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March 20, 2015

Parisian Macaron Memories

While the fragile dusting of snow on the ground today hardly resembles the colorful flowers one expects to see on the first day of spring, my heart is warmed by all of the cheerful colorful macarons I've see for the Jour du Macaron.

This year, the thought of macarons brings memories of Paris and a once in a lifetime opportunity I had last year to visit.
So pull up a chair, pour a glass of wine, maybe play Amelie in the background for ambiance while I share a glimpse of my trip.

My husband and I had precious little time in our trip to Europe and oh so much ground to cover. For all of the complexity, history, and depth of Paris, we had only two days to experience it.

We arrived in Paris by way of Germany, but my fascination for fine art and French pastries called like a siren song pulling us 8 hours across Europe to the modern day headquarters of the Parisian macaron.

The morning of our final day in Paris began with warm croissants and cappuccino in a narrow basement below our hotel with rounded brick walls nestled over us. We set off down the Rue de Richelieu, past sleepy fromageries, through the sun-baked square of the the Louvre, around the Notre Dame and the overflowing blooms of sunflowers and roses surrounding it.

From there we followed the Seine across the Lock Bridge and straight on down a crocked diagonal alley to the mecca of my pilgrimage, Ladurée, a quiet corner store with gold lettering and bright big windows filled with macarons! 

Le touriste! I was giddy with excitement, much to the amusement and chagrin of the ladies behind the counter patiently waiting while I carefully made the important decision of which flavors would I try. 

Living in a small town in the US means that not many bakeries even know what a Parisian macaron is, let alone have the full variety of flavors available. I had to chose wisely. 

Pictured are rose, dark chocolate, salted caramel, pistachio, and vanilla -- all classic flavors!

Ladurée is the grandfather of macarons. The story goes that they have created  these little pastries since the 1860s. I'm a sucker for original trend setters, so Ladurée was definitely top of my wish list. 

But that doesn't mean, I didn't have time for Pierre Herme, the modern fashionista of macarons. 

Just a short walk down the street, past a large sculpted fountain and a string of small cafes, we found the bright square window display for Pierre Herme. Rectangular macarons were the latest rage!

But that was several months ago, so I'm sure they've moved on the star or octagonal macarons by now.

This shop was bustling! I had to push my way through people just to get a glimpse of the chic parfaits and jumbo macarons with full raspberries encircling.

Amazingly, each bite of authentic Parisian macarons proved that my self-taught macarons were actually really close to the originals. 

The flaky delicate crust, the moist interior, the firm, yet yielding icing holding it all together were so very much like my own macarons, which were based solely on the description of other passionate bakers online. Proof that with a little persistance and a willingness to try, delicious things can be accomplished. 

Happy Jour du Macaron everyone and may your spring be sweet!

April 5, 2014

March of Macarons Features

Thus concludes my first link party here at Tried and Twisted.

Thank you to everyone who shared macaron recipes for the March of Macarons link party! 

My mouth is watering and I can't wait for my next chance to get baking.

March was so busy, but it's important to stop and enjoy the sweet little things in life. The first smell of flowers in the air, the first warm sunny day, or a little sweet thing -- like the macaron!

I was on an awesome bridesmaid trip to Florida this weekend, when we were met with the unexpected discovery of a macaron shop!

This may not sound like a very big deal to some of you. Macaron patisseries may adorn every corner where you live.

But in my hometown, "macaroons" are assumed to be the coconut cookies, not the French meringue that gets its own fashion show in Paris. 

While I adore the variety, color, and pop of these cookies, it has been impossible for me to eat one without traveling many miles or making them myself.

So, I chose to learn to bake them myself.

But now, I've finally had a chance to eat a professional's macaron. So, how does my homemade ware compare?

Smooth hard shell, soft moist interior, ruffled feet, flat tops, sugar overload. Oh yeah, my macarons are just as good!

Last year, I baked Cadbury egg macarons to celebrate the Jour du Macaron, so this year I wanted to make something equally unique and challenging.

Enter the Boston Cream Pie Macaron! A twist on the old classic.

Now, let's look at the best of the March of Macaron guests!
Macaron Fetish shared these adorable treats just in time for Easter.

Blood Orange Walnut Macarons 
Blahnik Baker shared these pretty perky pink Blood Orange Walnut macarons. Once you consider all of the flavors available when you try other nuts or flours in your shells, it really opens up all sorts of possibilities.

Black Sesame Macarons with Cherry Chocolate Ganache

Like these clever macs! Passionate About Baking shared this very creative flavor combo of black sesame macarons with cherry chocolate ganache. 

 How elegant is this macaron with this carmelized hazelnut garnish! Very fancy! Hint of Vanilla contributed these classic hazelnut buttercream macarons.

Black coffee macarons

Chili & Toni shared a strong jolt to wake you up in the morning. Black coffee and chocolate -- yes, please!

Honorable mention to Jill at Mad about Macarons for her adorable mendiant "Easter bonnets" for her chocolate macarons! I've never heard of mendiants before, but those pretty little chocolate disks sound like a tasty treat.

Thank you again to everyone who contributed and made this year's March of Macarons so flavorful!

March 31, 2014

Boston Cream Pie Macaron

The English language can be so confusing. Fat chance, slim chance -- same difference. Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo. 

And we strangely call some cakes "pie", but only when we're talking about the famous Boston cream pie. Or whoopie pies, but that's a horse of a difference color.

Boston Cream Pie French Macarons | Tried and Twisted

Just to confuse things even more, today we'll be talking about the pie, that's really a cake, that's actually recreated as a macaron. 

March 11, 2014

March of Macaron Linky Party

Welcome to this year's March of Macaron festivities!

 For the first time, I'm hosting a link party for all to share their best and favorite macarons. you been inspired to try your first batch of macarons since last year's March of Macaron tutorial? Are you a master of macarons, branching out into new and creative flavors? I'd love to see them all.

Share your baking stories with us all month long!

Linking at: Natasha in Oz, Pin It Monday,

February 27, 2014

Calling All Macarons

Come and see this year's March of Macarons! |

The sun is shining, the snow is melting. It's almost that time of year again!

Well, sure, I guess it is almost spring too, but more importantly, it's almost March, which here on Tried & Twisted means it's almost time for the all month marathon of those delicious, colorful French Macarons!

French macarons are pastries of sugar, almond flour, egg white, and a dash of pure awesome. I might be biased though. I do have a diagnosed obsession with these happy little treats. 

Some concerned friends and family members have suggested professional help, but the doctors have just recommended immersion therapy, so bring on more macarons!

Last year, to celebrate the annual Jour du Macaron on March 20th, I dedicated the entire month of March to macarons. As it turns out, a lot of you out there are also lovers of these desserts too, and many of you asked if you could join the fun. 

So this year, I'll be hosting a party!

For this year's March of Macarons, let's share a parade of macarons on my blog!

All are invited! If you've been making macarons for years, share your favorite. If you bravely tried them for the first time, share the experience with us. Even if you just went to a local patisserie and found a cool new flavor, send it in! 

In March, I'll host a linky party for bloggers to share their favorite, colorful, flavorful macarons. 
If you'd like to write a guest post or if you'd like to share your baking experience, but you don't have a blog to post to, then just email me at

I'll be sharing new tips and new recipes all through the month of March, so stop by often for more of the March of Macarons.

I'll also be pinning macarons on my Minor Macaron Obsession board, so feel free to follow along!

Be sweet, everyone! 

Linking at:
Natasha in Oz Saturday Linky Party, Flaunt it Friday

February 8, 2014

Be My Valentine?

If Valentine’s Day is a holiday invented by Hallmark to sell cards, then consider this my formal declaration of rebellion...or at least polite dissent.

Top 14 Quirky Valentine's Day Cards

This is hardly anything new. My husband and I have always preferred handmade notes of love instead of a corporation’s interpretation of acceptable emotion. Handmade cards are all about the personal and honest touch, admitting that bed head is never attractive, but that the love in this relationship is far more powerful. 

Nothing against Hallmark, since some of their cards are quite hilarious and endearing, but some levels of intimacy, honesty, and nerdiness require that personal touch.

The past month has been pretty nutty, so I’ve actually been contemplating buying a card. (gasp!) This might be a first in our nearly seven years together! Not ready to fully drop the authentic feel of a handmade card, I turned to Etsy and all of its magical wonders. 

Who knew they had so many clever, nerdy, and honest cards! Today, I’d like to share a few of my favorites with you all.

February 5, 2014

DIY Chinese Calendar Wall Art

It's a new year, which means just like kuzoos, glitter, and novelty crowns, those freebie calendars are bound to turn up. Free calendars from dentists, calendars from your doctors, and sometimes, if you're lucky, calendars from your local Chinese restaurant.

Perhaps I'm just a little bit of a hoarder at heart, but I always felt bad throwing away the freebie Chinese calendars. Sure, you can't really write your appointments or friend's birthdays onto bamboo, but they have an artsy and exotic vibe to them which I just adore. So, I thought -- why let them go to waste? Why not upcycle a Chinese calendar into a free piece of art?