Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Paris & Macarons

The first in my Food & Travel series: 
Macarons & Paris

Macaron Tips
Macarons not Macaroons 

Macaroons – generic phrase for whipped egg white confections, almost always cookies and often with coconut.

Macarons - Meringue-based cookie, with almond flour, egg whites and powdered and granulated sugar, sandwiched with a fruit or frosted center. (See also French Macaroons)

So when it comes to baking the trendy cookie sandwich, first understand that you are making macaronsnot macaroons.  My friend Emily took a macaron class, and she sent me a few tips about some other things you should know before making the delicate dessert.

According to Emily …
1. Keep your almond meal in the freezer. 
2.  For better results, add a pinch of cream of tartar to dry macaron ingredients. 
3.  Massage butter into the ganache with a blender, do not whisk in circles — this lets in too much air.
4. Nutella can be a good buttercream or ganache substitute. 
5.  Macarons only need four ingredients: almond meal (or flour), powdered sugar, granulated sugar and egg whites. To create flavors, mix dry ingredients into the almond meal (nuts, cocoa, etc.) and wet ingredients (extracts) with egg whites after stiff peaks have formed. 

A few days in Paris

Robert and spent a few days in Paris in May — as you may have inferred from my food diary. 

While I won’t bore you with the details, I’ll hit the highlights …

A stroll in the Jardin du Luxembourg followed by an outdoor café quiche and espresso.
A jet lagged dinner of baguette and brie followed by falling asleep early to the sound of a jazz band from the Latin Quarter street below.
Our bnb on Rue Dauphine.
Breakfast pastries each morning at the café down the street.
Getting to the Louvre early and seeing all the highlights without a line.
Crepes on the street.
Gelato on the street.
Learning about buttresses at Notre Dame — from Robert.
Placing a lock on the Love Lock Bridge. Ours is probably still there.
Buying a scarf from two adorable French grandmas.
Shakespeare Books.
A Laduree macaron picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Stumbling into an amazing dinner at Bistro 1900.
The Seine.

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