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[ LES PETITS MACARONS COLORFUL FRENCH CONFECTIONS TO MAKE AT HOME BY MCBRIDE, ANNE E.](AUTHOR)PAPERBACK (Anglais) Broché – 22 septembre 2011
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I love macarons,and I have purchased several books on the subject, but this one is by far the best. Although it has several amazing recipes (such as the key lime with marshmallow fluff -- YUM!), it also offer endless variations on shells and fillings. Fillings include ice milks for frozen treats, jams and pate de fruit, ganache, and buttercream. Shells include variations in nuts, flavors, and colors -- even savory recipes such as a maple bacon bourbon filling. You are limited only by your own imagination in flavor combinations. And BONUS -- you get really wonderful recipes that are excellent all on their own for jams, ice milks, and buttercream.
The troubleshooting chapter at the end of the book, complete with thumbnail visuals, is especially helpful. I spotted several of my own mistakes in this chapter, and I now have the guidance to correct them.
If you have unsuccessfully tried to make macarons in the past, or if you are an experienced macaron maker, this book would be great for either the novice or the expert (and everyone in between). The directions are very detailed, the recipes are professionally written in language that is easy to follow, and the book is beautifully designed. I also love the fact that measurements are listed by both quantity and weight. The recipes range from simple combinations to complex presentations.
I'm so glad I purchased it.
*Many bakers are not used to combining the sugar with the egg whites before beginning to whip them. I know I'm not. But the whites still whipped and I got a nice firm meringue. I didn't notice any difference adding the sugar first vs as the whites' foamy stage.
*Not all macaron bakers let their batter set before putting them in the oven. This book has you dry the batter out in the oven for 15 minutes at 200 degrees to dry out the batter, accomplishing the same setting affect to achieve feet. It works.
*The troubleshooting guide is outstanding. It's helpful for the methods used in this book as well as for any macaron making method. The only thing that rattles my brain is that one macaron symptom can mean many things (i.e. air pockets can be too much air in batter, too high oven temp or too low oven temp). But that doesn't mean the guide is useless. Like baking anything, trial and error is how things eventually come out perfect.
*The book does not state to not age the egg whites. It is always stressed. It contains an alternate method for baking if you're just that impatient that you don't have time to age them. And it clearly states that your results will not be as good as if the whites are aged.
My macarons always look amazing. Using the method in this book was no exception. My only problems I've had with macarons are hollow shells, using both this method and Jill Calonna's method (Mad About Macarons). This is not the fault of either book. It is going to take more experience on my part to get them absolutely perfect. And hollow shells by no means says that my macs are inedible. The video on Le Petits Macarons website is a must-watch. You really get to see what consistency your batter should be and how to slam down your baking sheets to release and excess air in the batter. Who doesn't love making noise and slamming baking sheets in frustration?
I gave this book 4 stars because I am not a fan of it's layout. I have to flip to different sections for recipes, baking instructions, piping instructions, etc. It's good how everything was put together in sections, but it was complicated going back to the different sections as the clock was ticking during making, macaronage, etc. But all of the important information is included in the book.
Overall it is a good book and an extremely useful resource for any macaron recipe you may try. But for the traditionalist, this may not be the best book with it's alternative recipes and methods.
I thought I had messed up on my own, but no, after 2 more tries, it really wasn't me. It was the recipe. And the other recipes? Why mess with cooking the meringue when hundreds of other bakers have successfully instructed otherwise. Honestly, this book instructs the baking of macarons in a long, complicated, and/or completely unsuccessful way.
But on the other hand, the pictures are nice and the fillings suggestions are quite inventive.
Sorry, Gordon & McBride, I just wasn't happy with this.
~~An unhappy baker