I've done my share of macaroons and I can't tell which my favorite is, the two top flavors being chocolate and pistachio. But Sweet Macaroons opened up the doors to strange and wonderful flavor combinations: raspberry-bell pepper mascarpone, curry and piment d'Espelette, violet, and salted butter caramel are just some examples. For fillings, her basic buttercream is made from a butter/creme anglaise/Italian meringue mixture which mixes up perfectly smooth and not too sweet, and best of all can be flavored to suit your needs. The ganache recipes use chocolate familiar to most pastry chefs and chocolate enthusiasts: Valrhona Ivoire (white chocolate), Jivara Lactee (milk chocolate), and Manjari (dark chocolate).
Besides recipes for macaroons, Mercotte shares her tips for baking them and her tricks for creating perfect macaroons. Her tips include: Setup; Making the recipe; Coloring agents; Piping the batter; Baking; and my favorite, The Look. Her step-by-step photos for piping the batter is helpful for anyone who has never piped them out as you can see what the consistency of the batter should be and how to space them. The Recipe Troubleshooting at the end fixes most common problems that can arise when making macaroons, such as cracking shells, or shells with no collars. The one thing I wish she would have done with her recipes is to give the ingredient amount in weights. I know from experience that a cup of powdered sugar will weigh slightly different depending on who is doing it or how good your leveling is, and weight measurement takes guesswork from the recipe ingredients making the results more consistent.
If you are tackling macaroons for the first time, Sweet Macaroons will lead you to by the hand with good, basic recipes. If you are doing them for the hundredth time, Sweet Macaroons will inspire you to try new flavors. And the pictures are nice to look at, too.
- Sweet Macarons: Delectable French Confections for Every Day by Mercotte
- Taunton Press; 2012
- ISBN13: 9781600854996
- Paperback, 80 pages
Disclosure: This eGalley was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.