Thursday, January 6, 2011


I can't believe it, but I've been here for 4 weeks already! I know holidays zip by far too quickly and throwing Christmas in there brings it up to warp speed, but it's just unreal how quickly this time has gone. I have a pretty big extended family which is fantastic because if there's something I'd like to do while I'm here, there's usually someone who would like to join me.

When I was getting ready to come over, I decided that while I was here I would try to make macarons. I first read about them on Not Quite Nigella's blog and was intrigued. A lot of work and practice to make what was essentially a sandwich cookie? I figured I'd give 'em a go. But first I had to try them.

If you've read this blog before, you'll know that I love the Avoca Cafe cookbook. Well, Avoca has so, so much more than just cookbooks. There all kinds of neat dishes, gifts, household stuff, books and fancy-schmancy foodstuffs. As in - it's the only place in Ireland where I've seen macarons. They're made by French-trained pastry chef Iseult Janssens ( and are a whopping 8.95 euro for 5 of them! I figured, its all in the name of research so I bought a pack.

From top: lemon, orange, blueberry, grape and raspberry

As the macarons in box I bought were all broken, the cashier very kindly gave me a second box for free! Woo-hoo!! :)
From left: salted caramel, chocolate, cafe mocha, vanilla and pistachio

So I tried em. I found them interesting. The texture and sweetness wasn't what I was expecting but they were quite nice. The salted caramel was my favorite, followed closely by the chocolate.

So I was set. I had a kitchen at my disposal, an eager assistant in the form of my cousin Clare, and time to give 'em a shot. I saw a seasonally-appropriate recipe for gingerbread macarons at Tartlette (who makes some extremely pretty macarons) and she also has a 10 page document with tips (you can find it here) so after reading it and getting everything ready (and after leaving the egg whites out for 2 days) we gave it a go.

Clare piping out the macaron shells

Leaving the shells to rest before baking, to help create hard surface

The finished macarons with the gingerbread buttercream filling!

I think they came out ok for a first try. The feet were there, the tops and bottoms had a crispy shell and a smooth interior. The flavour of them was fantastic and everyone really enjoyed them, but I need to practice the technique a whole lot more. They are pretty finnicky!

Have you ever tried macarons? Any thoughts?

Oh - and a very happy new year to you and yours :)

Jenn x

The angel liked them :)


  1. Gingerbread buttercream - what combo did you use to make that?

  2. Just added the gingerbread spices to the buttercream mixture. The recipe is there if you click on the Tartlette link. There was waaaaay too much of the gingerbread buttercream left so we put it on our Christmas pudding! Deliciousness!!

  3. Hi Jenn! Thanks for the shoutout :) I love macarons and made a batch only this week! It was a basil, passionfruit and white chocolate macaron which ended up as delicious. It was all done under the supervision of a patissier though lol

  4. Oh I hope you post about it Lorraine!! They sound delish!