Today is la Journée Internationale de la Francophie. It’s also le Jour du Macaron. And in case that’s not enough, it’s also the First Day of Spring. So many reasons to celebrate, all packed into one short day. Well actually, today is longer than yesterday. Another reason to celebrate!
In honor of Macaron Day, I had intended to try baking my own macarons for the first time. I received the Ladurée Sucré cookbook for Christmas, and so far all I’ve done is look at the pretty pictures. There are all sorts of pastry recipes in this cookbook, including four for macarons of various flavors (though no vanilla or salted caramel, my favorites). I haven’t attempted to make my own macarons yet because the recipes are a little intimidating and require ingredients I don’t always have on hand, like almond flour and 6 and a half egg whites. I don’t understand the half egg white. Often European recipes have odd measurements to account for metric conversions, but I’ve never come across a metric chicken before.
This morning I was ready. I had almond flour, and I was pretty sure I had seven eggs, and, most importantly, I had the resolve! Then I reread the recipe: Keep macarons in an airtight container in the refrigerator for twelve hours before tasting. I did not have 12 hours to spare between making and eating the macarons. Not if I wanted them to be a part of le Jour du Macaron. Honestly, I’m not sure I could ever make my own macarons and then wait an entire twelve minutes before trying them out, but I suppose I will give it an honest effort… some other day.
So today I had to go buy my macarons. There are a few places in the Boston area where you can buy French macarons, but most of them require actually going into the city. The most convenient place for those of us in the suburbs is Macaron Sweeterie in Lexington. It’s an out-of-the-way little place that you’d never find if you didn’t know you were looking for it, nestled between a dry cleaner and an empty store front. All they sell is coffee, gelato and macarons.
The owner knew what I was talking about when I wished her a Happy Macaron Day, but, sadly, she didn’t offer me any free macarons. I splurged and bought a 12-count box because even though I was buying them for my parents and me to have for dessert tonight, I knew we wouldn’t be able to resist eating one or two the minute I brought them home. Macarons really are a splurge. They’re tiny little cookies, by American cookie standards, but they cost $2 a piece! While I have high macaron standards, I have to admit, I really miss €5 boxes of frozen macarons at Picard! Besides, a frozen macaron eaten on a bench by the Seine beats a fresh macaron in Massachusetts any day. Sorry Massachusetts.
Every time I go to Macaron Sweeterie and have a hard time choosing my macarons, the owner tries to help me by suggesting the prettiest macarons. Apparently most people buy their macarons by color? There’s a green one that’s pistachio, a bright pink that’s rose, yellow is lemon, orange is apricot, purple is black currant, and blue is, rather inexplicably, peanut butter. I understand why someone would be drawn to the various colors. They’re very inviting, particularly all laid out in the case like a pastel Parisian rainbow. But I’m not really into the fruity flavors. I like coffee, nutella, caramel, chocolate and vanilla. Brown, brown, brown, browner, and off-white. So if I ever bring a box of macarons to your house for tea, I apologize in advance for the drab color scheme. If you don’t like it, I guess I’ll have to eat them all by myself!