French macarons were my zen of choice this winter evening because they take a lot of time and patience, thereby ultimately lowering my blood pressure. Particularly when prepared with a great glass of red wine close at hand.
This time, I made a basic macaron with two different fillings. The filling selections were laziness on my part; strawberry preserves in one set and nutella in another. Both are delicious but not spectacular. These cookies have the iconic crunchy shell with a chewy center. The strawberry filling is almost too sweet, while the nutella filling creates a double nuttiness that is interesting.
If you notice the brown specks in the cookies, don't be alarmed, my kitchen is clean! That is the almond skin tainting the cookies. This set was made with a pre-ground almond flour, which contained the skins. My first set was made with skinless slivered almonds which I ground into flour in the food processor.
Another consideration when making macarons is the science of the ratios. How many egg whites? How much powdered sugar, granulated sugar, almonds? Cream of tartar or salt? While I am still working these scientific concerns, enjoy the brownie recipe. Find your baking zen in the kitchen.