Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The No-Coconut Zone

Cupcakes were the rage. Then came the macaron. This bite-sized morsel of sugary, crispy goodness followed by sugary, chewy goodness around a sugary, smooth filling goodness is as we say, too, too faboo. Let me warn you. They are as expensive
as they are delicious. At about $3.50 a bite you'll want to consider taking out a second mortgage on your house before familiarizing yourself with this delicacy.
Catherine de Medicis who hailed from an Italian family that perfected usury into an art form brought the tasty morsel with her to Paris in 1533 when she married Henry II. Evidently she also brought along several favorite family recipes for poisoning people. I've heard her spaghetti was to die for.
Paris has bakeries on every other corner, their windows lined with rows and stacks of macarons in every color imaginable. But if you're not going to be there some time soon (quelle dommage) you can find a suitable American substitute at Sucre on Magazine Street in New Orleans or from MadMac in NYC. At $3.50 a bite, what's a few more dollars for shipping and handling? Just promise me you won't eat the little coconut sweater-wearing version that masquerades as a macaron. That's a macaroon and believe me, there's a big difference.
If you have a few extra days and some cash lying around you can make your own. First, you need to let two egg whites sit out for a day or two to raise the acid level. Then go by the bank for a draw on your loan to get the almond flour that's $9 a bag or $3 a cup. One cup makes about 15 macarons. And you have to buy a silicon mat to bake them on and that's $20. Put in a good movie about Paris, like Charade or Sabrina while you sift the almond flour, powdered sugar and cocoa powder together. If you start sifting at the beginning of Sabrina, you'll be through sifting somewhere near the part where Linus buys the plane tickets. After some whipping until either the egg whites or your arm becomes stiff, the folding in the flour, and piping the little discs on the million dollar mat, you can finish watching the movie because the cookies need to rest. And so do you. The macarons rest at least 20 minutes until the top is dry to the touch and after baking 8 minutes you'll need to come back and rotate the pans and bake 8 more minutes, gingerly remove them from the million dollar mat, spread with Nutella, sandwich together.....and that, my dear, is why they are $3.50 a bite.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the smiles...I'll wait until you make some and share them!

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  2. Thank you, Susan! I'd hoped to make some over Christmas and just didn't get there. Hopefully, soon.

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