Before I confess my secret, know this: I've been baking as a pastry chef for years, and I'm known in Tucson as one of the best. Flattering, really. The confession? French macarons scared the shit out of me... until last weekend. Like, panic-attack-at-just-the-thought-of-almond-meal-scared. When I first started in a kitchen and attempted macarons (with little/no research mind you) it was an utter disaster. The almond meal I ground was too coarse and the cookies flattened, fell apart, and disintegrated upon touch. It was traumatizing and I started to believe all the mumbo jumbo people like to say when discussing the impossibility of making the perfect macaron.
But of course when my good friend Liz (her blog is here!) asked for macarons on her wedding dessert table... I said yes. And then instantly cursed myself for doing so. The point of this long explanation? I'm no one special. I was as scared as everyone else to try this... but out of necessity I did. And guys. It was easy!
When I was in my first few years of baking, I worked under another popular blogger you might know... our dearest Beca. We were good friends, and when she left for Chattanooga, I took over her position. I wish she was there when I made my first attempt... maybe it wouldn't have scarred me so. But this time Beca came to the rescue (like she has so many times before) because she has posted the most wonderful macaron tutorial on the web. THE. MOST. WONDERFUL.TUTORIAL. ON. THE. WEB. All capitals for a reason.
Faced with what I was sure would be another disaster, I read and re-read her post as well as Brave Tart's (but I liked Beca's much better) and finally just. Made. Them.
They were wonderful on the first try.
Blew my mind.
They were nowhere near perfect, mind you. I got impatient with the piping and so the sizes weren't consistent or entirely flat... but I didn't care. I literally jumped around the kitchen pumping my arms in the air at my success squealing through my laryngitis. Only a crazy baker would do such a thing... and then write an entire post about it.
So thats all I have to say. Just fucking try them.
I'm not going to say anymore about the process or recipe because Beca has done a perfect job of that. Don't hold yourself to an unrealistic standard though... they may not work the first few times. But hopefully you feel the same sense of accomplishment that I did when they DO work!
The macarons were just one part of the dessert table I made, and I was happy with the outcome. Liz and Neil's event was the most beautiful, heartfelt wedding I have ever attended and I teared up at their genuine love. Liz is my personal body image hero, and so I must share how incredible she looked that night:
I'm thrilled Liora was there to capture the moments and food like only she could.
SO. Are you still afraid of the big bad macaron? Are you going to say "fuck it" and try anyways? Have you already made them and have tips to share with the rest of us? Spill bakers... spill.