Macaron Marathon

I first fell in love with macarons during my second trip to Paris after following up on the advice of friends and visiting Ladurée bakery.  Ever since then I was hooked.  Even after I moved to Paris for a two-year stint, I returned home to the states with a little pastel green box filled with eight mouth-watering cookies to bring my mom a taste of Paris.  Despite this obsession, I always had a fear of recreating the dessert at home.  I had heard stories that they were a tough cookie to make and after my gnocchi disaster in the kitchen several years ago, I did not want a repeat.  So once I found an instructional class at Sur La Table (led by a pastry chef), my fears were assuaged and after a two-hour course, I was taking home a ziploc bag filled with five different flavors of this heavenly cookie.  Making them at home, however, was a different story.  We didn't have the luxury of already measured/weighed ingredients, a professional pastry chef guiding our every move, and the most important thing, a restaurant-grade (or at least properly functioning) oven.  This afternoon's first homemade macaron attempt turned into a 4+hour marathon that resulted in tasty (if not somewhat ugly) macarons that I think were a decent success considering it was our first attempt.  They were missing the all-important pieds, or feet, that make macarons unique, and thus I think they almost look like mini-whoopie pies instead.  We learned a lot and after we wash away the last of the splattered flour out of our hair and aprons, we just might be ready for take two of our macaron adventure.  Stay tuned.  
After 3 attempts at the macaronner process, watching this video helped immensely
Uneven coconut macaron shells after piping
Our attempt at quick-drying the shells before putting them in the oven.  Result: It worked pretty well
An unsuccessful burnt batch of raspberry macarons
The semi-presentable coconut-lemon and raspberry macarons 
Plates of macarons
Raspberry-filled macarons up-close
I had planned on making pasta alio e oglio for dinner but a nearly 4-hour macaron marathon called for Subway takeout and "homemade" iced chai using the Tazo mix from Whole Foods

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