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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I recently bought some macarons at a famous, high-end bakery in Yountville, CA, and immediately I wanted to learn how to create these charming little treats. Although I find a lot of my recipes online, I had the gut instinct that macarons needed more instruction, despite their relatively simple outward appearance. And I was right. The techniques in this delightful, thin cookbook require some knowledge and experience, despite the clear instructions. As long as readers understand the vocabulary (mostly explained in the book) and basic French pastry techniques, they will succeed. Others may take more time to learn. These pastries are not for the baker who expects to whip up macarons in the time it takes to bake a batch of brownies.

Unless you know what makes the "perfect" macaron and what it takes to get there, you won't understand the excitement of seeing the "pieds," or frilled bases, form on the macarons while they are in the oven. It's not that creating macarons is particularly time-consuming or difficult, only that it takes skill, instinct, and confidence. And once you know what your goal is, you cannot help but feel the triumph of success. I failed only once, on my second attempt, but now that I know the techniques, I'm confident that I won't run into problems in the future unless I'm careless or impatient. Fortunately, author Ogita offers a troubleshooting page to pinpoint where readers might have gone wrong.

Instead of supplying individual macaron recipes in different flavors, Ogita goes with a mix-and-match philosophy. You choose one of two macaron recipes -- French or Italian -- and then choose your flavors and colors from color pages, either to add to the almond flour or to the meringue.

Although the author offers a recipe for real French buttercream as one of the fillings (this requires cooked sugar syrup, eggs, and butter), you can cut down your kitchen time by making American buttercream (butter and confectioners sugar -- recipe not included) or ganache. Okita supplies recipes for other fillings: chestnut cream, lemon curd, caramel cream. She then provides a wide variety of flavors, as she does with the macarons themselves, to add the one of two buttercream recipes, making the possible variations enormous.

If you don't have a high-end grocery store in your area where you can find commercial almond flour, I recommend ordering Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour at the same time you buy this book. Store the almond flour in the freezer to keep it from going rancid; however, you'll need to bring the flour up to room temperature before you use it. Although you can make your own almond flour in the food processor, it is difficult to get it fine enough or to avoid making it into almond butter. Even if you eventually want to make your own almond flour, I recommend using commercially milled almond flour for your first few times, at least until you're familiar with the techniques and possible pitfalls, since starting with insufficiently fine flour will doom your recipe.

This cookbook offers a solid introduction to creating the perfect macaron. Anyone can learn, even beginning bakers; however, the more experience you have, the better your chances of success the first time out. Now that I know the technique, I can make two batches back-to-back without much time or trouble. And I still get excited when I see the pieds.

-- Debbie Lee Wesselmann
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2010
I purchased this book on (I live in UK) and it only has 6 reviews - most of which are good reviews!
In middle of attempting to make my 1st ever macarons, I found my batter was too runny and started googling what went wrong and saw Catherine Moore's review here on the US Amazon!

If I had seen her review, I'd have never purchased this book!

She's right, the recipies just don't work!

The book is really pretty & all but it's not the book u'd want to get if u want to make proper macarons!

(I added more ground almond & icing sugar to the batter and eventually made it firm enough to make some sort of shape - it tasted nice but wonky shapes and lots of cracks!)
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2010
I thought this would be the end all be all Macaron book... it's cute and simple but not to the point. If you want to learn to make Macarons polish up your French and buy Pierre Herme's Macaron book!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2010
I love this book! The pictures of the macaroons are great and I love the step-by-step guide from start to finish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2010
This is a pretty little cookbook exclusively for macarons, the delightful French almond sandwich cookie, with recipes for a rainbow of delicious flavors. At first, I thought "Who needs a whole cookbook on only one cookie?" but I couldn't resist getting it once I had thumbed through it. If, like me, you love macarons and want to make your own cookie and filling flavor combinations, this cookbook has all the information you want in one place.

Literally every step of the process is color-photographed and illustrated, and there are separate mini-chapters on modifying the basic recipe for different cookie flavors and fillings. I love the black sesame, coffee, and Matcha green tea cookie variations (p. 32-33), and the framboise cream filling (p. 44-45).

It was written by a professional French-trained Japanese pastry chef who perfected her recipes over much trial and error. A troubleshooting section (p. 36-37) covers the most common problems (two of which I have experienced myself, working with other macaron recipes).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 22, 2010
Even in a big city. I have trouble finding macarons, so this book is an exciting find. I am a casual baker and worried that I'd never be able to make these on my own , but have had successes with this extremely detailed book. The step by step instructions are very clear and well illustrated, and I especially like the troubleshooting pages with photos of macarons gone wrong and how to correct the problems. The book is also nicely designed, and while VERY brief, covers this one topic thoroughly. My advice is to not stray from the directions, and WEIGH EVERYTHING on a decent scale, though as an American cook you may not be used to that. A great addition to my cookbook library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2010
This may not be the be-all and end-all authority on everything macarons, but it sure as hell is one enjoyable book! Replete with tons of information on macarons and beautiful photos, this is probably one of my favorite cookbooks to read through. The author adopts a very Japanese style, where each step of the recipe is accompanied by a photograph of that very step, making it a very user-friendly book. The book also contains pictures of not only what a successful macaron should look like, but also pictures of what macarons should NOT look like.

The recipes themselves are pretty standard macaron recipes made with an egg white and sugar base, but I love that it is so full ideas on how to make your favorite flavored macaron and filling, ranging from the relatively "common" (such as vanilla and berries) to the relatively interesting (like green tea, red bean and sesame). The tone of the book is also very light and accessible. This cookbook is a must-read for macaron-bakers!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2010
I think the author does a great job of showing how to create macarons with step by step photos and I love the flavor combinations (some of them inspired by Japanese flavors). I have made two batches of macaron so far and now my batter is the perfect consistency for piping and the macarons came out with a crisp shell and a pied (foot) using the French Macaron technique. I weighed out my ingredients with a scale and used three egg whites (90grams) for the usual recipe but I will warn you that for the chocolate flavored macaron you will have to use only two egg whites (60grams) as the almond flour and confectioner's sugar amounts are much less. I can't wait to make more of the macarons now that I have the hang of it; I give credit to the author for clarifying the process of making a macaron and then giving lots of freedom to experiment for yourself with trial and error. I don't think I could of done this after all the reading I did on the web (and I have done tons of research on the web, and still did not find enough courage to try the macaron!!).
So this book really is for people who have enough baking skills to try a recipe with guidance in technique; then adjusting it accordingly and improve on their technique to bake the perfect macaron.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2010
Love the book! but you need to know what you are doing, the results are great. Good to have it handy.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2010
If you really want to learn to bake macarons, buy a book by Hisako Ogita: I LOVE MACARONS. I did it and I still can not believe it! I have created `Valentine's Macarons' from basic macaron batter (Page 24), pink in color (page 34) and filling with chestnut cream (Crème de Marrons de l'Ardeche; page 51). It was only my second trial ever and I only needed to get a new sifter, pink color (Rose Icing Color by Wilton), and adjust my oven temperature. On top of looking picture perfect, the taste was divine. I am very much looking forward to a second edition of this book so that I can buy it for all my friends. Hisako's book deserves more than five stars for its elegance, practicality, simplicity of presentation, and artistic package.
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