Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mon petit macaron!

Not macaroon...

Macarons are a simple elegant cookie that haven't gotten enough credit in the States (granted they are becoming more and more popular now, perhaps they are heading towards the macaron version of the cupcake craze?).

Several specialty bakeries and shops display these amazing little cookies, but most people I talk to, still refuse to acknowledge that I am not talking about the coconut macaron.

It is generally accepted that the cookie originated from France, however some believe its history can be traced back to the arrival of Catherine de' Medici who, upon marrying Henry II in 1533, brought Italian pasty chefs with her to court. Macarons are served in the best

Parisian pastry shops including the tea house Laduree, Pierre Hermé and Fauchon who consider the cookie a source of pride and display them prominently.

The macaron is a sandwich cookie whose dainty domes are made out of a mixture of egg whites, almond meal, confectionery and granulated sugars along with a wide range of creative flavorings. Two domes sandwich a dollop of ganache, buttercream or jam.

It is a very formalist cookie, and does not count as a macaron unless a distinctive pied or foot (a delicate fringe around the base) is formed during the baking process, to a point where chefs display these cookies as a signature of their talent.

After being intimidated by the pied for a long time, I decided to attempt making the cookie. I had all the ingredients on hand to make a chocolate macaron with a mocha buttercream, so here they are!

Look at them feet! I have a lot of work to do on experimenting with flavors and recipes to reach the perfect crust, but the texture was pretty good on my first try, and I am super excited!

On a side note, I also made some heart shaped shortbread cookies with raspberry filling!

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