As many of you know I have been on a train trip across country. It has been an exciting time and I can’t wait to share with you my experience. However, today is not the day. Today I have a special treat for you, by way of the French Macaron variety.
On my trip I decided to stop in Salt Lake City to see some friends whom I had been promising I would come visit for the past decade (apparently I was being a very bad friend). I finally made it to Utah and had the chance to catch up with the people I essentially grew up with.
A few years ago I met the incredible Chef Adalberto Diaz, while on a trip to New York to visit my friend Mike. If you don’t know about much about him then I suggest watching last season’s Holiday Baking Championship on Food Network. Since I was in Utah, I thought I would drop by Adalberto’s marvelous shop, Fillings & Emulsions, to find out just how he and his staff makes the most delicious Macarons I’ve ever had – and I’ve even had Laudree at the original shop in Paris.
Chef Al has an incredible little shop with an assortment of delectables. I wish I had more time and free range over his shop for the day – for I would eat EVERYTHING in sight. I stopped by during lunch and the line was out the door! People would sit in their car munching on their favorite pastry before rushing back to work. I cannot WAIT for him to open a cafe.
Smartly (for him), I unfortunately (very very unfotunately for me) did not get to eat everything in sight. Instead (fortunately), I spent the day in his macaron creation workshop. His macaron business has bloomed and Chef Al has had to rent space off site in order to keep up with demand.
So now, what did I learn about making macarons? Firstly, I now understand why such a little cookie can demand a large price tag. Peanut butter and chocolate chip step aside. These little gems aren’t only super tasty, they take a LOT of skill and effort to make – this is not for the faint of heart.
I want to walk you through making Macarons step by step, but sadly even after a day of creating these delicate desserts, I wouldn’t be able to do them justice. Instead, I’ll give you a few pointers on what some at home cooks will probably misstep on when making them.
- Humidity, humidity, humidity. This is something that can change each day and can cause your cookie to come out different even if you made them the exact same way the day before. Be fair warned!
- Don’t use a candy theomoeter. Apparently different food dies will cook at different tempetures causing the dough to not set right. Instead, when heating your sugar and water with your color, you will need to do a swish technique (at least that’s what I’m calling it). Take a butter knife and drag the thin side back and forth through your mixture. Then let a little drop off the knife into a cup of water. If it feathers then it’s not done, if it stays in a circle then it is good.
- Bubbles. Think micro not macro – like your favorite cappuccino. You don’t want the big bubbles or they will show in you cookie.
- Once you have piped the cookies onto your baking tray, let it air dry before baking. This will cause the top to dry out a bit and will rise as one whole piece while baking, making a nice even top.
- Probably just best to get your macarons from Fillings & Emolsions. In the end, it will probably be a better return on investment and you get to have instant gratification. Plus, they now have Mac-A-Bons. Gelato filled Macarons. Oh my heavens! Where have you been all my life!
I hope you enjoyed my post, learned a little and are now salivating while looking up the closest store that sell macarons. For those of you not in the Salt Lake area and would like to try Chef Al’s French Macarons, you are in luck! He is starting to ship them throughout the US. Check out his website here.
Thanks for reading,