Post-Graduation Macaroons

The last time I graduated I took with me a line on my forehead: the sun burnt an impression from my graduation cap on to my skin that lasted three weeks. This time I vowed I would leave graduation the same way I came in, and for the most part I kept my word. That is except for the macaroons. I left with macaroons.

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We had our post-graduation lunch at the Ritz Carlton because it would be easiest and the least crowded. Lunch was a buffet—there was good stuff up there. Shrimp, lobster, lamb and risotto and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Roberts family is funny with shrimp on a buffet: we head right for them. We stack our plates greedily and come back to the table, our faces hidden by pink mountains of shellfish. The Roberts family likes shrimp.

But the Ritz Carlton shrimp were forgettable. So was the lobster, lamb and risotto. What I took with me, both figuratively and literally were the macaroons. I asked for a box and and began sneaking macaroons off the buffet table. Grandma helped. I left with six, a good catch but not nearly enough.

These things are delicious. Lauren won’t even taste one because, to quote her, “there’s no chocolate in it.” What a ridiculous reason not to eat something. She’s missing what is, perhaps, my new favorite cookie concoction. The outside is strawberryish and the inside has this weird green jelly. My whole childhood I thought of a macaroon as a coconut cookie: who knew they could be so much more? I love these things. I’m going to go eat one right now.

4 comments

  1. Macaroons! I think this could be the start of a new culinary challenge. I could never find a recipe where they turned out as they should: with a thin-glossy-crisp crust and remain moist-AND-YET-crumbly inside. Instead the ones I make always end up up like plain (and sadly, often flat)almondy cookies. Which is not bad, but far from The Holy Archetype: les macarons from Laduree in Paris (http://www.laduree.fr/macaron_histoire_va.htm), small and plump and sexy, which come in all sorts of crazy colours and flavours, in a tiny box. The exact opposite of the ‘eat all you can’ phenomenon: I could go on forever with that thread too but I’m afraid I’m getting a bit carried away.

    So my point is: does anybody out here know how to make decent macaro(o)ns???

  2. Mmmmm…macarons, divine little suckers!

    There are three major secrets to making macarons just like laduree. The first is to use commercial almond flour which is ground more finely than you can in the food processor and is also dried to remove excess oils. Also try to find cornstarch-free powder sugar if possible. The professional french bakers use a mixture called “tant pour tant” which is available at outlets catering to professional pastry chefs and is a mixture of half almond flour and half powder sugar, this seems to work better for some reason than mixing your own. Also, egg whites need to be as stiff as possible. This can be acheived two ways, either let your fresh egg whites sit outside overnight, uncovered, as to evaporate water (sounds gross but never have had a problem food-safety wise) or else add some powdered egg whites to fresh to stiffen the meringue. The last crucial step is to let the macarons airdry for around a half hour after piping them onto parchment paper and before baking. This will harden the tops and yield the shiny smooth domed top you’re looking for. Hope this helps!

  3. Also, check out ‘Cookies Unlimited’ by Nick Malgieri. Besides being the best all-around cookie/bar cookie/biscotti cookbook, he has many macaroon recipes including these classic french ones.

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