Customer Reviews: Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home
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on March 12, 2012
I tried baking macarons in the past with internet recipe. They didn't look great, and I felt the recipe called for too much sugar. Thanks to this book I know there was too much sugar and why they didn't look great (troubleshooting section). So far I've tried the book's Italian and french meringue techniques. Both came out great, but I do prefer Italian. I did not like the sizes offered (1 or 2 inch) and created 1.5" macarons by following baking directions for the largest and cutting the final baking time in half. Few prior reviewers mentioned the cost of ingredients, but considering these babies cost a minimum of $2.50/each at a patisserie... Yes, nut flours are expensive and recipes call for a lot of egg whites. I have been using my scale to measure the ingredients and found that using large eggs you need less egg white than the recipe calls for. I do refuse to spend money on flavor compounds recommended by the authors so to make fruit flavored macarons I have been using freeze dried fruit powders by following the espresso recipe and replacing coffee with fruit powders. You can add a little more than 1 tbsp, just don't go overboard and enjoy!
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on May 17, 2012
I've been making macarons for a few months now with OK results. I recently purchased this book which uses a completely different macaron method than I'm used to. (See my review for Mad About Macarons for another great book.) I was definitely hesitant to try especially because of some of the poor reviews. A few things I'd like to points out:

*Many bakers are not used to combining the sugar with the egg whites before beginning to whip them. I know I'm not. But the whites still whipped and I got a nice firm meringue. I didn't notice any difference adding the sugar first vs as the whites' foamy stage.

*Not all macaron bakers let their batter set before putting them in the oven. This book has you dry the batter out in the oven for 15 minutes at 200 degrees to dry out the batter, accomplishing the same setting affect to achieve feet. It works.

*The troubleshooting guide is outstanding. It's helpful for the methods used in this book as well as for any macaron making method. The only thing that rattles my brain is that one macaron symptom can mean many things (i.e. air pockets can be too much air in batter, too high oven temp or too low oven temp). But that doesn't mean the guide is useless. Like baking anything, trial and error is how things eventually come out perfect.

*The book does not state to not age the egg whites. It is always stressed. It contains an alternate method for baking if you're just that impatient that you don't have time to age them. And it clearly states that your results will not be as good as if the whites are aged.

My macarons always look amazing. Using the method in this book was no exception. My only problems I've had with macarons are hollow shells, using both this method and Jill Calonna's method (Mad About Macarons). This is not the fault of either book. It is going to take more experience on my part to get them absolutely perfect. And hollow shells by no means says that my macs are inedible. The video on Le Petits Macarons website is a must-watch. You really get to see what consistency your batter should be and how to slam down your baking sheets to release and excess air in the batter. Who doesn't love making noise and slamming baking sheets in frustration?

I gave this book 4 stars because I am not a fan of it's layout. I have to flip to different sections for recipes, baking instructions, piping instructions, etc. It's good how everything was put together in sections, but it was complicated going back to the different sections as the clock was ticking during making, macaronage, etc. But all of the important information is included in the book.

Overall it is a good book and an extremely useful resource for any macaron recipe you may try. But for the traditionalist, this may not be the best book with it's alternative recipes and methods.
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on December 8, 2014
This book is AMAZING!! Simply AMAZING!! So I had tried 6 times making the macarons, but I had never got it right. I had thought buying this book would have been another mistake, BUT it proved me wrong. I tried making French macarons today, and they came out perfect!!! 98% of them looked like the store-bought ones and the taste was divine! I LOVE this book because the measurements were written in both cup/Tablespoon, and grams, so I didn't have to purchase a scale just for making macarons!! And also the Trouble-shooting section at the end of the book was really detailed and helpful. Overall, this book is totally worth the money!
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on September 29, 2011
I just received this book in the mail, after pre-ordering it prior to publication, and I am thrilled. I couldn't wait to try the recipes.

I love macarons,and I have purchased several books on the subject, but this one is by far the best. Although it has several amazing recipes (such as the key lime with marshmallow fluff -- YUM!), it also offer endless variations on shells and fillings. Fillings include ice milks for frozen treats, jams and pate de fruit, ganache, and buttercream. Shells include variations in nuts, flavors, and colors -- even savory recipes such as a maple bacon bourbon filling. You are limited only by your own imagination in flavor combinations. And BONUS -- you get really wonderful recipes that are excellent all on their own for jams, ice milks, and buttercream.

The troubleshooting chapter at the end of the book, complete with thumbnail visuals, is especially helpful. I spotted several of my own mistakes in this chapter, and I now have the guidance to correct them.

If you have unsuccessfully tried to make macarons in the past, or if you are an experienced macaron maker, this book would be great for either the novice or the expert (and everyone in between). The directions are very detailed, the recipes are professionally written in language that is easy to follow, and the book is beautifully designed. I also love the fact that measurements are listed by both quantity and weight. The recipes range from simple combinations to complex presentations.

I'm so glad I purchased it.
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VINE VOICEon September 2, 2013
My Friend Monique Desvoyes of St. Nom La Breteche, France taught me how to make the macarons the French way. She gave me very precise instructions and tips. I wanted a book that would give me recipes for the fillings and variations for the cookies themselves. I looked, and looked, until I came across this treasure trove. This little book gives excellent directions and excellent photographs. Tells you the correct way for your macaron to look (the French are very discerning of the correct "look"), how to prepare your ingredients (even aging the egg whites), preparing the pans, and photos of how the batter should look. This is not all, besides the basic French Method, the authors give you recipes for the Italian, Swiss, and Kathryn's Easiest French Method. This book has all the tips Monique gave me and more to boot. Buy this book and you will not be disappointed.
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on January 28, 2012
I am a hobbyist baker; I've made plenty of macarons in the past. I sell them on the side and I've always had great success when making these delightful cookies. So, when I saw this book at a local store and saw that there were variations on the recipes that I have tried, as well as an "easy" way to make macarons, I caved and bought this. As one of the other reviews mentioned, the "easy" recipe was anything but successful. It instructed to not age the eggs, and not to set them before putting them in the oven. My "easy" macarons turned into one big blog that barely rose and really didn't taste all that great. I was shocked!

I thought I had messed up on my own, but no, after 2 more tries, it really wasn't me. It was the recipe. And the other recipes? Why mess with cooking the meringue when hundreds of other bakers have successfully instructed otherwise. Honestly, this book instructs the baking of macarons in a long, complicated, and/or completely unsuccessful way.

But on the other hand, the pictures are nice and the fillings suggestions are quite inventive.

Sorry, Gordon & McBride, I just wasn't happy with this.

~~An unhappy baker
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on December 21, 2013
Although the pictures are pretty, the directions are inadequate, leaving out much of the technical details that make for good macarons. I made two batches following the author's directions and threw out both of them. After taking a class in macaron making, I discovered how many things I had done wrong, from not sifting the almond flour with the confectionery sugar sufficiently to baking with the convection on in my oven. I have done a fair amount of cooking and baking, but macarons need much more detailed instructions for cooking.
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on December 7, 2013
What a superbly done book, with its colorful pictures and blush colored pages it is a joy to thumb through. Additionally and more importantly, this is truly the best book on making macaroons I have seen. There are many books and videos out there on this subject and most of them have no idea what a quality macar0on looks like or tastes like, this book does...and it explains how to get there. It includes a few pictures of failures to help you assess your efforts. Be prepared for some missteps but keep plugging along. Ms.Gordon gives you four different methods to try, swiss, french, italian and easy. I found the Italian way to give me the best results.( A bit more involved but it has less chance of failure). The fillings that are offered in the book go way beyond what you will most likely ever use. Savory and sweet and the biggest shock of all frozen. You can use the filling and ice cream recipes for many other confections which adds to the value of this wonderful little treasure of a book. I highly recommend this book and after watching many videos touting perfect macaroons and seeing burnt lop sided, no feet, over done and underdone macaroons, I am thrilled to find someone who truly knows how to create a quality confection. Be certain to calibrate your oven temperature and good luck!

After reading some of the other reviews thoroughly, I feel compelled to ad a note or two. Please dont judge this book by others many variables can add to your failures or successes. The book is thorough and comprehensive. If you follow the directions precisely with a CALIBRATED oven you will have success. As for the expensive of ingredients. You certainly dont have to purchase anything you don't want, it is not listed as essential for making great macaroons.
I appreciate the fact that far more information and ingredient possibilities are included, than what is usually found which are less possibilities and inaccurate information. I have had failures and because of them learned that my brand new week old double oven was the culprit and not the recipes. I am not sure I would have noticed that the convection fan came on during normal baking and most likely would have kept a product that wasnt working properly for far longer than I did. The macaroons burnt..they slid, another batch cracked. Hmmm perhaps my oven? I calibrated and noticed a 30 degree differential in temperature . My new oven and the recipes work flawlessly. Be sure to check yourself and your equipment before blaming this book.
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on August 24, 2014
The book looks great, and seems to have very detailed recipes (they go on for pages and pages), but after trying a couple I noticed some serious problems. The book starts with several different 'standard' recipes for macarons that are then modified later in the book. This required constantly flipping back and forth between two separate ingredients lists and two separate sets of instructions. The standard recipe calls for baking the macarons at two temperatures, and the chocolate macaron variation says to add two minutes to the cooking time. Two minutes at which temp? One at each? I have no idea.

I also tried a caramel filling and found important details missing from that recipe. The recipe says to cook the sugar until it looks and smells like caramel. Maybe the authors wanted to avoid requiring a candy thermometer, but I would rather have known what temperature to cook the sugar too. My caramel was hard as a rock after chilling in the fridge for only two hours, even though the recipe says to chill for at least 12.

I've made macarons before with simpler recipes and had no problems. I just wasted the better part of a day with this book. The flavor combinations and the recipes look great, but I don't know if I'll bother with this book again despite all that since the recipes are missing important details.
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on August 11, 2015
I love this book! The author is interesting, lively, and knows her stuff! Plus she is refreshingly honest (there is a section where she says find the best way for you and stick with it, everyone has a bad macaron day!, love it!). I learned so much from technique to history which makes all of the work and effort more fun! I can't recommend this book enough... buy it for yourself or buy it as a gift!
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