I made these:
Recently a little post over there on SideDish featuring some well-intentioned (but rough-hewn) examples of this classic french confectionery sparked a rather entertaining debate (and here) on whether one is to pronounce them macaron or macaroon - Thomas Keller, Pierre Hermé and I say macaron. Whatever - it inspired me to dig out this story, one that I held from posting.
A few months ago, my friend brought me back a dozen macarons from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery. I'd never really had a good one before, I guess - 'cause I was floored by the incredible textural experience and almond laced flavor of these little buggers.
As a fun way to thank my friend, I learned how to make them!
^ A key part of the process is to "age" the egg whites needed for the batter - that's right... these sat out at room temperature for 24 hrs. ^Then you need ground almonds or "almond flour."
^ For the classic pistachio macaron, ground pistachios are added along with the standard confectionary sugar. ^ Here, additional granulated sugar is tinted green with food coloring to enhance the appearance of the final product.
^The colored sugar is whipped into the egg whites; then these are incorporated with the almonds, pistachios and confectionary sugar.
^ For a "cappuccino" version of the batter, I added ground espresso beans to the sugar and omitted the pistachios.
^I found out that I didn't have a pastry bag - so I did the baggie trick - meh... imperfect rounds - even after the obligatory smacking down of the trays.
^All this trouble and precise baking are in aid of producing these little "feet" at the bottom of the cookie. I kind of over-achieved on this batch, but the crisp shell and moist, airy interior were well produced. Traditionally, a filling of ganache, buttercream or jam is sandwiched between two cookies.
^I made some blueberry buttercream to fill some of the coffee cookies; ^and a pistachio buttercream for that type.
^I also made a violet buttercream for some of the pistachio cookies - awesome. Far from perfect, but not too shabby!