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I don't 'get' macarons

I keep reading all the rave about macarons but I just don't get it. I learned how to make them and they ARE beautiful but to me they are just a mouthful of sugar. Am I missing something?

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  1. What variety of Macaroon are you making?
    My family finds coconut macaroons to be quite a treat. They also like my chocolate macaroons, orange macaroons, and cornflake macaroons, but they do find the Parisian Macaroons to be a bit too sugary.

    2 Replies
    1. re: todao

      that's so funny. because i have very little tolerance for sweets--give me a cheese plate over dessert, any day. but parisienne macarons? swoon. i think it's the texture i love...the crisp-crackle of a great macaron's shell, and then the soft sinking into the center.....lordy! probably just because i love paris so much, and because my first macaron coincided with my first visit to paris, but i adore them. i think the best macarons are more almondy than sugary, and also that the filling flavor should be prominent (though most are sugary, i'll admit--but the best are primarily chocolate-y, or fruity, or nutty, caramelly, whatever-y)

      1. re: todao

        Macaroons are different than macarons. MacarOns are the French cookie that are light and airy, while macaroons are much more dense cake-like cookies.

      2. I think "macarons" and "macaroons" are different cookies.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macaron
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coconut_...
        http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/16/din...

        Notice that the "macaron" is a sandwich cookie. Just like an Oreo. TeeHee

        4 Replies
        1. re: yayadave

          Thanks for the edu. dave. I didn't know there was a difference but, although I don't trust your source of information (Wikipedia has no real credibility) when I read the recipes I can see that they are apparently different animals so my hat's off to you. Thanks again ... never too old to learn somethin' about cookin'.

          1. re: todao

            I only recently bumpt into them myself. As usually happens, I found out about them AFTER last year's stay in Paris. When looking into them, I have found a wide assortment of flavors being made. I haven't tried making them yet. Here's a couple of sites that may be a little intro into the wide world of macarons.

            http://www.seriouseats.com/2007/10/in...
            http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

            Here's the wacky world of macarons.

            http://tastespotting.com/search/macar...

            1. re: yayadave

              http://www.laduree.fr/public_en/produ...

              You can scroll through photos of all the macarons using the next button at the bottom right of the photos. I get hungry every time I do it. There are also some good CH threads about making macarons, though many of them link to Liebowitz, etc.

              http://chowhound.chow.com/search?sear...

            2. re: todao

              wiki has exactly the credibility of here. users correcting content. 99% do so in good faith

          2. I was in Paris 2 years ago and made a point of going to Laduree for macarons. There was a line, they were expensive (spending US $) and I wasn't sure I'd like them for the price so asked for a sample; my friend and I split one. When I was negotiating this, a French woman next to me became incensed that her clerk took the time to talk to me in English. These customers in line were acting like addicts; I, like you, don't "get it." I left w/out buying any.

            1. I think you may not "get" them because there are so many poorly made ones around. It's a very difficult technique to master. Believe it or not, Thomas Keller's (of French Laundry and Per Se) macarons are terrible. They're dry and tasteless, and taste like brittle bits of sugary meringue. A properly made macaron should be quite luscious. I've had macarons in NYC, Bay area, London, Bangkok and Paris. The macarons I've had in Paris were probably the best ones in my life -- Laduree and my chow-crush, Pierre Herme. The other ones I've had were vastly inferior. A couple of places in NYC were not bad. But they were no Pierre Herme.

              Sarah, I hope you get to try some good macarons one day. It's like the difference between a bottle of Mansciewetz and a '91 Chateau D'Yquem. I don't know what the macaron scene is like in Calgary. But I've had a difficult time finding macarons that approached the ones I've had in Paris.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Miss Needle

                Next time in Paris, try Gregory Renard, as good as Herme, On Rue Dominique in the 7th.
                All that notwithstanding, when l go to Pierre Herme, l get the viennoserie, like the bostock , OH MY

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  Thanks for the recommendation. If he's as good as Herme's, I'm there!

                2. re: Miss Needle

                  I couldn't agree with you more. The macarons at Bouchon are disgusting and overpriced. The best macaron should just have the cathartic teeth-sinking-ness to them that is just so amazing.

                  1. re: digkv

                    "cathartic teeth-sinking-ness"

                    That's the perfect description for what a macaron should be! All your cares and worries melt away when biting into a properly made macaron.

                3. My family grew up eating the coconut based macaroons out of a can. We knew so many Jewish families that offered these chewy treats around various religious holidays that when I laid eyes on my very first macaron I was fascinated.

                  Macarons are in some amateur cooking circles the latest utopia of pastry skill. They are showing up everywhere and these tasty and multi flavored treats are beautiful to look at. Seems every where I go another food photographers have captured cases of handmade macarons. Daring bakers blogroll featured dozens of stunning examples on tastespotting.com (I saw them too yayad)

                  Macaroons are simple to master and the homemade version bears little resemblence to the commercially made variety I grew up on as a kid but macarons are a delicate morsel not at all easy to master...and worth including in your recipe file.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: HillJ

                    It seems that making macarons well is a delicate skill to master, but that's not what intrigues me. It is the imagination to make some of the combinations that knocks me out.

                    1. re: yayadave

                      I couldn't agree more. The flavor combos, different flours, colors and macaron styles are endless. Would you like a link to a primer?

                      1. re: HillJ

                        Yes, please, link to a primer!

                          1. re: HillJ

                            Hah! I missed this post until just today. Thank you for following it up.

                            1. re: yayadave

                              Enjoy! This Christmas I'll be in macaron experimental heaven and in preparation, I've been reading like mad.