The Art and History of Macarons: French Desserts Class
Bright, beautiful macarons are everywhere in France. Whether it's the light cookie exterior or the silky ganache filling, these cookies have long been a favorite among locals and tourists alike. But these meringue cookies weren't always so popular, or so colorful.
The origin story of the cookie varies, but many agree that they were imported into France by Italy's Catherine di Medici in the early 1500s. The first recipe for these cookies were quite simple. After all, they called for no filling. Rather, they were only made of ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites — that's it. It wasn't until the early 1900s that a Parisian named Pierre Desfontaines reinvented this chewy cookie by adding a layer of flavorful ganache between two almond cookies. Since then, jams and butter creams have also been used for the filling, and the almond cookie exterior has also been revamped, offering multiple flavors and colors.
While these macaron cookies look quite simple, the way they're made is anything but, and not just because they offer so many different colors and flavors. Some chefs have even declared that it's taken them decades to master the art of the macaron. Why is this? In part it's because of the very careful step-by-step process that is required to make a macaron. Oven temperature matters greatly, as does the climate in which the macaron is made.
Even so, don't let this deter you from trying your hand at this delightful pastry. Rather, learn from someone who has mastered the many flavors of this almond cookie with a french desserts class.
By Liz Hall