Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mad about Macarons... the Giveaway!! (This Giveaway is closed)

 

Ahhhh... Springtime in Paris, what a dream!  Leisurely drifting from cafe to cafe I can see myself enjoying robust European coffees, tempting teas and most definitely partaking in more than my fair share of the delectable pastries.  My visit some 25 years ago still stands fresh in my memory and I dream of returning as a "more mature" adult and truly appreciating the delicacies of the city.

Luckily, I have a good friend who just happens to be living in Paris!  I'm not sure she really knows we are friends, but we've spent quite a bit of time together recently.   Jill Colona, the author of Mad about Macarons, has kindly accompanied me on many of my travels.  From simple drives to school and dance pick up, to the dentist, to the beach and even on my recent trip to Yosemite, Jill - or rather her book - has been my constant companion.

Seeing macarons on blog after blog and even in magazines and on cooking shows for years I admit I am a bit behind the curve in trying them myself.  Their vibrant colors and perfect shapes have always been appealing yet intimidating.  Being somewhat impatient I didn't see myself with the ability to make them look as lovely as others and I questioned if the time it took to make them was really worth it.  Would they really be that good?  In a simple answer, "Yes!"

After viewing Jill in action on the Scottish morning show "The Hour" I knew I had to try these little meringue-like cookies.  Making the process look so easy on the show, I promptly ordered her book and Liv and I read it cover to cover the day we received it.  

Jill's directions are exceptionally clear and provided us with the inspiration and knowledge to create beautiful macarons on our first try!  The book is filled with macaron lore, tips for creating and baking, recipes for a number of macaron variations in addition to recipe ideas for those left over egg yolks.  The pages are splashed with lovely photos depicting the endless colors and flavors of this delicate French patisserie.


With Jill's tip to use egg whites that have been "aged for four to five days" and the requirement to have patience and wait another 24 hours before enjoying, these confections are not something to whip up on a whim for an afternoon treat.  

Precisely weighing the ingredients also put me to the test as I'm usually more of an estimator, however I pulled out my scale, set it to grams and measured with care.  Whisking our egg whites to beautiful "glossy firm peaks" and mixing in the remaining ingredients proved to be fairly straight forward.  Piping the "macaronnage" (I'm loving that word!  Basically meaning the prepared batter) was far easier than I had imagined, and Liv happily took over that job creating some fairly non-traditional shapes in the process.

Macarons make you smile!

Having had varying results with prior meringue escapades, butterflies flitted in my stomach as I placed the set macarons into the oven to bake.  With crossed fingers Liv and I waited patiently to see if the frilly foot, or pied, would magically form in our oven.  And it did!!  We did a little dance of excitement as we pulled the first perfectly baked pan onto the counter and simply stared and our beautiful frilled shells.

Vanilla Macarons (pg. 35) with pied!!

Tasting them we thought they were "good".  Still not seeing the excitement we baked the rest and filled them when they had cooled with a blueberry filling of Liv's creation.  Tasting again, they were still "good".  The pretty little guys were then placed into the fridge for the requested 24 period and we waited...

Tutti-Frutti Macarons (pg. 83) with Liv's  Blueberry Filling
The next afternoon I pulled the plate from the fridge before taking Jill (well, her book...) to school for pick up.  Returning home 45 minutes later Liv and I each took a macaron and tasted.  Our eyes grew wide and met across the table within seconds as the textures and flavors melded on our tongues bringing something special that neither of us had ever tasted before.  

Jill, you were right!  These little confections are truly worth the effort.  Sharing them with family and neighbors brought smiles and thanks all around and we promptly cracked more eggs to begin aging for our next batch - Vanilla with a Guava filling.

Vanilla Macarons (pg. 35) with Guava Filling
With my eye opening discovery that macarons are truly a delicacy that one can make at home and that the effort, when planned ahead, really is not overwhelming, I want to tell the world!  Jill's publishers have so kindly offered me a copy of the book, Mad about Macarons, to give away to one of our lucky readers.  Filled with the history of Macarons, wonderful recipes, stunning photos and tried and true directions, anyone can make these little treats themselves and revel in their own little version of Springtime in Paris.

Giveaway "fine print":

  • To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment with your favorite macaron flavors and colors.  Please be sure to leave an email address if your link does not take me to your contact info.
  • The giveaway will close on April 26 at 4 PM, PST.
  • The giveaway is open to shipping addresses in the United States and Canada in addition to the UK, France, Austria and Germany.
  • A winner will be chosen at random on April 28, we will notify you and forward your address to the publisher for shipping. 
Thank you, Jill, for being my BFF (even though you didn't know it!!) and for making us Mad about Macarons!!!

96 comments:

  1. Wow!! Your macarons are gorgeous! Perfect! Don't you just love Jill? And her book? I have made so many batches of Jill's macarons, but I haven't had a "good looking" batch just yet... I suck at piping. ;) But you my friend, wow, you have mastered the art of piping out a macaron...bravo! They are beautiful!

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  2. Your macarons came out great! I love lemon macarons, although plain vanilla (filled with buttercream, mmmm) are excellent too!

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  3. I love the bright colors/flavors, particularly the reds! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity...your macarons look delicious!

    mmporta at gmail dot come

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  4. I am so envious these are perfection... I am afraid to even try them... they seem to be so difficult to get that perfect! WOW I love the photo's too! just awesome

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  5. These look so perfect!

    I love white vanilla macaroons. They just looks so elegant to me :)

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  6. I would tell you which ones I love the most...but I've never had one! :(
    I would love to try a lemon one or perhaps one with pineapple...I think Jill did one with pineapple curd that had me salivating just thinking about it.

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  7. Love your macarons (especially the smiley face, tee hee) and I love the photo of your beaten egg whites, really beautiful! This is a fab giveaway and since I have never tried making macarons I would love to win this book! My favorite flavor would be hazelnut with chocolate, but i had a lovely one with rose flavored cream too... hard to decide!

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  8. Oh, how I want to win!!! Your macarons are fabulous and I'm a big fan of Jill and her book :)

    My favorite would be a vanilla with chocolate filling...that way my family is sure to eat them!

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  9. Beautiful! And I love the flavors.

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  10. I love almond flavored Macaroons filled with buttercream.. SO yummy!
    cher_theblondeprincess@hotmail.com

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  11. I tried to make macarons once and it was a disaster. I'd love to try again with better directions. My favorite are espresso with chocolate ganache. yum!
    allthingsyummyforfoodies@yahoo.com

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  12. Congrats on baking such beautiful macarons! I'm very familiar with the nervous anticipation involved with baking macarons, and the sigh of relief as the pieds form.

    My favorite flavors are lavender with vanilla and cinnamon with honey.

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  13. Hi Kim, I am a huge fan of Jill's cooking, writing, photos and sense of humour so I can see why she's your new BFF. Congrats on your maiden voyage into macarons - good job!

    I'm really liking Liv's Tutti-Frutti macarons with blueberry

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  14. I would say yellow (lemon) and brown (coffee), if that is possible. I have never tried making them but you make it sound easy. What a great first try!

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  15. I am a nut for lemon and lavender! How adorable, and yummy would those be? They all look divine :) ~Megan
    wannabeacountrycleaver@yahoo.com

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  16. I have yet to try these amazing creations so I think Jill's book would be a big help. I hope there is lemon with some sort of berries. Or of course my favorite chocolate with anything. I love Liv's smily face one.
    -Gina-

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  17. Kim, congrats on your successful macarons! I've been wanting to try them for years but haven't had the nerve to. One of these days, hopefully. In fact, I was thinking about them yesterday. :-)

    As for my favorites? There are so many but lately, I've been thinking about the rose colored/flavored ones I remember from Laduree last year. I'll have to go with those. Then again, I always enjoy the pistachio ones, too. :-)

    What a fun giveaway!

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  18. I love macarons with chocolate, though I haven't had any since I was in France a few years ago! My email is keepitsweetlcl at gmail

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  19. OMG...macaroons (this version) are on my to-do list! I really love the taste of the vanilla bean cookie and filling, but will automatically buy any PURPLE macaroon!

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  20. Wow, I just tried macarons the other night for the first time!
    http://ironchefman.blogspot.com/2011/04/macarons-first-attempt.html
    I read Brave Tart's "Macaron Myths" as a primer, and they turned out ok but with plenty of room for improvement.
    Anyway, pistachio is my favorite macaron flavor, as it was the first one that I ever had - in Cambodia, of all places!

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  21. I've yet to try making macarons, mostly because everyone makes them sound so very intimidating. I would really like to try eventually, though, because there's nothing quite like a well-made macaron.
    If that day ever comes, I plan on recreating a macaron I once had, with a lavender shell and a blueberry filling that was out of this world (not to mention such a pretty shade of pale purpley-blue).

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  22. I have Jill's book on my wish list and macarons are on my to-try list. I love the vibrant colors that you can achieve making macarons and I think I would like to make some incorporating lilikoi (passionfruit), although guava does sound great too.

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  23. pick me....pick me:

    FAv:
    Tutti-Frutti Macarons (pg. 83) with Liv's Blueberry Filling ;

    keith stone

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  24. Mmmmmm. Very nice :o)
    Oh, I added ya to the Easter Round up too (if you have the time to do a blog post about Easter dinner)

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  25. I would like the green ones that she made, pistachio i think. I ahve never made macrons, but I would like ot try, when I win the book
    beckysbakingandcooking@gmail.com

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  26. I have to admit I have always been intimidated by macaroons, and need to try making them! I am always drooling over the ones Jill puts on her blog! My favorite macaroon would have to be a pink rosewater macaroon with raspberry jam filling yum :)! I would definately attempt to whip up a batch of macaroons if I won the book!
    lyoamyl@bethel.edu

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  27. beautiful macaroons berry flavour would be nice
    torviewtoronto@gmail.com

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  28. I love, love, love Jill's blog and I desperately want to win this! Please, please, please tip the scales in my favour? Pretty please???? :)

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  29. BTW your macarons look fabulous, Kim (and Liv!).

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  30. Me and my roommates have always been too intimidated by macaroons to try them, although we've made a pact to put together our meager student budgets and attempt to before the year is up and this post is definitely inspiration. We go to this cupcake shop down in old montreal that have mini macaroons, and my favourites are the pistachio/white chocolate, hazelnut/almond and raspberry/white chocolate!

    -Hannah
    hannah.shim@hotmail.com

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  31. I recently had a pistachio macaron w/ a chocolate-caramel filling. It was to die for! I have yet to try to make macarons myself but I've been wanting to get Jill's book. If I don't win it, I'll purchase a copy or two. :)

    Your macarons look beautiful! I love the smile on your daughter's face. :)

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  32. Gorgeous macaroons! These (and a trip to Paris) sound fantastic! :)

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  33. Mmmmm.....Can you believe I have NEVER tried to make these, let alone eat one....I am imagining a fancy flavour such as blueberry with lemon filling....or raspberry with lemon....I may have to give these a try!

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  34. Great job Kim..I never made them before, but will try it soon, I just have to :))
    I love your beautiful photos!!!

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  35. Oh wow. I am inspired. I want to make macaroons! My favorite are definitely pistachio. morgan.larsen@gmail.com

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  36. I haven't had any yet. I would love a vanilla and chocolate one. The green and read ones look fun.

    melodyj(at)gmail(dot)com

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  37. There was something so special about this post of yours. I kept reading word by word, trying to understand your feelings about the temperamental cookie. Enjoyed your post so much. It is only very recently that I had my first macaroon and it stood by all the oohs-aahs it usually begets. Macaroons are definitely special.

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  38. I LOVE macaroons - my favorite are almond with chocolate filling.
    I did have an amazing pistachio flavored one at a local bakery.

    I even tried making them at home -1/2 almond, 1/2 hazelnut and a nutella cream filling. they were a little flat & no pied but we ate the whole batch in one night!

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  39. Hi Kim! Beautiful... I love macarons but I never made them because it looks hard to make (like detail work etc). But you did a wonderful job with Jill's book! I'd love to have Matcha (green) right now... yumm....

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  40. Wow, so lucky I found your blog :) Nice!
    Now to the macarons:
    I haven't had the chance to try too many different flavors. Therefore my favorite remains pistachio :)

    mulriket[at]aol.com

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  41. Kim, what can I say? I am totally bowled over and lost for words (for once)! Lump in throat and totally proud to be your BFF. I am so excited for your macarons and love that you're sharing in the "macaron foot dance". What a wonderful post: love also how Liv came up with the macaron smiles. Thank you so much, my friend. Hugs and bisous, Jill xoxo

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  42. I love all flavors,esp caramel au beurre sal

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  43. Your tutti frutti macarons are stunning! I love Jill's blog and would like to try out some of her creations one of these days.

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  44. Yum! I'm still trying to make these! I love vanilla, caramel, and lemon.

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  45. I love making macarons! I'm obsessed with it, I think! My favourites so far have been coffee (even though I don't like drinking coffee) and coconut.

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  46. Vanilla sounds good but I'm a sucker for a classic coconut macaroon, in any way, shape or form!

    heavyartillery@gmail.com

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  47. I'm so glad you made this post - I've had the same doubts about whether tackling macarons would be worth it or not. Apparently, they are! I can't wait to give them a try myself.

    Being a chocolate girl, my favorite flavors are always going to be chocolate-on-chocolate macarons. Honestly the super-vibrant colors (bright reds and greens, for example) kind of weird me out, but I've seen some very delicate lavenders that I thought were very attractive on a dessert. :)

    (Email on my About page :D)

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  48. My favorite is chocolate or vanilla macaroons. Thanks!

    Chris M.

    zekks at yahoo dot com

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  49. I've been dying to try my hand at macarons! I want make them all! Yours are beautiful

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  50. My favorite are any sort of berry flavored or chocolate! Your photos are beautiful!

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  51. I love plain almond macaroons with a dark chocolate filling. Simple, and delicious. And, your macaroons are just beautiful!

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  52. Love your macaroons! They put a smile on my face too :)
    I have yet to master the art of macaroons myself, so this book could potentially be a big help. That said, I do love eating them! My favorite that I've tried are black sesame flavored and they are a spotted charcoal-black color. Strange, but delicious.

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  53. Hazelnut Mocha Macaroons ROCK!

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  54. I love pink vanilla bean macarons with butercream filling! Yum! Yours look gorgeous.

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  55. Wow Kim! Those are so impressive! I fell in love with macarons when Jeff and I visited Paris about 4 years ago. I still crave them and now I may have to make them! We had many different kinds in Paris but I think the lavender ones may have been the most interesting both with the taste and color. Thanks for posting the recipe and I love your beautiful photos!

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  56. Anything that is sweet and salty at the same time - salted caramel macarons are my favorite! But I think it would be cool to do a macaron that is a play on a black and white cookie, as well.

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  57. wow awesome!! i've been wanting to make macarons for a while!!
    puravida(at)frontiernet(dot)net

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  58. Cayman belongs to the UK...does that count ;) Your macarons are absolutely stunning! Well done. I'm particularly impressed with Liv's smiley face. I've never tasted a macaron before (scandal!) but I'm sure my favorite would be lemon with mango filling. Thanks for sharing!

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  59. I love simple and classic vanilla :)

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  60. I've only had Macarons once and they were so good it was a chocolate chocolate one (i'm sure the name was actually something much more exotic). I would love to make some too :)

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  61. My favorite are plain almond macaroons filled with dark chocolate!

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  62. I've never in my life made macaroons, and I can't think of the last time I would have eaten one, but your photos are beautiful and the book sounds wonderful! I'm thinking chocolate macaroons with a hazelnut filling would be good, and for a more colorful version I'm thinking raspberry macaroons with a lemon filling. Yum!

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  63. I must say, I'm a sucker for a GREEN pistachio macaron with ANY filling--though a simple buttercream always seems to do the trick! I also keep a stash of macarons in my freezer from Trader Joe's--just defrost and enjoyyyyy! :)

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  64. I am so enamored with macarons. I think of any excuse to make them. My favorite flavor is the plain almond with vanilla butter-cream. That's the flavor I've had the most success with anyway. My second favorite would be blueberry shells with ginger butter-cream.

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  65. Pistachio is my favorite, chocolate is also good, raspberry.....
    karen.albro@yahoo.com

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  66. I'm so excited for this giveaway! Jill always makes amazing creations that I drool over. :) Unfortunately, I don't have a favorite flavor because I have yet to try these (gasp!). But if I land my hands on this book, you can bet I'll start searching for my favorite flavor ASAP!!

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  67. They all look so beautiful, hard to pick a favorite. I think the vanilla ones with guava look quite tasty!

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  68. I really want to make macarons and this book would be a huge help!

    catharine.ellie [at] gmail.com

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  69. I have Jill's Book and found it very informative and her recipe is one of my favorite when baking macarons:D

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  70. Lovely macarons! You and Liv did a wonderful job! My favorite flavor would be your Tutti Frutti with Liv's blueberry filling...looks amazing:)Such a fun giveaway!:)

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  71. I'm enchanted with LifeasaDill's Lavender Macarons with Honey-Vanilla Buttercream on flickr...elegant ivory with a sprinkling of lavender...just gorgeous!

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  72. I like coconut. Yum!

    lovelydomesticdiva (at) gmail (dot) com

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  73. I love love love pistachio macarons--especially that they have bits of pistachio inside them :).
    my email is paintyourxtarget {at} gmail.com. thanks!

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  74. salted caramel, nutella, or green tea macarons!

    imagine4461@gmail.com

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  75. Hmmmm...I don't know if I can pick just ONE favorite macaron flavor...I am particularly fond of hazlenut or lemon (with lemon curd filling!). I love the brightly colored ones...even if my favorite flavors don't necessarily correspond.

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  76. I've never tried macaroons in my life, but I like to look at them because they indeed look very pretty! I think I would like the vanilla flavour best, but for the colour, it's got to be pink ;).

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  78. I was much captivated by the beauty of your writing as well as reading about your adventures with the coveted fashion food-macarons! Admittedly, I’ve had enough struggles in my own kitchen for that perfect look — alas, the results are not always successful ☹ All the more reason I’m thrilled to read about your success with Jill’s book, written with great expertise and attention to detail. Jill herself is such a warm and wonderful person, it’s little wonder that her recipes are a success-first time, every time!

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  79. Your macarons are beautiful! I have never made them before, but you have inspired me. I need to try these delicious looking treats.

    I think my favorite would be vanilla with blueberry filling.

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  80. What a great giveaway. I love reading Jill's blog and am amazed at anyone who can make such beautiful treats (you included...yours are fabulous). I think a chocolate with mint filling would be my safe, but favorite combo.

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  81. I had a hard first and second time at making macarons but I have to say that once you become confident (and like you say plan well) the effort is will repaid. I would not mind giving them another try with this wonderful book. I'm a vanilla girl, so of course I would start with a vanilla flavor. Wonderful giveaway!

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  82. Your macarons look amazing! Never had the courage to make them. My all time favourite flavour is pistachio! Love raspberry, salted caramel, lemon too. Favourite colours are green, red and yellow. Hehe. Thanks.

    chewfatt@hotmail.com

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  83. Coffee with caramel filling...yum yum yum!

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  84. Salted caramel with chocolate filling — makes me think the universe is kind.

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  85. I had a wonderful peanut butter and jelly version, but my favorite is chocolate with a salted caramel filling! YUM! Enjoy the rest of your week-end!

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  86. I have always been too intimidated to make true macarons but you have inspired me to try. I would love a lemon macaron with a raspberry filling. Happy Easter!

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  87. I love Jill's blog and am still terrified of macarons. I love the idea of macarons and when others make it. Pistachio is a favorite flavor of mine and LOVE it with chocolate and I am happy! Your tips are grand!

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  88. I love chocolate macarons with peanut butter filling!!

    adb6{at}humboldt{dot}edu

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  89. I have never had a macaron before so I don't know my favorite flavors. I need to try my hand at making them. What a great giveaway and wonderful tips!

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  90. I like lemon macaroons and blueberry the best! I love vibrant colored macaroons like blue and purple.

    chantalsrecipes at gmail dot com

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  91. Ooo I love Jill's site! I've been dying to try and make macarons myself. I have to say though, that even though every macaron I have tried has been delicious, chocolate with chocolate ganache filling will always be my favorite!

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  92. I love these fantastic grapefruit macarons from Miette in San Francisco.

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  93. Melissa (Misslissy@aol.com)April 26, 2011 at 4:28 AM

    I am macaroon deprived, however a lemon and vanilla combo sounds fantastic to me. Your macaroons are beautiful!

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  94. I love purple and green macarons, lavender and macha flavored! loveridgejenny@yahoo.com

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  95. Your macaroons are beautiful! I've never had homemade macaroons and I would LOVE to try yours. :)

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