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Mad About Macarons!: Make Macarons Like the French
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85 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I've made at least 15 batches macarons from various recipes and none would turn out correctly. Once I tried Jill Colonna's method of just mix the hell out of the batter and then fold it towards the end to achieve the right consistency - my macarons came out perfect. I've made 8 batches of macarons using this method with great success each time. I won't be going back to the gently folding the batter until it looks like molten lava method. The flavor combinattions are great. There's a section just for chocolate! What I liked best is that at the end of the book Jill gives you an egg equivalent chart for any amount of leftover egg whites you have. This is a great resource. Her macarons are not as sweet as the other recipes also.

I highly recommend this book for anyone is starting to make macarons. It takes the frustration out of trying to make macarons. No more flubbed shells with this method!
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I initially bought Macarons by Cecile Cannone. Please see my review for that book. Although the taste was wonderful, the presentation was off. My shells would never look perfect. The feet would never be perfect across all batches. They weren't round. The list goes on. So I moved to an intermediate learner book called Mad about Macarons! Here is what I have learned:

Additional things I had to buy:
- medium sieve (Williams Sonoma does not sell one with large enough holes to work. I had to go to Sur La Table and get this strange looking thing. A big short cylindrical metal thing with a wire mesh attached to one side. It cost about $40)
- a hand spatula that is flat on one end and round on the other (again, only could find at Sur La Table. It cost $4)
- a digital scale (I got it at Williams Sonoma. I have a spring weighted scale but that is in ounces. This book is all in grams. The digital scale really helped on that end. Think I paid $50)
- bought a bigger Wilton frosting bag to put the shell batter in

Things I stopped doing (that I had to do with the other book)
- stopped having to put egg white powder in to take care of humidity problems. yay!
- stopped having to worry about how I mix the batter
- stopped having to put salt in the egg mix
- stopped having to refrigerate my leftover almond meal and then put it in the oven pre-mixing to get the humidity out. Thank God!

What is cool about this book:
* it firmly recommends you sift your sugars, powdered sugar (which she calls icing sugar by the way), almond meal, cocoa powder if using, etc). I like it! I throw out my big almond chunks and although I had some initial heart ache about wasting expensive stuff, it really makes the mix look so soft when you are dry mixing it with your whisk!
* in this book it states you can mix the liquid and dry mix together crazily and not worry about it. I was so scared of how to mix my batter before, I kind of like this method. Don't over mix though...I saw oil stains in my shells last time I did that.
* tells you how to get perfect round macarons. Follow what it says. Let your tip rest on the cookie sheet and then put pressure on to build a circle. It really works! Do this at a 45 degree angle. Previously, I was doing a 90 degree angle and my shells were uncontrollable and not perfectly circle. Totally bugged me!
* I like my new tools. They make everything easier. Love the hand spatula. Love the strange looking strainer. Love Love Love!
* No need to open the oven sporadically to let the humidity out.
* The recipe is better for the shell. I no longer have oil stains or cracked shells. My feet are perfect. I do not have to use two cookie sheets at once either (one to insulate the other). How do I do this? 1. my oven temp has to be at 300 degrees NO convection. The fan burns my shells on the side the airflow is going. 2. Cook for 10 minutes. Perfect.

What I kind of don't like about this book:
- where the heck do I get things like custard powder? It's in one of the recipes...still no clue how to find that easily. I think some other ingredients might be like this as well.
- it doesn't have a troubleshooting section like the Macarons book has. Hence, I'm glad I bought both.
- I would say that these recipes seem more like european desired flavors and the Macarons book is more the american flavor style. What I mean by that is the Macarons book has more things like chocolate coffee flavor, salty caramel on chocolate, etc. the flavors in this book seem more "exotic" but I haven't tried anything crazy yet because I needed to perfect my shells first.

It took me about five batches to get the shell perfect with this book, but I never could do that with the other. I got frustrated. So now I use this one for shells but I mix recipes with the other. I'm glad I bought both. I would say this one is an absolute must if you want your shells to not only taste perfect, but look perfect for giving.

Hope this helps!
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
When I went to Paris in 2009 I fell in love with macarons. Unfortunately finding them in the States is not that easy. When I found out that you could make them at home I tried, and trust me it was a mess. Some of the other books out there are not as exact!! Jill goes into just the right amount of detail. Just finished my first batch from the book, they turned out perfect!! If you are looking to try making macarons at home Mad about Macarons is the way to go!!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This is a beautiful book that has super easy instructions for the first time Macaron maker. It give great details, a product information list in the back and delicious recipes from the sweet to the savory! Perfect for making this delightful treat.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I have purchased every macaron cook book that is available in English ( I <3 Macarons, Macarons; authentic french cookie..., and others) , this is by far the best macaron cook book yet. The others have some good tips, but this one makes making macarons a piece of cake. initially I found a good recipe online, because the books just werent doing it, but this new recipe and tecnique is amazing!!, and all of the flavor combos, you could make a new macaron every day for a month, maybe longer.

I have thus far made two flavors, with a new recipe I always start with plain, and then move on tho flavors (which seemed to be harder in the past), tonight was the chocolate beet flavor and I decided to make the cookie chocolate too....They came out perfect!!!

I am the happiest camper!
Buy this book if you want to make macarons, and feel warm and fuzzy inside, buy the other books if you want to buy expensive ingredients, attempt to make macarons, and feel sad when you fail.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I bought this because my wife challenged me to make her Macarons. I have almost no baking experience (other than the pilsbury cake mixes) and I kept hearing from everyone how Macarons are impossible and that it takes 10 or more tries until something decent comes out.
So I did the sensible thing and cruised amazon for the right instructions. Based on the reviews, this book seemed to be it.

Well, it is! My first batch produced nice macarons. Nothing you could sell at a shop, but true macarons.
My second batch was better. My third made me think I'm the world's expert macaron expert. Well, I'm probably not, but it's a nice thought.

Key points:
- The recipe is foolproof. If I can do it, everybody can. Seriously.
- Measurements have to be exact. This is not a feature of this book, it's true for Macarons in general (google it)
- The most difficult part was finding the American equivalent of the British ingredients. I now know where to find it (on their facebook page and here on the amazon reviews). Don't try to substitute unless you know what you're doing; almost all of the ingredients can be found in your local safeway or ordered on amazon.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
*UPDATE* February 16, 2012

My second batch made using this book turned out unmistakeably PERFECT. I whipped my egg whites better (as they should have been in the first place. I underestimated how much time it took to whip 150g of egg whites) to create a thicker batter which was necessary. I baked at 325F for 11 minutes and the result was just outstanding.

*JANUARY REVIEW*

I don't remember the first time I ever saw a Macaron. I didn't even taste one until a few weeks ago (and it was just a shell), but I'd been hunting for a good macaron book for awhile. After reading the reviews raving about this book, I decided to purchase it. And I was not disappointed!!

Like some people, I was a little startled about all the metric measurements. Already having a food scale ($10 at Kohl's), I didn't see it as being a problem. And it's very easy to do a quick google search for conversation calculators!! I can't imagine giving this book a bad review because it uses the metric system. Macarons are a french dessert, there's no reason why this book should be specifically catering to Americans. The author also notes that ingredients are listed in grams because some measurements may be too small to measure in cups.

Some of the ingredients were hard to find, but knowing your grocery store really helped. Castor sugar (note: NOT the same at icing/confectioner's sugar) can be found at Wegmans, while Almond flour and custard powder (used for a lot of the fillings) can be found at almost any grocery store. I had to make a few investments like sieves, scrapers, etc. but the outcome was completely worth it!

With my very first batch I was so excited (like others) to see feet when I opened the oven!! I do not think I whipped my egg whites well enough, and I had to adjust my oven temperature to 325F (as opposed to the 320F/160C stated in the book) for the third cookie sheet. I was not surprised because the author mentioned that without a convection oven the temperature may have needed to be higher. My first two cookie sheets had gooey shells and were odd shaped because my cookie sheets were warped and made the batter run. I think my batter was also a little bit too thin as well. But after the temperature adjust I had some really beautiful macarons...on my FIRST try!!! I only ended up with 12 sandwiches total (out of about 30) but trial and error was really easy with this book. Everything was simple, spelled out, and had great photographs for comparison. The first filling I made was the lemon filling and it came out delicious and was super simple to make.

I do not regret buying this book for any reason. While my first batch wasn't absolutely perfect, I was amazed at what I was able to do!! This is definitely the book you want to buy if you want to make your own parisian macarons. Out of all the other books on the market, this one has the best reviews and the greatest success stories. I would recommend this book to any baker. While the ingredients and supply list can be a little intimidating, the process of making macarons was a breeze. With only 12 successful macarons I am not discouraged; I am inspired and excited to try more. Jill Colonna has really hit it big with her passion for macarons, and will quickly turn any baking novice into a brilliant french pastry chef!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I bought this book because I had tasted some delicious macaroons in Washington, DC. After researching in the internet and reading several blogs I decided to buy this book and hope for the best. Well, I am not dissapointed!!! I had already a small scale that I use to measure food portions and calories, so switching to metric was no issue. I carefully measured all the ingredients such as the author described, mixed the resulting batter as described for no more than five minutes and got the "ribbon" effect she speaks about. The most difficult part was the piping and only because I chose a tip with too big of an opening. Do leave enough room between the circles because they do spread out a bit. This discouraged me a bit as I thought perhaps the batter was too thin. I let them sit for 30 minutes on the counter while pre-heating the oven to 320F/160C - I followed her instructions and set the timer to 8 minutes to check on the cookies and almost fainted when I opened the oven door and my macaroons had feet!!! They had risen beautifully! I baked them for another two minutes and voila! Done! Made a guava mousse to fill them up. They are currently in the fridge in a tight sealed container to cure overnight. I highly recommend this book! It has really interesting flavor mixes for all types of occasions. Just follow the instructions snd you will have perfect macaroons to impress your family and friends alike!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
It is a good overall book for people who want to start baking macarons. Nothing new here, but good basic pointers nevertheless.

The ideas for yolks are spot, a great addition to macaron making as you usually find yourself with lots of yolks (I use to throw them out, now I do creme brullee).

The flavor combos are very interesting and with a flair of nce creativity.

It only covers macaron making through the french meringue method, after the basic recipe its a collection of interesting flavor combinations.

Anyhow good overall book for begginers.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Her recipes are very good but I had to adjust the tempurature to 300F. On top of that I let my eggs sit at room temperature for 24 hrs, the mixture is perfect and won't crack. You have to make sure after you pipe out the mixture on the baking sheet let it sits for at least 20 mins, this step and let your eggs sit for 24 hrs are very important. DO NOT TAKE SHORT CUT!!!
If you buy diced almonds and decide to grind it at home be sure to weight it again it has to be exactly 180g
I also tried something new,too. I substituted the almonds for hazelnuts and it turned out very good!
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