Friday, April 30, 2010

Rachel’s Rainbow: The Attack of the Macarons

“So she packed her favorite lunch – a peanut butter sandwich and chocolate chip cookies. Then she set out on her search for her own rainbow.” - Rachel's Rainbow

May’s Mactweets Mac Attack Challenge was to create a French macaron inspired by a favorite childhood book, character, passage, etc. “Rachel’s Rainbow” was probably one of the first books I ever had (it was published a year after my birth), and it occupies a very special place in my heart.

Rachel walks through the woods in search of a rainbow, collecting the odd apple or leaf in the process. Only she finds in the end that she has the real rainbow she collected right there in her basket. Yes, it’s the typical hokey children’s literature, but it also speaks to a profound appreciation for nature and the gifts of the Earth. I think we often go searching for things and forget to take count of what we already have, and note the wonders that surround us in everyday life. This scrawny, 23-page book uses the eyes of a child to show the reader the beauty and dynamism of the natural world.

In honor of that rainbow each of us searches for – and the peanut butter sandwich and cookies each of us longs to eat – I made a rainbow of macaron peanut butter sandwich cookies. Only the red veered off a little from a standard macaron recipe, in that I used ground dehydrated strawberries for some of the color and to make a PB & J (because I don’t like plain PB sandwiches too much). Also note that my purple is actually brown (and chocolate), as I forgot one of the colors on my rainbow spectrum. My sister also commented that the peanut butter filling is particularly un-photogenic - though I don't know what you can do about that!

Notes and Other Macaron Adventures:

Cashew Macarons with Coconut Cream and Lime Curd Fillings. Left: Curry Powder; Plain; Garam Masala.

After some trial and error over the past few months, I think I have landed a recipe that works for my climate and my oven. Syrup and Tang’s proportions suit a damp climate well, because of the high dry ingredient proportions. Eat4Fun’s chocolate macaron recipe also turned out marvelously. Not So Humble Pie has a new Macaron 101, and Tartelette seems to have an endless supply of macaron variations. I also realized that 300-315F is the proper temperature for my oven, but ovens vary and you should experiment with your own.

Strawberry Lemonade

Minty Dark Chocolate


Bonnie said...

Your macarons are beautiful. I agree with you about PB filling. But it does look pretty and taste is so important. I don't care how good it looks, it has to taste good too. I look forward to seeing more of your creations on MacTweets.

shaz said...

Fabulous the rainbow. I used Ms. Humble's tips this time too :) And PB may not look good but who cares when it tastes so great!

Deeba PAB said...

I want to be attacked by a rainbow as colourful as this ... welcome to MacTweets and what a super first 'attack'. LOVE IT! I'm still trying to figure out what works for me... LOL!
Thank you for joining Jamie & me at MacTweets!

Ria Mathew said...

You have done a fantastic job! They look marvellous!

Cristie said...

Beautiful macarons! I love the colors, it must have taken some time to get them all done. Love it!

The Kuntrageous Vegan said...

are these vegan?

Rachel said...

I wish they were vegan! On occasion I will buy eggs from a local farm. As I mentioned in one of my posts, I choose dairy- and egg-free options for sustainability reasons, so I like to support farms that are raising animals for milk and eggs in a humane and ecologically sound manner. Hannah at Bittersweet Blog has produced the only aesthetically pleasing vegan macaron, to my knowledge, and I don't think she ever posted the recipe!