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Nov 3, 2008 03:06 PM

What do you look for in a good macaron?

I made some this past weekend, but I actually have no idea whether or not they came out well given that I have limited exposure. (I like the versions they have at Bouchon Bakery, but have heard from others that the macarons there aren't particularly good.)

For those of you in the know: What's Pierre Herme's macarons got that mine don't (other than good looks... I thought about posting a picture, but they're too ugly! ;).

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  1. Oooh! I'm very impressed! I'm still too chicken to attempt it as I'm terrible with a pastry bag. What flavor did you make?

    I've read somewhere that Herme doesn't follow the traditional macaron recipe. It also seems like he may add more ganache than other folks. When you bite into it, your teeth sinks into an orgasmic burst of flavor. His flavors are really intense. You taste more of the flavor of the filling than the sugar sweetness. The texture is really delicate. I found Bouchon's macarons pretty dry.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Miss Needle

      if you'd seen mine, you would know that i'm pretty terrible with a pastry bag, too. i can't even make a round pancake, really. ;)

      i made lemon flavored macarons. they tasted great, but boy were they ugly -- all flat and misshapen. they sort of looked like turtles (the peanut chocolate candies) more than anything!

      the hamburger bun parts of the macaron are supposed to be crispy, right? i was actually wondering whether i should wait to fill right before serving so the ganache wouldn't moisten the cookie part too much.

      1. re: cimui

        i've never made them, but i've enjoyed quite a few!
        the outer cookie should be crispy and very light, with a slightly chewy interior when you bite through it. i imagine it must be difficult to make such a delicate thin cookie without browning the edges. how did yours look, color-wise?
        the the filling should have a very intense flavor- like miss needle said, even though the macaron is very sweet, it's the flavor (fruit, nut, chocolate, whatever) that takes over. the filling is sometimes butter-based, sometimes its a ganache, and then sometimes it's more of a jelly... (i've seen lemon with both chocolate ganache and with lemon curd, for instance) but it's always smooth and luscious.
        basically, if it melts in your mouth, then you did it right :)

        1. re: vvvindaloo

          y'know, i was debating whether or not to fill with lemon curd. i think i would've enjoyed that very much, but was again afraid of losing the crisp to the cookie. i'd love to try that next time. perfect excuse to make them again!

        2. re: cimui

          " i was actually wondering whether i should wait to fill right before serving so the ganache wouldn't moisten the cookie part too much."

          Well, I don't claim to be a macaron expert either, but hubbie's chocolate macarons are pretty yummy. From our experience, I would not recommend filling them just before you serve them, the cookie will be too hard. It takes a minimum of a day in the fridge after filling to get the moist, yet slightly chewy texture that makes the macaron such a decadent treat. The most outer part should be crisp, but as Miss Needle says, your teeth should sink into the rest of it, cookie and ganache.

          If you found the cookie too moistened/mushy, is it possible the filling was too moist?

          1. re: moh

            i didn't find the cookie part too mushy for my tastes, but i'm that person who likes overcooked pasta so maybe that damages my credibility. ;)

            i was more trying to figure out what a traditional, well made macaron is like: crisp and dry or it acceptable to be slightly chewy all the way through? sounds like it's somewhere in between: crisp outside and mushy inside. this will require some more research!

      2. I like ones that are delicately crispy on the outside, so much so that they're fragile, but enough to give off a perceptible crunch, but pleasantly chewy on the inside -- not a sticky dense mess, but just enough to contrast the crispness of the shell -- the best is when broken pieces of the crispy shell remain stuck to centres for optimal textural contrast. Of course flavours should be be appropriately concentrated.

        2 Replies
        1. re: limster

          obviously, i'm going to have to gain some more experience, eh?
          i was reading the cookie thread on the manhattan board with interest. tomorrow's lunch might be macarons from maison du chocolat.

          1. re: cimui

            Well, there isn't such a thing as enough experience, and trying to figure out one's personal preferences can take a bit of time. But well worth the effort!

        2. thanks sooo much for your feedback, all. i think my cookies were probably too chewy and not dry enough (i was trying to keep them from burning) and probably, i got too impatient with that low, low oven temp.

          wow, didn't know about the 1 day in advance filling, moh. i'll have to try that next time... but probably won't have the willpower.

          next time: longer in the oven, and longer resting time!

          much obliged!!

          1. I don't know where you're getting info about macarons or what recipe you're using, but have you seen this site?
            It is one of four on the subject by the same author and it has links to some other pretty good sites. Looking at them would give you a pretty good over view of the subject.

            2 Replies
            1. re: yayadave

              i hadn't seen that site and it's GREAT, thank you! is it me or are they cheating in that top picture by using molds, though? :)

              1. re: cimui

                I think that's a "crate" to hold/display them with out crushing them.

                If you want to see them in their lip-smackin', mouth-waterin' best, check this place.