GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN!
Push came to shove and we did it. What we didn’t dare do on our own, we did together. There is indeed power in numbers no matter how many try to prove that wrong. An international affair if I ever saw one. Governments could learn from us.
It started as nervous chatter on twitter and turned into a bit of a dare. Deeba of Passionate about Baking (and truly she is) had never made French macarons, that tender, delicate beauty of a délice, light as air cookie shell made of ground almonds, powdered sugar and meringue, sandwiched around a luscious, creamy filling. Need I say that the prospect was so daunting that it terrified her. Enter Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen, Hilda of Saffron & Blueberry and Meeta of What’s For Lunch, Honey? and me and the twitter conversation twirled and whirled around macarons. Deeba eventually came up with the delicious idea of us all making macarons in our own kitchens in one coordinated effort, alone but together, encouraging, supporting, asking and answering each other’s questions, a huge international communal kitchen, girlfriends baking together over the waves, a virtual cook-along. And she named me Leader of the Pack.
I considered myself pretty much a mac virgin. I had made them once before with Marie who had made Pierre Hermé’s macarons a few times already. But I had never made them alone and never in my own kitchen. So I gathered together my courage, put on my Mac Hat and dove in. Never one to shy away from a challenge and not wanting to let Deeba down (heaven forbid!), I weighed, sifted, whipped and folded. I lined, piped, waited and baked. I melted and stirred a luxurious dark chocolate ganache filling. And came up with, dare I say, perfect macarons? Ever so humbly I proclaimed my Mac Success with only the gentlest of crowing and strutting and the challenge was on. I posted my Violet Macarons and Deeba and I twittered and invited all mac virgins to jump aboard the Mac Express.
Throwing caution to the wind, many other girlfriends, food bloggers one and all, threw the proverbial dish towel into the ring and climbed in (am I mixing my metaphors with as much ease as I mix my whites?). We set a two week time limit, offered a couple of simple recipes, lots of tips and we were off!
Me first! For my second attempt – and I would have been so embarrassed if, after all my crowing, my second macs had fallen flat – I used another of Helen of Tartelette’s recipes. Coffee macarons. I doubled the quantity espresso powder I added to the mix – the batter tasted like the best coffee ice cream! and, once again, turned out wonderful macs. I do believe that I have such success because 1) I adore whipping egg whites, 2) I convinced myself to trust my instincts and not think at all (some smart alecs may claim that this is too easy for me! Ha ha!) and 3) I live in France ☺
And here is the round up of results one and all: some perfect, some less so, some disasters, yet there are a few lessons that we have learned:
1) we loved doing this project, this challenge, together and had so much fun!
2) it was so much easier finding the courage and carrying through on the challenge when we had each other, working together, cheering each other on, helping each other along. Laughing at failures and funny-looking results, screaming Hip Hip Hooray with each success.
3) we have each and every one of us been bitten by the Mac Bug and our baking fingers itch to do it again, reaching for the stars and getting better, more perfect macs with each attempt.
4) Macs, no matter how they look, feet or no feet, gorgeously domed or flat as a pancake, smooth, lovely shell or cracked and broken, macs always taste fabulous and are just perfect with a cup of coffee.
This, we can confidently say, was the first but will most definitely not be the last!
Deeba of Passionate About Baking
Hilda of Saffron & Blueberry
Meeta of What’s for Lunch, Honey?
Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen
Finla of My Kitchen Treasures
Ilva of Lucullian Delights
Rachael of La Fuji Mama
Barbara of Barbara Bakes
Deborah of Italian Food Forever
Megan of A Sweet Spoonful
Ria of Ria’s Collection
Renee of Flamingo Musings
And last, but never least, our valiant Denise of Chez Us (who posted her wonderful mac results with much aplomb without, and I repeat, without eating an entire bowl of chocolate ganache!)
And we all deserve the blue ribbon!