A few weeks ago someone asked me why the petite round sandwich-style macarons were so delicious and others so disgusting (think bad grocery store coconut macaroons with a neon-red cherry on top). The answer is that they are not the same at all. While I suspect that both share the same culinary beginnings, they are now two very distinct cookies.
Macaroons are sweet cookies made from coconut or ground almonds but do not have a filling. At their best they are delicious. Sadly, they are more often than not too sweet, cloying, bad textured, artificially flavored and just not tasty. If you do want a good one, you can easily make your own.
You can get a bad French Macaron too, but a good macaron is so intoxicating, so lovely, so delicate that you’re willing to kiss a lot of frogs. Sadly, they are notoriously difficult to make at home. If you want to be sure to avoid a bad macarons, the best way is to find an expert.
That’s where Francois Payard comes in. He has been making Macarons for almost his entire life, as were previous generations of his family before him. His bakeries and cafes in New York sell some of the most refined and delicate Macarons found anywhere. He is Mr. Macaron.
His latest product makes it easy for anyone to make Macarons. While the macaron shells are difficult to get right, the fillings inside the Macarons are very easy to make. They are also where a lot of the creativity comes into final flavor of the cookie. Payard’s MakeCarons are just the shell of the Macaron. They come with simple instructions and tips on how to make the best cookies. Following his tips and a little of my own taste preferences I made up two different types of Macarons. They were FANTASTIC. I’m not just saying this because the love-r-ly people at Payard sent me the MakeCarons to share with you, but because I was impressed at how easy they were to make and BLOWN AWAY at how delicious they were.
If you have any foodies or Macaron fans on your gift list then this is a great gift. Not only are they half the price of a finished macaron, but the giftee gets to have a little fun too!
I made two different types of MakeCarons. My first was a simple white chocolate and lime ganache and my second was a fun little S’mores filling. Here’s my recipes. Enjoy!
Note: Francois Payard provided me with a package of MakeCarons. I was not paid for this post, and all opinions expressed here are my own.