not have feet!
What are the secrets to baking French macarons then you might ask? Well, that's exactly what I wanted to find out. And once again, Twitter came to the rescue. Cecilia of One Vanilla Bean has tweeted photos of her perfectly baked macarons multiple times, and I decided to contact her and see if we can have a baking date.
Luckily, Cecilia said yes and we got Laetitia to host the party. Julia, Valerie and Mariya also joined in.
We chatted, snacked, drank mimosas and baked. For full recipe and instructions, check out Cecilia's post. I just want to highlight a few things that I learned.
1. Buy a scale. Macarons are incredibly delicate and you must be very precise in all of your measurements. The scale is the only way to go.
2. Don't half the recipe. Make the entire amount and make sure you have 4 cookie sheets and 4 silicon liners.
3. Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks several days in advance because you actually need old egg whites for this recipe. This was one of the mistakes I've made when I baked my macarons.
4. Don't panic. Be precise and meticulous in your baking, but don't be so scared that you start panicking. Even if your macarons don't develop feet, they'll still be delicious.
5. Once you pipe the macarons, tap the cookie sheet on the table a few times and then let it sit for 30 minutes before baking. Bake one cookie sheet at a time.
6. Get some of your friends to come over and help you fill the macarons. Otherwise it'd take you quite some time. We had three fillings: rose lychee, lemon, and chocolate. The chocolate was my favorite. The lemon filling with white chocolate was really good too. But I'm just not a fan of flower-y scents in my food. To me, it's like eating lotion. Luckily everyone else was a fan of rose lychee filling, and it definitely did not go to waste.