I am excited to introduce a new segment here on At Home & Abroad: Eating like a European! Caroline and I both love European food (especially when it comes to pastries). One particular favorite of ours is French macarons, which is what I am going to be discussing today!
If you have ever been to Paris, you will know that you can find macarons pretty much anywhere. I even saw macarons at McDonald’s when I was at the Louvre!
Ladurée is arguably one of the most popular places to purchase macarons. There are several locations in Paris (as well as worldwide). The Champs-Élysées branch is especially popular, and is known to be very busy during peak tourist season. I lucked out and only had to wait about 20 minutes when I was there. I have to say it was worth the wait — love at first bite!
I am pretty sure that macarons were my main food source while I was in Paris. I was determined to go to Ladurée, but my tour guide encouraged me to try macarons from other places as well. I ended up buying a macaron every place I could. I am glad I did because they were all just as good as Ladurée! I would have to say that my three favorite places were Carette, Café Pouchkine, and Ladurée. Café Pouchkine had some flavor mixes that were really good — my favorite was the pistachio-strawberry. My favorite from Carette was the violet, and I loved the Marie Antoinette from Ladurée.
Since I got home, I have enlisted Caroline in my mission to find a macaron that equals the ones I had in Paris. While we haven’t found (or made) anything that quite equals a macaron in France, we have come pretty close!
We have found a few local bakeries that sell macarons and are frequent visitors! We also found out that they sell macarons in the freezer section at both Walmart and Trader Joe’s. After trying frozen macarons, I must say — hands down — that fresh ones are better (only use frozen as an absolute last resort!).
A few months ago I decided that I was going to make my own macarons (or as my friend Romney calls them, macaronis). Many of you have probably heard the horror stories of attempting to make these delicious little treats; they are known for being difficult. I am usually pretty good at baking and thought that I would be immune to the disastrous first attempt at macaron making. Needless to say, I was not quite as immune as I had hoped. The batter turned out runny, the cookies didn’t have the infamous “foot,” they were crunchy, and they didn’t really have very much flavor. Special shout out to my friend Matt for being the first to give these a try — he said they weren’t “that bad,” but in my opinion, they weren’t that good either! Thanks for being a good sport! 🙂
A few weeks ago, I decided to give macaron making another go. My second attempt was much more successful than the first. I used a different recipe and I think that made a huge difference!
I was really happy with the final product. I could have eaten the whole batch by myself, but I resisted the temptation and shared with friends and family. Even my 15-year-old brother liked them and he is usually pretty picky, so I considered that a success!
No matter where you are, macarons are always a crowdpleaser. So whether you are baking macarons for the first time or hunting down local bakeries that sell them, I wish you the best on your macaron adventures!
*All content and photos in this blog article are taken by and property of Kaycie Jordan.