French Macarons: Beautiful Look, Delicious Taste

One area of baking that I’ll admit I have not really explored is pastries.  With their delicate look and time consuming effort, I leave this one to the professionals.  Well, for the most part.  While evacuating from New Orleans for Hurricane Isaac, my friends and I decided to dedicate our afternoon to attempt to make macarons.  Let’s just say there is a lot more to these little babies than what meets the eye.  I believe we used a recipe from Martha Stewart, but there a tons of recipes on the internet that call for most of the same ingredients.  One tip to mention-if you can find ground almond meal, although pricey, it will save you a lot of time.  I’m sure we encountered the usual rookie mistakes for first time macaron-makers: the cookies stuck to the pan, many of them cracked, they came out lopsided, etc., but we were able to have a few cookies that looked alright! The good news is that no matter what they look like, they all taste just as good!  Get creative and try out different flavors once you are comfortable with the basic recipe-my favorite is pistachio.  Macarons made correctly will be perfectly crisped on the outside, but melt in your mouth as you take a bit. How else to describe them? Pure bliss.