Macarons
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94 of 97 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2011
Like many others I have also caught macaron fever!If you read the myriad of blog postings about making macaron, you know that they can be a little tricky. I have tried several different recipes, and both the french and italian methods, producing an "OK" product but not what I was aiming for. Since this book appeared on my doorstep, that is no more! I am producing beautiful, tasty little gems with a nice foot. Berengere makes it easier!

At the very beginning of the book is a photo tutorial showing the steps of the process (Berengere uses the French method). This was a tremendous help to me, with clear instruction and great photos. After the tutorial, there are plenty of recipes for different macaron. What I found really great was that the recipes are in very small batches, making about 15 macaron (sandwiched). Using only about 1/4 cup of almond meal was nice because so many other recipes called for much more almond flour, and if you had a flop, it was expensive! Making the batches in this size is nice because you can make macaron every day if you keep egg whites at hand. It is also convenient because with this size, you can make the recipe with a hand mixer instead of a stand mixer.

Each recipe includes the shell, most unflavored but some with flavoring, and a filling. All of his fillings are either ganaches or confitures, no buttercreams. So far, I have made fig and orange flower, caramel, chocolate, and lemon. Today will be apple spice. There are 28 recipes in all, and there is a beautiful photo to accompany each one. Each recipe I have tried has been a hit with family and friends. Since purchasing this book, I feel much more confident making macaron, and you can too!
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2011
Every recipe in this book follows the same basic macaron recipe. The only alteration is the addition of flavorings. Many of the flavor combinations are intriguing which is why I didn't just give this book 1 star.

There seems to be fundamental issue with the basic recipe in this book. I tried this basic formula three times word-for-word and found the batter to be too runny every single time. Once I compared the recipe to other basic recipes, I found that the ratios of wet to dry ingredients was off. This one uses very little almond meal and powdered sugar with quite a bit of egg white.

I then ordered another book from Amazon (Mad About Macarons!: Make Macarons Like the French) and found that the basic recipe was excellent - it worked perfectly on the very first try! Mad About Macarons also has a supplemental section containing recipes that make use of the otherwise wasted egg yolks. I would strongly recommend purchasing that book instead to save yourself from the frustration I experienced.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Love this little gem of a book. The directions are spot on (more about that later). Crisp photos and directions for all of the macarons on pages 6-7.

The lemon, pistachio, rose, coffee, fig and orange, chcolat (Je raffole de chocolat) were easy to make and looked as lovely when done as in the book. Alas, he has so many flavours per Le nombre de saveurs est infini.

Just wish the publisher had noted where the average person could get items like bitter almond extract, rose water,orange flower water, violet food and violet essence and colouring. Since I knew how to make my own pistachio paste I was ok, but not everyone knows how to this or even where to buy ready made pistachio paste. And I am near enough to San Francisco that I have had no problem finding the other unique items, but not everyone is as fortunate.

Having said this, there are enough excellent recipes that do not call for hard to find items that I highly recommend this book. French macarons are crisp, light and the fillings heavenly. Not at all like the sticky coconut macaroons one finds here in the states.

Très Délicieux! Very delicious!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Making these little confections is so easy, I hope everyone will give them -- and this book -- a try! Macarons look impressive as all get out and the taste is exquisite, but Berengere Abraham takes all the mystery out of creating these delightful confections.

These are not the delicious but much stodgier coconut macaroons most of us know and love. These are lighter and much more delicate and made with almond flour or almond meal and egg whites, with a sweet filling. The flavor is like marzipan and the texture is soft and airy, like a caky meringue. They're put together like tiny sandwiches, but any relationship to the Oreo Cookie is delusional. The book offers easy to follow recipes for macarons and for about a two dozen different fillings. Of those that I've tried, the fig-orange filling will drop you to your knees, it's that good. The pistachio and lemon are also exquisite, and the coffee and apple spice versions will comfort a bruised heart and make it better. Best of all, the fillings are all the real thing. Jammy confiture concoctions or rich, creamy ganaches. No greasy buttercream nonsense.

First of all, Abraham gives us a no nonsense tutorial with lots of pictures illustrating every step. The insructions are clear and make the process pretty much foolproof. Just follow the directions and you won't go wrong.

But the real key is this: do not let the egg whites push you around. They are not mysterious or complicated. If you whip them, they do what they're supposed to do. One reviewer claims that her egg whites "wept" and sagged. This is an eggwhite that has lost respect for you. Don't be timid, don't stop in mid-whip. Don't think about it. Just whip. But do try to avoid rainy days. For some reason, egg whites get extra power to be contrary on damp days.

It's like souffles. If you are afraid to make a souffle, you can't make a souffle. Approach boldly or don't begin. I made my first souffle when I was about 20 years old and had never tasted one. I didn't know it was impossible to make a souffle without a souffle dish, or in an oven with a temperamental thermometer. With Mrs. Rombauer to guide me, I had nothing to fear. In my ignorance, I was fearless and successful. I can still make a souffle when I'm too busy or not in the mood for anything complicated...a tribute to my unending and undefeated ignorance. And, by the way, beyond the souffle juju, I'm not much of a cook. When I say I'm "fixing dinner," it means I did something to break it first.

I hope a lot of half-ambitious cooks will take the giant step of attempting Macarons. They are like no other cookie or confection and are pretty much unknown in the US -- everyone is still crazy over cupcakes. Believe me, macarons are better and they are no more difficult to make. Just whip your eggwhites into submission and you're home free.) Cooking is therapeutic. When the world is too much with us, it's nice to retreat into the kitchen and focus insane amounts of attention and time creating a dessert you could pick up at the bakery. The house smells warm and comforting, you feel like you've accomplished something (and you have), and you get to eat as many as you want because nobody is looking and if somebody is looking, lie and say you just made two dozen. No one has to know about the other twelve. Before you know it, you've distracted yourself from whatever was bugging you in the first place. Cheaper than therapy and you can share 'em with friends.

By the way, if you are stuck for ideas about what to do with all those leftover yolks...
1. Put one into the doggy's dinner. A nice protein boost and it will make his coat shiny.
2. Make some home made mayonnaise...another easy dish that has a high and totally unwarranted fear factor. Or whip up a hollandaise for dinner tonight and turn the broccoli into something humans will want to eat. The Joy of Cooking has foolproof and easy recipes for both.
3. Use one on your hair after shampooing. The protein is a natural volumizer and it adds tons of shine. Rinse really, really well.
4. Beat the yolk with a fork until it's a little foamy, add a little olive oil, maybe 1/2 teaspoon, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and enough oatmeal to make a paste; put it on your face and leave it there for 30 minutes, then rinse with warm water. You have given yourself a clarifying/moisturizing masque treatment that's going to do you just as much good as one you spend a fortune on at the spa. The cinnamon will stimulate circulation and do all that "cell rebuilding" stuff your expensive lotions claim to do. Put some cucumber slices on your eyes and drink cucumber water to complete the illusion of a spa visit.
5. Go out, party like there's no tomorrow, come home, go to sleep and get up with one massive hangover, the kind where you wake up with something stuck to your face and it turns out to be the floor. Drink a big glass of fizzy water. Seltzer, Club Soda, Pellegrino, whatever, just so long as it has sodium and bubbles. Now beat one of those yolks into a half-glass of tomato juice, fill the glass with beer. Drink. Or drop the egg yolk into a McDonald's Vanilla Milk Shake(it has to be McDonalds and it has to be Vanilla...all those artificial flavors and petrochemical derivatives are essential). No kidding, try either one. The results are amazing. It almost makes the hangover worth while because you feel so good when it stops.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2012
The basic recipe given in this book is faulty. I made three batches and all three batters were too runny. They're also tiny little batches, so don't expect to make any significant number of macarons with these recipes. I left them out for an hour to get a skin on top, there wasn't a skin. Two hours, no skin. Three hours, no skin. Put them in the oven, no feet and they weren't cooked through. Could barely even get them off the parchment. I have never run into these problems making macarons before.

My suggestion is to find a blog with some good macaron recipes like Tartelette ([...]) or find a different book because this recipe just doesn't work out.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2014
Although I bake, I had never made macarons when we got this book. After years of hearing how 'tricky' they are, and that they will fail at first, I was always hesitant. We should have got this book first. Our first batch came out perfectly and the different recipes are wonderful.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2011
Tried the chocolate ones. Instructions said to add the cocoa to the egg whites, which I did. Egg whites promptly deflated. Are they supposed to do that? So, then I folded in the sugar/almond mixture. (Not sure why I needed to fold this, the whites were already deflated.) Anyway, made enough batter for about 6 shells. Clearly, the batter was not supposed to deflate.

It would have clearly been better to have added the cocoa to the sugar/almond mix, and then folded that in. Poor directions. Maybe the others are better, but this doesn't leave me favorably impressed.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2011
What a cute little book on how to make macarons. Gives you enough information to be dangerous in the kitchen. I like that it gets to the point but gives you enough information to set up the kitchen and troubleshoot a few issues.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2013
What I like most about this book are the easy fillings - chocolate ganache and lemon curd are the two I have made and they turned out great. Best of all they were simple with very few ingredients. He also tells you how to make an easy fresh blueberry filling made of only three ingredients. The filling recipes also don't make too much. I hate having a ton more filling left over than the amount of shells...I have not tried his shell recipes because I have one I like that works out each time and makes two sheets full of shells. I'd add this to my collection of macaron books (if you have such a thing). Still on the quest for a perfect book but have not yet come upon one so finding some things I like about several books has been helpful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2011
I am just getting into making macaron's and this was the first book I read, however, the book is full of recipes without any explanations about making macarons so I had to do more research on them; the book's recipes seem very good but when I first tried to make the shells, had I not done more research, I would have failed even more than I already did. The fillings in the book are nice since I did not know anything bout making jams and it is a great book to have for viewing pictures of how your macarons should look, so all I can say is it is a great book for recipes but little info on making the shells.
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