Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Salted Pistachio Dark Chocolate Macarons / Ravel Piano Concerto

Last week, I received an incredibly sweet birthday present from a good friend and colleague at Pacific Symphony: a cookbook entitled "Mad About Macarons." On opening the gift, I was touched that my friend had thoughtfully indulged my obsession with decadent baking. But the more I learned about macarons - and even about the author of the cookbook, who is a musician herself - the more special the gift became.
{at various stages of preparation}

Having never made macarons before, I was unaware of just how much time they require to achieve the most perfect results. First, the egg whites age in the fridge for 4 to 5 days before being beaten. Once the shell batter has been prepared and carefully piped onto baking sheets, it rests on the counter to set for about an hour before baking. Finally, the fully baked and assembled macarons themselves taste best after spending at least 24 hours in the fridge.

But the end result was well worth the wait(s). Despite my wondering if I was doing everything right (because there is just so much that can go wrong: cracked/bubbly/hollow shells, the dreaded lack of "feet"...), it all worked out in the end - thanks to graceful aging. What a fitting birthday metaphor... especially reassuring since this year's my 30th.

{cooling off below the book that made the process relatively foolproof}

I made very few changes to the recipe outlined in the book. My most substantial addition was a sprinkling of Maldon salt to enhance the flavors of both the ground pistachios and the dark chocolate. And for color, I added a few grams of cocoa powder to the shell batter.

{Sadly, no chocolate for Poochini!}

Musical pairing: the first movement of Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major. It is a joyful explosion of flavors and colors; sophisticated, but with a palatable sense of whimsy and fun; and exquisitely French in a very modern way. Enjoy!


  1. I just made my first macarons this summer, too! My pup would have liked a sample, but mine had chocolate filling, too! Great job~

  2. I absolutely LOVE macarons!! Whenever I visit a restaurant or bakery and there are macarons, I always buy one. My favorite macarons are those of Miette bakery in San Francisco. I just bought their cookbook so I'll be trying their recipe soon!


  3. these look wonderful! I've never made macarons before but they sound like soo much work. I'll have to look for a recipe online so I can attempt them.

  4. Oh my gorgeous flavouring Maia... love the macarons. So envious of the book. I have it on my wishlist. Love the addition of sea salt. And what a sweet poochini you have..CUTE!!

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  6. Gosh, what a wonderful surprise to see your blog and this post via Facebook. Thank you ever so much. You know, this made me rather emotional on both fronts - on the macs (they look great and for a first time fab, well done!) and on the music, too. What a lovely choice of the Ravel - especially since the piccolo is highly featured: I adored playing it (it's what got me through some tough auditions at times!) and miss the orchestral playing. Sounds like you're having so much fun.
    Thank you for such a beautiful post!

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  8. yum!
    absolutely wonderful! you’ve got a gorgeous blog, and i’m so glad i’ve stumbled across it for my first time! i hope you’ll come visit COSMICaroline for a Nashville-based source of inspiration for fashion, music, and art! keep up the awesome work!


  9. these look incredible! that last picture with your dog in the background is so cute!!


  10. OMG thanks for this!! They look amazing!!

  11. Thank you very i'm hungry!!! :)
    You are very good in cooking!

  12. gnammy!!!you are a good chef!!!:)

    visit my blog and follow me


  13. These macarons sound and look yummy. After making a batch of macarons successfullly last weekend, I am getting ready to make them again. I will try your recipe out soon. Thanks for sharing. Love your pup, so adorable.

  14. Who doesn't adore macaroons?
    Here in France everyone loves them.
    I was staying at a beautiful French hotel where I was participated in macaroons making course.
    Lasted a whole week. Can you imagine?
    Can send you e-mail with some sweet tricks;-)

  15. oh yum, looks so good!

    visit me!