Friday, August 23, 2013

A New Beginning

I fell in love this May.

Love the French countryside.  Reminded me of where I grew up in Minnesota!

It was in France, on a bus somewhere between Nantes and Tours, where a friend shared my first macaron with me. It was a gustatory delight. The flavor was lovely, the size just right, and the texture was perfection. Ironically, I could not tell you what flavor it was.

Disclaimer: Not a macaron.

I came home from France with six Ladurée macarons in their beautiful pastel green and gold box, and two pain au chocolat carefully wrapped in layers of napkins. The pain au chocolat was gone within 24 hours, but I savored those macarons. Each was fantastic, and once I finished the box I was bereft. It's not like there is a patisserie on every corner selling beautiful confections here in Wisconsin.

Beautiful view from Le Nid in Nantes.

So, I scoured the internet and started on a baking journey in the heat of summer: learn how to make the perfect French macaron.

My first batch was a dismal failure and turned me off from buttercream, possibly for life. (Eugh. Even just thinking about eating buttercream makes my stomach turn.) They were undermixed, cracked like crazy, ballooned, my butterceam was terrible, and they only got worse with maturation. On the upside, they had feet!

So, I persevered throughout this summer. I've had multiple batches succeed and multiple batches fail.  I've come to adore my kitchen scale; if I could afford a golden throne for it, it would have one.  But mostly, I've come up with some recipes that I love and I want to share them.

Here's to a new beginning!
For real, making macarons successfully was better than climbing the Eiffel Tower.

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