Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The French Macron

It all started HERE with my friend Rosalind.  She made French Macrons.  (in my original post I called them macroons but through my research I have learned that is incorrect).  Not to be confused with coconut macroons which are haystack type things made of shaved coconut.  Those are okay but what we are talking about here are delectable, delicate, delicious French Macrons.  They are almond based sweets that are chewy and sooooo yummy.  Once I had a taste of her macrons at Christmas, I became slightly obsessed with this french treat.  Rosalind is so friendly and kind and happily said that she would make macrons with me.  Of course this offer added to my obsession.
 Step one: spend hours on pintrest looking at macron recipes and plotting how I will manage to make these beauties.  Since I like to spend as little time in the kitchen cooking as possible, I especially focus on recipes that say: "Macrons for the beginner" or "Easy French Macrons" or "The basic Macrons".
Step 2: text Rosalind regularly with questions such as "do I need to buy a silicon macron mat?"
Step 3: consider skipping the effort of making macrons from scratch and buy a box from costco and give to family for valentines day.  (see post HERE)
Now, do you ever notice that once you obsess about something, it appears that what you are thinking about is all around you?  It's like the whole universe is revolving around your obsession.
As I'm driving from my brother's home one day, I see a sign in a bakery window:

Wow!  Jour du Macron!  (Day of Macron)  Yes!  This is the day for me.  I need to go to a patisserie and get a free macron!  Then I realize, I had bought a groupon for afternoon tea so that my daughter and I could enjoy a mother daughter date time and...the date of the groupon...WAS ON JOUR DU MACRON!!!!  
So, we enjoy our afternoon tea outing and get our two free macrons.  One each.  No more than that.  If we want more, they are $2.50 each.  WHAAAT!???

Step 4: Return to the idea of making my own macrons.
Step 5: Spend $200 with the local Pampered Chef rep and buy all tools that I think I might possibly require for French Macron making.
Step 6: Send Kevin out to buy necessary ingredients to make Macrons based on my pintrest research
Step 7: Continue to text Rosalind with random macron questions and ponder a date to make the macrons as I decided I would be unable to do it by myself.
Step 8: buy more ingredients as so much time had passed that previous ingredients have been used up for other things and I fear that when I actually begin the task, I might run out of an essential ingredient.
Step 9: Arrange a date with Rosalind to make Macrons.
This is where the true adventure begins.
You may have thought from my post thus far that Rosalind is a seasoned baker of Macrons.  In fact no.  She has a cousin who is a passionate baker.  Rosalind often goes to help her cousin make macrons.  However, Rosalind, like me, has been PREPARING to make macrons herself.  She bought herself a real Kitchen Aid Mixer.
The night before our macron making date, Rosalind took her mixer out of the box and said that she needed to make the buttercream filling for inside the macron.  Excellent.  I went over to her home to be a part of the butter cream making experience and see her mixer. We laughed a lot as we didn't really know what we were doing.  I kept running back and forth to her computer where she had the recipe on the screen.  In the end we thought we had a good batch of buttercream filling.

The next day Rosalind came to my house bright and early.  She had gone to the store the night before to buy baking sheets as she realized that our plan of using my pampered chef stones would not work since a part of the macron making process is to bang the pans hard on the table to remove air bubbles and stones can not be banged since they can break. (Are you getting the picture of how much thought and planning had gone into our ONE DAY of macron making?)
A few glitches in our experience
1.  I couldn't find my brand new pampered chef scale.  None of my pintrest recipes called for weighing ingredients but since Rosalind had been trained by a real passionate baker, measuring spoons would not do...we had to weigh all our ingredients to the precise gram.  In my stress of looking all over my kitchen for the scale, I somehow fell off my kitchen stool and fell hard on the ground OUCH!!! I am writhing on the ground half laughing half crying and Rosalind is standing over me checking if I am okay.  What a comedy act!  Anyway, we find the scale and continue on while I occasionally groan in pain.
2. The ground almond I purchased from Longos was not finely ground enough and would not go through my sifter.  Fortunately Rosalind also had been doing long term preparation for this day and had a bag of finely ground almond at the ready. More laughter...

Finally we had our macron shells piped and apparently we were supposed to let them sit and dry.  Research on google said that the drying stage was very important but the drying time could vary depending on the humidity in the air and that macron making should not be done on rainy days.  Rosalind and I looked outside at the grey weather threatening to storm.  More laughter.  We decided to go out for lunch to Markham Sushi while the shells dried.
So, to jazz up the buttercream filling, I opened up my jar of homemade jam that I received at Founders Circle.  

After about 4 and a half hours we finally had beautiful macrons to show for our labour.

I packaged up most of the macrons for my husband for our anniversary.  We celebrated our 18 year wedding anniversary this past weekend and a homemade labour of love seemed just the right gift.  I used one of the extra large kraft gift boxes and dressed it up with the Eastern Elegance designer series paper (only available while supplies last and gone for good after early June.), the spiral flower and a new hostess stamp that will be available after June 2nd.  Shop for anything you'd like on my online store.

So that's a snapshot into my life recently!  Hope it made you smile!

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