Food and Gourmet Gift Ideas - French Macarons
Macarons are cookies made with a meringue-type mixture of beaten egg white, sugar, and almond flour or paste. Available at fine bakeries and French patisseries, they are exquisite little treats to spoil yourself with, or they would make a classy gift for someone special.
Don't confuse macarons with macaroons , which are the most common North American version, made with flaked coconut and sometimes chocolate-dipped. French macarons are a sublimely delicious indulgence. They are known for for their characteristic disc shape, smooth glossy domed top, a ruffly textured "foot" at the base of the cookie, and the rainbow of colors in which they come in. The texture is just as important - a crispy shell-like layer on the outside, giving way to a moist, somewhat chewy but airy meringue on the inside. The sandwiches are filled with buttercream, ganache or jam in a variety of flavors.
As far as cookies go, macarons are a bit pricey - they're not an item people are likely to buy for themselves. But that's what makes them such an outstanding and extravagant gift. Many varieties are gluten-free and low in fat (but not sugar), if there are dietary concerns.
Mail Order Macarons
Macarons are not so readily available outside major metro areas. An easy way to procure macarons is to order the cookies online or by mail order for delivery.
Another way to go with macarons for someone who enjoys home baking is either a recipe book or a cooking class if they are offered locally.
By the way, if you see the term "TPT" in a macaron recipe it stands for "Tant Por Tant" and is a mixture of equal parts by weight of ground almond flour and powdered (or confectioner's) sugar.
To find cooking classes in your local area, just type "macaron class [name of city]" into your Internet search browser, or try Chowhound.com, a forum for all things cooking.
Macaron Recipe Books
Gadgets for the Home Macaron Baker
For the home baker, other equipment for macaron-making or general cookie making might be appreciated. Some ideas:
- a KitchenAid stand mixer (why it's gotta be this one)
- piping bag and piping tips kit
- quality cookie sheets
- high tech kitchen scale
- parchment paper or silicone baking sheets
- silicon scraper/scooper
- exotic flavorings and extracts
- gel food coloring kit
- gourmet chocolate for baking
Petite macaron cookies are so beautiful that prints and photographs of them have become an art in itself.
Other Cute Macaron Items
Macarons are so cute, they can be enjoyed simply as eye candy in the form of jewelry, candles, magnets, even erasers (kids love those Japanese erasers that look like real food!). There are molds and kits available online to make macaron-shaped polymer clay for jewelry or magnets, candles, candy, or erasers. Check out kawaiisupply.com or etsy.com for novelty molds and other macaron-related crafts. Just type "macaron" into the search bar.
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