Despite the gloomy, rainy weather and my all day headache, one thing has managed to make me happy - I made macarons! In my months of research, this seems to be an intimidating recipe for a lot of cooks and bakers. The recipe looks simple enough and has very few ingredients, but for a perfectionist like myself, the idea of not being able to whip up the egg whites to a satiny finish, or pipe perfectly round circles, or a list of other potential problems is enough reason to make one hesitate until exactly the right moment to attempt them. But today I was ready. I used Martha Stewart's recipe because 1) Reviews made the success rate sound high and 2) the measurements were in ounces, not grams like 99% of the macaron recipes out there.
I bought my almond meal at Trader Joe's and the almonds are ground with the skins on, which creates a flecked cookie, which is fine by me. My pastry bag/tip setup was not ideal (no round tip, argh!!) so my first batch came out very lumpy. (The photo above is my second try.) I slightly undercooked the cookies to prevent them from browning and discoloring, but either way they still tasted deliciously sweet, like I remember from my first macaron in Tokyo. Yes, the Japanese love their French sweets, and food, and just about everything else.
Lacking ingredients to create proper buttercream or chocolate filling, I opted for a simple spread of raspberry jam. Though I could just eat them as is, and I did eat quite a few in celebration of creating a successful macaron - phew! Now to study some more colors/flavor combinations for next time.