Monday, July 8, 2013

Review: Sweet Macarons by Mercotte

Sweet Macarons
Mercotte (The Taunton Press)
3.5 out of 5 Stars

With macarons firmly in place as the latest baking craze, famed French foodie and macaron maker extraordinaire Jacqueline Mercorelli, known as blogger Mercotte, provides 25 no-fail French macaron recipes in Sweet Macarons, now available for the first time in English.

If I would ever rate my favourite pastries, macarons would be at the very top. There is nothing more I would rather take with my afternoon espresso than a crisp/chewy/creamy luscious macaron. 

I was literally yelping when I was offered to review Sweet Macarons. Yes! Of course! The polka-dotted cover was a cute hint of the inside. And once you open it up...

There is page after page of interesting and unusual recipes complemented by mouthwatering, beautiful photos of perfect macarons that have you wishing it was a scratch-and-sniff book, too! Skimming this cookbook is enough to give you a powerful craving. 

But pictures don't make the cookbook, the recipes and instructions do. Mercotte did a fantastic job here, giving details and tips that other pâtisserie books leave out. For example, most would say that only almond meal can be used. But I read that macarons were adapted from the Arabic macaroons - which used coconut - and that statement always left me wondering why. Mercotte is the only author I've read that suggests using other nutmeats, including peanuts, as long as they are prepared properly. Thank you for answering that question!

The equipment list is just as detailed and I also like that she allows you to work up to making a proper macaron through the practice of making various cookies and meringues. When the macarons come along, the flavors are very creative combinations that make your brains start thinking up your own possibilities. 

I only have one bone to pick with this book. I've been baking and making pastries and candies for decades. BUT, this is the first one that intimidated me. I felt like if I didn't have the entire equipment list, I wouldn't be able to do this right. I was actually questioning if this was written for the home cook (which it was) or the professional chef. I know this isn't the result the author is aiming for and that makes me even more disappointed. I decided to look at this book as a short course on pâtisserie instead of a quick cookbook to while away an afternoon. 

I haven't given up on it, though, and will start on the recipes once I complete my batterie de cuisine. For now, this will simply remain an inspirational picture book. I will just head down to the nearest pâtisserie, buy a few macarons and an espresso, and salivate while reading. 

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Published April 17th 2012 by Taunton Press

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