Hazelnut flour can be used in place of almond flour to make French macarons, creating a still light but slightly more nutty cookie. Apricot jam makes the perfect fruity but not too sweet filling.
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Decidedly different from those fussy, multicolored cake-cookies that seem to have taken over bakeries, these Macarons from La Boulange: Cafe Cooking at Home are nutty, sweet, and light, owing to a mix of hazelnut and almond meal, egg whites, and sugar. And that's it.
In this autumn recipe from Francois Payard, classic macaron shells are filled with a spiced pumpkin ganache.
Macarons are so hot right now, it's easy to see why they've captured the attention of sweet fiends and bakers alike. They have a reputation for being fussy, but while they are not the easiest cookie to make, a few with cracked shells still taste just as good as those that emerge from the oven unscarred. This recipe is for plain, basic shells, which have a sweet almond flavor on their own, but largely take on the flavor of your chosen filling.
My experience with French macarons is sadly limited. Sure there were a few wonderful ones in France and a handful of lesser-good versions from New York bakeries, but all in all, I haven't eaten more than two dozen in my life.
I'm ashamed to admit that while I have eaten many macarons, I've never made them on my own. Thankfully, plenty of other people much more skilled in the culinary arts than I am have bravely attempted to make macarons in their home kitchens and have shared their results.