27 April 2005

macaroons

ever since cindy and laura took me to Miette at the Ferry Terminal in SF, i've had a small obsession with macaroons. i was raised eating the sickly sweet coconut balls by the jarful and have only this year discovered the more subtle, almond powder variety, served in upscale bakeries across the west coast. a simple visual will show you that there is no competition between the two:

vs.

food in a jar that is sealed for freshness, or food that is freshly made and does not have a shelf life of several months to a year? plus, we all know that the texture of shredded coconut is a little bit like skin. and it's not like i don't eat at least a jar of the Manischewitz macaroons every year (i prefer chocolate chip flavored) but i was ready to move on to something new. to expand my oeuvre, if you will. so i found a lovely recipe for chocolate-chocolate and chocolate-caramel macaroons in epicurious.com. i faced some challenges:

  • my mixer holds only two cups maximum, so i had to do everything in shifts, working between two bowls in order to fully mix everything together
  • i don't have a pastry bag, so i used a produce bag i had lying around. and the hole i cut in the tip was much too large.
  • i hate and therefore avoid nuts, so i wasn't clear on how big a "walnut sized mound" would be. i punted. i overdid it a bit.
and, yet, despite these challenges, i perservered and ended up with a gorgeous plate of smooth and pleasantly crispy macaroons. it looked nothing like a pile of dandruff mixed in honey which is what usually comes to mind when someone says "macaroon." i also had a gorgeously messy kitchen, walls smeared with chocolate macaroon dough (damn you crappy "pastry bag"!) and one of the most serious sugar lows i've ever dealt with...between sealing off the pastry bag tip with my mouth to refill it and licking off my finger between filling each macaroon, i probably consumed a pound or so of sugar and butter.

the macaroons were SO good but also SO rich that i had to cut them into quarters.

oh but the weird thing was that several months ago, i made this ganache that was a total disaster. i'd put it in the freezer and forgotten about it. a few nights ago, i wanted ice cream with chocolate sauce, so i defrosted the ganache using a steamer basket. after it melted down, i whisked it and it suddenly became this perfect creation. rather than putting it back into the freezer, i let it sit out overnight and by the next day, it was ready to use for the macaroons. it was so perfect...incredibly dark, smooth and rich. and all it needed was some time alone in the freezer. ah, the mysteries of chocolate. strange.

2 Comments:

Blogger cindym said...

sweet jesus, how much do i love french macaroons. but you know, the canned kind have their virtues. i like the spongy texture.

were they hard to make?

8:14 AM  
Blogger anniez-k said...

i had those macaroons and boy oh boy, i can't wait for passover to come around again.

10:55 AM  

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