Do You Have What it Takes?

After adoring the movie: Julie and Julia I immediately came home, made Julia’s Reine De Saba Cake and gushed over the movie for months! I begged my sister to see it with me, and when she couldn’t lock down plans, I hijacked her while her youngest was in school for the 2 hour and 3 minute running time of the film (she loved it too – of course!). My mom brought me the book, My Life in France and I danced idly through the following days and months dreaming of beautiful food, french excursions, and life in the 1950’s with my own individually seasoned pitched accent.

Regarding Julia Child, my mother observed:

“Julia Child never
cringed at a
baking challenge!”

So, in honor of Julia, she and I made a pact to eng
age in a Macaroon Baking Endeavor. My mother doesn’t live exclusively down the street from me, so it wasn‘t until this week that she came to visit, and it just so happened that her visit not only provided us with the opportunity to finally complete our Macaroon Baking Endeavor, but it also coincided with this month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge!

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ Challenge was brought to us by Ami S of Baking Without Fear. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

Unfortunately, the first batch and the second batch didn’t turn out to be macaroons; they more resembled flat, overcooked, round mounds of blob. We tried the DB recipe and several different cooking methods: none successful! We baked, and stirred, and pulverized, and whisked, and glared at the oven violently for six hours, and by then it was past both our bedtimes. She went home, and I went to bed sleeping fitfully. When I wasn’t asleep I was trying to determine what went wrong, and when I was asleep I was dreaming of puffed, footed, colored macaroons.

She couldn’t come back the next day, so I attempted this feat alone. I decided even if I had to finish with a pile of macaroons resembling Julia’s pile of crying onions, before I accomplished the necessary end result, I would do it. Luckily I only went through one more batch before I got some results, and that was good because I was out of ingredients! (So much for the pile of onions…)

I still have a lot of questions, such as: Why didn’t I get a crispy outer shell? Why did I not achieve a distinct foot? Did I not cook long enough? Did I not whip my eggs long enough?



2 cups almond flour

**Tip: You can grind your own almonds, but make sure they result in resembling flour, not crumbs

2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
Sift together until powdery and super fine
(I added 2 tablespoons cocoa powder to create chocolate)

5 egg whites
Whisk until foamy
Add 2 tablespoons sugar and continue to whisk until light and meringuesque

**Tip: Do not over beat, you want stiff peaks, but not hard peaks (so I read)

Lightly fold egg whites into flour/sugar mixture in thirds
Pour into piping or plastic bag, with a one inch tip
Pipe small mounds onto parchment paper, or baking sheet
Let rest for 15-30 minutes
Bake at 280°F, 15-18 minutes

Fill with the buttercream of your choice, and sandwich two macaroons t

I made a lemon cream cheese buttercream, and a pumpkin cinnamon cream cheese buttercream.

Still, mine aren’t perfect – but they are tasty! and I am proud of them! Though I’m hell bent on making some perfect scratch made macaroons!

I’ll leave you with this: “Noncooks think it’s silly to invest two hours’ work in two minutes’ enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet,” Julia Child.

0 thoughts on “Do You Have What it Takes?”

  1. WOnderful 1st effort they are about 80% of the way there. GO to my blog and I have a lot (and I mean a lot) of tips and hints that might help you in the next baking of macarons. Wonderful colour and I bet they tasted great to boot also.Cheers from Audax in Australia.

  2. I didn't see this movie in the theaters, but now I'll have to make sure I rent it when it comes out.

    I have given you an award. You can find it on my blog.

  3. Yes definitely check out Audax's blog but another recommendation is to try a different recipe (perhaps Tartelette's?) and see if your style works better with that recipe. If you still don't get feet or the right texture, at least you've eliminated that it's the recipe's "fault". Until then, just blame it on the recipe 🙂 And enjoy eating the results either way! Yum!

  4. Mmmmmm those look AMAZING!! That is so couragous of you to make those yourself. I am so impressed, you are a great chef! You've inspired me to try and make them maybe this weekend, I'll post afterwards:)

  5. As soon as I came home from J & J, I dragged out her cookbook and made potato soup – and blogged about it…..then the next day got the book about her days in France….the macs look yummy to me……

  6. I love Julia Child's quotes & I hail your spirit. Macs are strange creatures so it might now be something you did.They bake at 190C at some ovens, & disintegrate hopelessly in others. You just have to keep trying & find what works for you…or so I've learnt! having said that, love how delish yours look!

  7. Good job for sticking to it! Both flavors sound so delicious! It just takes some practice and that recipe wasn't the best one–use one from Tartelette's blog, I've had good success from her directions. 🙂

  8. from experience, I think you have overbeaten the egg white, over the stiff stage. Hence, it gives u a shiny crumbly shell. But so long it taste good, thats all it count right? 🙂

  9. i love the movie! i saw it on saturday and can't stop thinking about it!
    as for the macarons i think it's the one of the most difficult recipes to make… i tried recently and the result was terrible. it's very difficult to make a good shape!
    anyways, i'm not going to surrender and gonna try again soon.
    have a sweet day, justyna

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  11. that's so evil of you to be happy that mine did not come out perfectly….just kidding! I feel the same when I saw that others had a hard time w/this challenge too 🙂

  12. Wasn't that a great movie! I enjoyed it too, saw it twice and can't wait for it's release on DVD. It was inspiring – and like you because of it, I was not to be beaten by the macaroon.

    It is true, after some failed attempts – you are eye-balling the oven and holding your breath for the macroons to produce feet and rise! The pumpkin cinnamon cream cheese buttercream sounds delicious. Good job on your challenge =)

  13. I LOVE the pumpkin cinnamon cream cheese buttercream, and wish I had used that to fill my pumpkin macarons! All in all, feet or no feet, all that matters is that they tasted good, and boy, do they look delish! I'll take a dozen or more! 🙂

    BTW, Did you try Helen of Tartelette's recipe? Almost foolproof!

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