Oh, French macarons, how I love thee. Glorious little confections of meringue and cream. An amalgam of wonderful textures in a wee little cookie. It’s not hard to fall in love with them…unless you’re me. I’m about to say something that may shock a lot of people: I didn’t love my first French macaron. I actually, didn’t even really like it.
Eek! I know, I know. How could I say such a thing? I just wasn’t impressed. I didn’t get why Blair Waldorf went nuts over those cute little French confections. I was told my heart would skip a beat at first bite. I felt lied to, betrayed. To be fair, I even tried a few more from different places and they grew on me a little but I still felt a little ambivalent towards them. I really, really wanted to love them. They are just too pretty! So I set out to make myself love them and that meant making them myself. Little did I know, they would consume my life for the next 3 years.
I read a lot about making them before I even attempted it. I Googled the term “French macaron” probably 137 times. I was terrified. How could this sweet little cookie be so intimidating? I just had to find out. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact origin of the French macaron. There are mentions of it in texts dating back to the early 1600’s but the exact creation is debatable. We know for sure that when the cookie was first created, it was just a single almond meringue shell. It wasn’t until the 1800’s or 1900’s that 2 shells were sandwiched together with a sweet filling becoming what we now recognize as the French macaron.
I collected all of the ingredients and tools I needed to make my very first batch of French macarons. I waited until the weather was perfect. I put on some dreamy music and went to work. My first attempt wasn’t exactly disastrous. I started with Martha Stewarts recipe. She couldn’t possibly sway me in the wrong direction. I mean, she’s Martha. They turned out surprisingly well. Every single shell on my baking sheet was cracked but they all had those ruffly little edges. I stuck them together with some pumpkin spice buttercream and threw them in the fridge. I could hardly sleep that night thinking about all of the mistakes I made and what I would do different.
The next day, I tasted my wonderful creations. Not half bad! They tasted like pumpkin spice the texture was exactly what I expected; crunchy outside, soft, yet chewy inside and a creamy center. I realized that maybe I didn’t like the macarons I had in the past because they weren’t this fresh. With the flavor down, I needed to go back to work on the appearance. After Googling for half the morning on how to fix cracked shells, I went back to work on my next batch. I tapped the tray on the counter to release the air bubbles and lowered my oven temp. This batch looked absolutely perfect! I couldn’t believe it. I was so proud of myself. I couldn’t believe I made such a beautiful little creation.
After refrigerating them for a day, I bit in. At that moment I felt empty inside…just like that damned little cookie. It was hollow. How could this be? I did everything the internet said to do and still, I failed.
This went on for some time. I made adjustments, tried again, failed miserably. Made more adjustments, tried again, failed marginally. Made adjustments yet again, bought new equipment, tried again, got better. I quit for a few months but couldn’t help thinking about all of the things I could have done differently. I dreamed about making French macarons. Sometimes they were pleasant and sometimes they were nightmares. Every chance I had, I spent Googling “French macaron troubleshooting”. I just had to figure it out.
After a brief hiatus, I went back to work. As soon as the first batch cooled, I held my breath and cracked a shell in half. It was full. I cracked another. Again, perfect. I cracked another and another until I found that every single shell on my baking sheet had baked perfectly. I couldn’t believe it. Had I seriously solved the mystery of my hollow French macarons? I had to find out for sure so I baked yet another tray, replicating my previous process. I broke every shell in half and found that, again, they were perfect too! I was so happy, I may have cried. I sank down to the kitchen floor in complete disbelief. Not only had I solved my problem but I just destroyed a great deal of perfect French macarons. What was I thinking?
From that point on, I had containers of perfect little cookies filling my refrigerator. I couldn’t eat that many and I couldn’t stop making them so I took them to family gatherings, parties and my husband’s office. Everyone loved them. They started to ask me to make them for baby showers, birthday parties and gifts. I finally had a reason to make them besides my obsession with making them perfect.
That was when I realized that I loved them. I loved those little cookies that were once such a burden on me. At that point, I felt like I knew everything there was to know about French macarons, their insides, their outsides, what made them tick.
Then I made another revelation. How could I fund my hobby, continue to bring joy to even more people and make them fall in love with these marvelous little cookies? That’s when I started Delectable. I made a business out of my obsession. It took me a year to perfect the macaron and now I’ve been in business for nearly 2 years. These cookies have consumed my life for close to 3 years. I’ve had a few hiccups along the way but with my extensive practice in making them, I’ve been able to make the proper adjustments to fix them. Making a business out of something I love has truly been an amazing process. Watching the joy on my customers faces when they bite into one of my colorful creations has been incredible. Maybe I’ll have my own little macaron shop one day but for now I set up shop twice a week at my local farmers markets, including the Anaheim Farmer’s Market Thursday’s 11 am – 4 pm and the Cypress Farmer’s Market Sunday’s 10 am – 2 pm. We also ship all across the USA for orders placed on my website.
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