Back when I was working at the bakery, I would make macarons about two or three times a week. It felt really good that my boss trusted me with them – they have a reputation as a fussy, technical cookie that requires attention to detail, and, at the time, I was still just the intern. Which is not to say things went well all the time – I had batches crack, rise weirdly sideways, brown too much, come out too wet, and, at least once, land on the floor. Honestly, I lost about one batch in five.
But I loved making them. They felt like a challenge – for a cookie with only four ingredients, there were so many places where things could (and did) go wrong. No matter how many batches I made, it was always a little nerve-wracking, and when I succeeded it felt like a victory. Besides, there has always been something compelling about seeing those tiny, identical, pastel-hued sandwich cookies lined up on a tray. I have made thousands at this point, and it never stops feeling special.
I have no idea what they taste like.
Macarons are made with finely ground almond flour – and I’m allergic to almonds. I’ve wanted to experiment with a nut-free version for a long time (the FOMO is so, so real) – but they are buried so deep in tradition and mythos of the French culinary establishment that I just assumed that any other flour base was probably doomed to failure.(more…)