They are vanilla bean French Macarons. Not to be confused with your typical macaroons. They are spelled differently and the taste is a world apart. Now don't get me wrong. I love coconut macaroons and even the other kind of almond macaroons, but these are so amazing. Really.
Don't they look scrumptious? I took the liberty of including some information I found on a Flickr discussion so I don't have to recreate the wheel. (Thanks, Haniela, for posting this!)
Deconstructing the Perfect Macaron.
What's wrong and right with these macarons?
The top left one should have more filling and the bottom left one is a bit chunky with the almond meal.
Deconstructing the Perfect Macaron
The ingredients in traditional macaron batter are deceptively unassuming - just egg whites, almond powder, icing sugar and granulated (caster) sugar - but to achieve the perfect result is another thing altogether.
* Too airy and they dry out and crumble, too dense and they become tough and gluey. Batter texture and the formation of a skin before baking are considered essential tips from seasoned pros.
* The tops must be smooth and lightly domed, the bottoms should be dimpled and airy with ruffled 'feet'. Bumpy texture on the surface shows that the almond wasn't ground finely enough or wasn't sifted properly.
* The crust of the cookie should be thin and only provide the most useless protection against the soft cookie layer underneath. Biting through the crust should be effortless. The cookie's texture beneath the crust should be light, just a little chewy, and soft, but not so soft that it's mushy. It's okay if the cookie looks "uncooked."
* Finally, the filling must be soft and flavorful, light and not cloyingly sweet. Fillings should be generous, (nothing is considered worse than to skimp on the filling), yet it should not squish out of the cookie either, as eating a macaron should be a clean experience except for a few wayward crumbs.
Do you feel like a macaron expert now? Just wait till you try one!
*There is even more fascinating facts and pictures about these yummy cookies you can find here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1135307@N25/discuss/72157621795649935/
Here they are mine after they were baked and before I sandwiched the butter cream between the luscious cookies. I used the recipe from "Bouchon"...a great (and gigantic) cookbook that I borrowed from the library. It's written by Thomas Keller, who owns the bakery and restaurant by the same name in Yountville, CA, and the amazing French Laundry restaurant in St. Helena. I have a review of some of the items from our visit to his bakery coming soon, but this recipe is defineatly a keeper! It was time consuming, but worth it in the end!
And some packaged up for a gift. I hope you enjoyed this post. I wish I could send you one through cyberspace. You must try them soon!