Pâtisserie

Fleur de Sel Caramel Macarons

Fleur de Sel Caramel Macarons

Summer is finally over in Southern California as the temperatures drop and we prepare for our first Fall rain. Although I love warm weather, I’m excited for all the cooking and baking to come… To kick things off, I decided to bake some macarons. But not just any; one of my favorite flavors: salted caramel or fleur de sel caramel.I’ve used a few different recipes for macarons over the years, some with greater success than others. Since it’s been a while since I last made these little bites of heaven, I decided to turn to the Queen of Macarons, Helene Dujardin, whose blog Tartelette I’ve been reading for 4-5 years. If it’s possible you don’t know what I’m talking about, you have to check it out! It will change your life…

Macarons

Anyone who has ever tried to make macarons will tell you how exciting it is when you see feet. Add the absence of cracked tops and I’d say my macarons turned out perfect. I actually jumped up and down and did a little happy feet dance while singing: “They’ve got feet! They’ve got feet!”. In my defense, I hadn’t made macarons in a year, so I wasn’t sure how they’d turn out. If you’re scratching your head wondering what I’m going on and on about, as the shell bakes the heat causes it to rise and, if done correctly, develop a foot at its base.

Macarons
Macarons

Armed with a renewed confidence, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Fall than to bake some Pumpkin Pie flavored ones next week! The house is going to smell sooo good…

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons

Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons

I like referring to these Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups à la française, because that’s exactly what they taste like. Definitely on the richer side of the macaron spectrum, they’re every bit as gooey and delicious as they sound and look.I’ve been overly obsessed with these beautiful little pastries lately.

There are several good bakeries and pastry shops selling Macarons in Los Angeles, but I’m on a mission to learn and master making my own. My only previous attempt at baking plain macarons was only semi-successful; both batches had “feet”, but one came out too flat and the other had cracked caps.

What do “feet” have to do with macarons, you ask?
Joe, from Joe Pastry, describes them as “the rough, uneven bits on either side of the filling, a factor of the macaron’s rising, and an emblem of both skill and cultural awareness”. Feeling the pressure yet? Don’t worry. Focus on reading up on technique and watching a few videos. The rest is, like with anything else, all about practice.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons 2-in-1

These little babies, although still not esthetically perfect, are definitely a sign that I’m on the right track. And, in case you were wondering, the flavors were all there. Needless to say, I’m feeling more confident in my abilities and have high hopes for future attempts.
On a side note, as I was assembling the macarons, it occurred to me that being the Nutella aficionado that I am, I was committing treason by using a peanut butter filling. Very guiltily, but at that point a day late and a dollar short, I spread Nutella on my last two macarons. The Nutella itself is too thick and doesn’t, in my humble opinion, pair well with the texture of the macaron. That said, a nice Nutella mousse would have probably been amazing.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons

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