Thursday, March 27, 2014

Macarons: A Paris Connection by Cerella Sechrist

“I do love macarons,” she admitted, “but if you’re going to eat them in Paris, it’s better to get them at Ladurée. They make the best ones.”

“So this is serious business, eating macarons.

She nodded, keeping her expression severe. “You can’t just eat any macaron when in Paris. You have to have the real thing, the best possible kind.”

“Then it’s settled. We’re going to have to go to Ladurée.”
(Excerpt from The Paris Connection)
***
One of the best parts of researching The Paris Connection was getting to drool over brightly colored photographs of delectable macarons. And as my heroine, Emma, notes in the above excerpt, when in France, the mecca for macarons is the French patisserie, Ladurée.
Since one of the categories on my blog, Literary Fare, is for the Historical Foodie, I couldn't resist learning a little more about the macaron's origins. 
Though decidedly a French confection, the macaron has unexpected Italian beginnings. The general consensus is that a chef of Catherine de Medici's household introduced these almond flour delights around the time she married the Duc du Orleans (who became the King of France in 1547, as Henry II.)
Macarons have always been a cookie of simple ingredients: almond meal, sugar, and egg whites. (Which means, for those of you paying attention, that they're gluten free!)
It was a relative of bakery owner, Louis-Ernest Ladurée, who came up with the idea to stack macarons with a creamy ganache filling in the center, giving birth to our modern variation of this popular confection.
Shortly after I finished the first draft of The Paris Connection, my sister gifted me with a box of macarons to celebrate. It contained a dozen little cookies in flavors ranging from simple deliciousness like Belgian Chocolate (Chocolat Belge) and Madagascar Black Vanilla (Vanille Noire de Madagascar) to the delectably divine like Black Currant (Cassis), Basil White Chocolate (Basilic Chocolat Blanc) and Caramel Fleur de Sel. With a slightly crunchy exterior and a sweet interior filling, macarons are a fantastic way to transport yourself to Paris in just a few bites. 
And I though it was pure kismet when I opened my email two days before The Paris Connection's release to find an email from Martha Stewart Living, celebrating how to make the French culinary classic, the macaron, easily in your own home.

I saved the links and recipes to share:

French Macarons 101
French Macarons Basic Recipe
French Macaron Recipes

If the description of some of these macarons have served to whet your appetite, stop by Facebook via the group, WritersKaboodle, tomorrow night (Friday, March 28) at 8 pm EST where I'll be chatting with fellow Heartwarming authors Karen Rock and Loree Lough to celebrate this month's releases. I'll be choosing one lucky winner to receive not only a personalized, signed copy of The Paris Connection but also a copy of the cookbook, Les Petits Macarons: Colorful French Confections to Make at Home, and Karen and Loree are giving away copies of their March releases as well!

And the next time you bite into a macaron, take a moment to savor your very own Paris connection. Bon appétit!

17 comments:

  1. I'm all for gluten free :)...but can I just say that I think I'm gaining weight simply by reading your delicious posts!

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    1. I never really thought about the fact that macarons are made with almond meal instead of flour, but I was excited to realize they're gluten free! It's a shame gluten free doesn't mean calorie free. :/ LOL

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  2. Ooooooooh! Thank you for sharing those yummy recipes. I love macaroons and my husband, who is French, takes it to a whole other level! I'm going to show him this post when he wakes up!

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    1. I didn't know your husband was French, Karen! Then yes, get that man to make you a batch of macarons! ;)

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  3. They look and sound deliciously decadent. I noticed them mentioned in the book, but don't think I've ever seen any. Cool.

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    1. Roz, I actually hadn't tried any until my sister bought me a box to celebrating The Paris Connection. They're delicious! You'll have to give them a try if you get a chance!

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  4. You've done it again, Cerella! My breakfast prunes and grainy toast are now sitting in my stomach like a brick. I want a macaron! Ron and I have tea and coffee at 10:30 - can you have some here by then? If you were able to 'transport' yourself to Paris to create this wonderful book, you ought to be able to get some cookies here. Try!

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    1. LOL, Muriel! I was working at Starbucks when I read this comment of yours - surrounded by pastries but no way to get any to you! Maybe you and Ron can try baking a batch and LMK how they turn out! :)

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    2. LOL, Muriel, I had a pop tart for breakfast.

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  5. What a fun post, Cerella! These cookies almost look too good to eat--almost (: I loved the "Paris" feeling you created in your book, too! I want to go to Paris, but in the meantime I guess I could settle for baking some of these...

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    1. That's my plan, too, Carol. I'm hoping to get to Paris (my first visit!) next year, but I suppose a couple of macarons can tide me over. ;)

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  6. Cerella, I enjoyed reading your post. I never knew macarons had such an interesting history or that they could be so colorful. I look forward to reading your book.

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    1. I actually learned quite a few things myself while writing this post, Linda! Such an interesting little cookie, the macaron. ;)

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  7. I want to try one. Will you be at RWA? LOL

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    1. LOL! I don't know if I'll make it this year, Pamela, but if I do, we'll have to plan on a Heartwarming authors macaron reception. :)

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  8. Oh. My. Goodness. I'm saving the bookmarks to the recipes page. MUST try these. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. LOVE them and they are the prettiest cookies ever!

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