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Macarons Amande

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Once upon a time – actually, not that long ago.  Last September Jake and I went to France for 17 days.  We started with four days in Paris, then up to Normandy, down to Provence, and then another three days in Paris.  1300 pictures and three months later and I have still not put together an album. 

Since I am a fan of the Barefoot Contessa, I knew to look out for this amazing sign.

With a display window like this it would have been hard to miss.

This is the bar area at the Champs-Elysées location.  We stopped here for my birthday and I had the most amazing cocktail with a macaron on the side. 

I couldn’t get a picture of the pastries themselves, since the line was three people deep for the entire length of the display case.  I believe this macaron tree was on the shelf by the bathroom.

As if  the bar and the restaurant and the pastries weren’t exciting enough, there is also an incredible gift shop with everything from stickers to chocolates to key chains that look like artwork AND cookbooks.   There was one for savory and one for sweet.  Even though the savory one was pink, of course I opted for the sweet.  It comes inside its own little box.

And it’s nicely wrapped in purple tissue paper, just like a little treasure.

Inside are many beautiful pictures and recipes from macarons to boissons, which are drinks.   It also describes Laduree as a celebration of all things sweet and feminine.   Like I even hesitated to buy it.

There’s just one problem: 

 Well, actually, two problems, since I don’t speak French.  I just had to have it, though.  I thought maybe it would help me learn the language, but when I got home I found the English version on Amazon, so now  I have tw

This is my first attempt at the almond macarons.  Well, technically, it’s my second, if you count the batch I started last night.  Let me tell you, this is not for the fainthearted.  First off, when it says to put the almond meal and the confectioner sugar in the food processor and then sift it, be sure to pay attention.  And when it says to whisk the egg whites to a foam, it means soft peaks.  These are the two things I neglected to do yesterday.

Today I decided to bring a little levity to the situation.  Meet Earl.

Earl is an egg separator.

Classy, I know.

This is what your eggs are supposed to look like.  I think a few things were lost in the translation, so I consulted an American book for some extra help.

Here’s my before-the-oven picture.  I actually forgot to take an after.  For that matter, I was so preoccupied with my excitement that they were going to be edible I also forgot to eat dinner. 

The book actually says that the shells can crack for many different reasons, so you shouldn’t be discouraged, especially since they will taste delicious either way.  It also recommends that you leave them in the fridge overnight so that a reaction can take place in order to enhance and refine the flavors.  I guess that the French way of saying let the flavors blend.  My brother would say it’s so they can ruminate.  The majority of mine did crack and of course I didn’t wait on that overnight thing; they are already phenomenal, so I can’t wait for tomorrow. 

I definitely need to work on the piping and getting the sizes small and consistent.  I also need to find a way to fill a pastry bag without getting the batter all over the place.   I’m open to suggestions.

Speaking of the batter, you know my policy on licking the spatula and the beater at the end.  Well, the batter was definitely resistable and the filling was just okay.  I was a little concerned about that, but together they were a perfect combination.  I guess since Laduree has been doing this since 1862 they have managed to perfect it.  

Eat Well and Savor.