Rob, my father-in-law, is still with us and probably will be for the foreseeable future. We love having him here as he’s cheerful, clever and funny – even though he’s 92 and nearly crippled with arthritis in every joint.
He is a retired physics lecturer and when discussing history is happy to tell you that something happened before the electron was discovered. Ask a question and he goes right into teacher mode, even if you only wanted a quick answer.
When he was in his 50s he was invited and went on a sabbatical to Paris to study holograms. Teachers don’t earn a lot of money but he was determined to go and lived in one-star accomodation.
Hearing him tell of his good friend Velodia from Russia, another researcher at the university in Paris, and how Velodia (staying in 3-star accomodation) would get vodka and other treats from the Russian embassy and the two of them would occasionally get smashed and wander around Paris. I would love to have been a fly on the wall for that. Velodia didn’t speak English, Rob didn’t speak Russian and they both spoke a smattering of French.
When he’s not working on my herb garden, he spends quite a bit of time on his computer every day writing to physics professors around the world, old friends from the university where he taught, family in Norway and reading the local Melbourne paper.
I’ve told you before he eats really well for an old fella. He loved Paris and still writes emails in French to several old friends. Yesterday I made some plain macarons and filled them with chocolate ganache. When I finished I brought him one and said, “I think if you eat one of these you automatically start speaking French.”
He’s too cute for words. This isn’t a great photo because those arthritic fingers hid the entire macaron — and I made big ones. (I probably should have said, “Comb your hair before I click,” but I didn’t.)
This macaron recipe is a good one. I made successful chocolate macarons last year and since then I’ve had 2 fails – no feet. I was almost expecting to turn on the oven light and see nothing that needed socks but I was pleasantly surprised. Not ony did I get feet but I got good ones.
- 140 grams egg whites (about 4 large egg whites) at room temperature
- 70 grams caster (superfine) sugar
- 230 grams icing (confectioners) sugar
- 120 grams almond meal
- pinch salt
- powder or gel food colouring - optional
- 100 grams dark chocolate
- 30 grams cream
- Preheat oven to 150C/300F
- Place egg whites and caster sugar in an electric mixer bowl and beat until stiff - you can pick up the bowl and hold it over your head and the mixture won't fall out.
- At this point add any food colouring you wish and beat for another one or two minutes.
- Sift the almond meal and icing sugar and then sift it again. You don't want any almond bits that are too big to go through the sieve as they'll mess up your macarons.
- Fold the almond meal and icing sugar into the beaten eggwhites with a large rubber spatula.
- Mixing or what's called the macronage stage is the key to good macarons so fold about 35-45 times or until the mixture is still thick but does run off the spatula in a ribbon.
- Line a tray with baking paper and pipe rounds of macaron mixture. I use a free macaron template.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until they come away from the baking paper easily.
- Match tops to bottoms and make the ganache filling.
- grams dark chocolate
- ml cream
- Bring the cream nearly to the boiling point and pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 2-3 minutes and then stir. Microwave for 10-20 seconds if there is any unmelted chocolate.
- Let cool and pipe onto the bottom of one macaron and place another to make a sandwich.
Joanne T Ferguson says
Beautiful macarons and love choc ganache Maureen, true!
Know first hand how “fiddly” they can be to make too!
GREAT photo of dad, you have caught a great warm moment in time!
Hope you always enjoy my rhyme! 🙂
I did! I didn’t find these macarons fiddly at all. 1-2-3 and they were done.
A wonderful father-in-law. Those macarons look extremely tempting and delicious.
I’m very lucky, Rosa 🙂
Purabi Naha | Cosmopolitan Currymania says
I love these macarons! These are easy and look gorgeous with that chocolate ganache!
We liked them too! They were really easy. I had them all done in less than an hour, including cleanup.
Lizzy (Good Things) says
Maureen, I love this post…. beautiful story, gorgeous macarons (do you deliver?), and love the photos too, my friend. xo
Thanks, Liz.. I had a good time with this one.
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
Aww I bet he adored his little trip back to Paris via macaron 🙂
he really liked the post. At 92 most of your friends are gone and it’s easy to become invisible. He loved being the center of attention in this post. 🙂
Beautifully told story Maureen, it sounds you’re having much fun with your father in law around 🙂
I’m not getting enough work done but at 92 we have no idea how long he’s going to be around so it’s important to enjoy him while we can.
Thanks to you and Jas I now know what macaron feet are so this talk of socks all makes perfect sense. How lovely you now have two appreciative men in the house.
LOL The old one appreciates everything. It’s cold up here tonight – a low of 6 which is uncommon on the Sunshine Coast – so he thanked me for turning on his electric blanket 🙂
LOL these were well-footed! 🙂
I loved this story Maureen. I can only imagine what kind of trouble two super intelligent men like that could get into – lol… I have a confession. I’ve never made macarons. I guess I had better add that to my list “must make”.
He talks about that Russian with much fondness. It could have been the fancy vodka though. 🙂
Very nice story Maureen, lovely read.. he seems like a quite character your father-in-law 🙂 must try these macaroons, they look delicious.. maybe they will make me speak French as well? 😉
Cheers and stay warm all of you – Agnes
Agnes was my grandmother’s name and she could speak French – so maybe one or two macarons would do it for you too! 🙂
oh.. that’s very nice 🙂 …but no French for me for some time, I guess 😉 trying to lose some weight in fact, I discovered week ago that I can’t fit in any of my summer dresses (not like I didn’t notice that I put weight on.. well it kinda happened gradually 😉 ..and my cousin’s wedding is coming this weekend.. I save this recipe for other sweet time.. cheers 😀
LOL Agnes – save this recipe for a cold winter morning. You’ll need the extra layer to keep warm. 🙂
Ash- foodfashionparty says
First of all, macaroons are my favorite and France too.
Looks like you adore him and such a sweet write up, honestly got teary eyed..
On a serious note..I feel awful that Teachers are the most hardworking and are being underpaid, I don’t get it.
People complain about schools and education but honestly, if we paid teachers well, we’d get more clever people. I’m old and when I was growing up, we had fantastic teachers because women couldn’t get jobs in upper management. Now that women are equal in many respects, the clever ones wouldn’t consider teaching as a career because it’s too hard for not enough money. Teaching is not a very valued career.
Thanks for the lovely comment, Ash.
Macarons can definitely be a little tricky, or so Mrs K R tells me (she does the baking). That feet thing, and getting the texture right (that crisp, almost shattering texture; not limp and chewy). Good job. And great picture of your father-in-law. Good candids can be hard to take, but this sure seems to express his personality.
I’ve had as many fails as successes with macarons but this recipe was great first time out.
Tricia @ Saving room for dessert says
I love hearing about your father-in-law. I have a spot in my heart reserved for the aged. Anyway – your macarons are perfect! Love the chocolate ganache.
He loved the macarons and wants to know if I’m making them again anytime soon.
Jan's Sushi Bar says
What a sweet story about your father-in-law, and I think it’s a sweet photo, too!
Love the recipe, too; am sitting here wondering if they could be made without the confectioner’s sugar…
They can’t be made without sugar of some sort but you can make them using a boiling sugar syrup over the egg whites.
Sawsan@ Chef in disguise says
I have been researching macaroons all week! working up the courage to give them a go but every post I read was all about how hard and demanding macaroons were
I think I have found THE recipe to try. If you say it works that is good enough for me. Hopefully I will have the time to try it this week
P.S. your father in law sounds like a wonderful person 🙂
Sawsan, this IS the recipe. I can’t wait to see what amazing flavors you end up making.
Jennifer @ Delicieux says
Awww your father in law is adorable 🙂 He seems like such a character and I’m sure he has some amazing stories to tell. Gorgeous macarons Maureen!
Jennifer, he’s a treat. It helps that he really appreciates everything we do for him. he has a tough time to get around.
Such a sweet post Maureen…easy macarons? Can you believe that I am afraid of making macarons? Yes, afraid…I never tried…so when I read you post title, I am like “I think I can give this a try”. They look perfect, light and crusty.
Thanks for the recipe…have a wonderful week 😀
Juliana, when I tried my first ones.. I made chocolate and I told myself I was fully prepared to toss them all in the bin. and I did.
The next time I got Jill Colonna’s book and I made perfect chocolate macarons. Then I took leave and tried other recipes and was disappointed. Someone shared this recipe with me and I thought, what the heck – I have all these egg whites I’ll have to toss if I don’t use them. (Father-in-law loves ice cream, especially homemade ice cream.)
Jill @ Mad About Macarons says
A proud moment reading this, Maureen. Thank you!
LOL You’re too sweet for words. Must be all those macarons you eat. 🙂
I want to give your father in law a big hug and make him his favourite dish just to put a smile on his face. 🙂 My dad loved every dessert I ever made him. Most of the other things I cooked for him didn’t quite go over as well.
I’ve only tried making macarons once and they ended up being more like meringues. I obviously failed at the macronage stage. Maybe one day I’ll try again. In the meantime, I’m still waiting to taste a macaron. 🙂
Oh you should give this recipe a try. Mix only until it falls off the spatula in a ribbon then pipe. Worked great for me.
My dad was a Physics professor…I think I tuned him out anytime he started talking about electrons, etc. But he had all sorts of tricks to show us in his lab…such fun memories.
PS…your macarons look terrific. I need to make some again, soon 🙂
Liz! You understand. I’ve learned not to say, “What is …..?” I have to be very specific or I get a big lesson. He IS a lot of fun but anyone 92 is a lot of work too.
What a incredible man! 92 and still going strong mentally and physically with all of the garden work. He sounds like the perfect house guest and you obviously appreciate him and love him as your own father. These macaroons look fabulous and I love the word “easy” in front of them. I’ve never thought of macaroons as easy, but then I’ve never made them.
Don’t be afraid! Next time you make ice cream with egg yolks, give these a try. They only take about 15 minutes to mix and 20 minutes to bake. 🙂
Suzanne Perazzini says
I remember him fondly from a previous post. He must be a delight to have around. Those macarons look perfect to me. I have never even tried them – too afraid.
Is sugar, egg whites and almond meal allowed on the low FODMAP diet? If so, you should try these. 🙂
Suzanne Perazzini says
The sugar has to be in small amounts as does the almond meal – less than 10 almonds a day – but one macaron would be allowed though that would probably be the sugar load for the day. I have to choose carefully where to spend my daily sugar allowance.
Claire @ Claire K Creations says
Maureen they’re perfect! He sure doesn’t look 92. I am convinced that keeping your mind active is the way to live to a ripe old age. If my grandma would learn to use a computer she’s be unstoppable but she still knows everything about everything all the time!
ps need socks… you’re too cute!
We’re really blessed that he’s still with it at that age. He was outside working the herb pots. Today was the rosemary. I think we’re up to cleaning the patio tiles now. (hopefully) No sense cleaning them while he’s plopping potting mix everywhere. He’s not the neatest gardener but he’s passionate!
Laura (Tutti Dolci) says
Beautiful macarons, I love the chocolate ganache!
Anne ~ Uni Homemaker says
Smashed or not, I would love to wander around Paris. 😀 Thank you for sharing your story about your father-in-law. I really enjoyed reading it, especially about the part with his hair and speaking French. 😉 Your macarons look delicious. And yay to huge macarons! I would have been all over it.
LOL I walked downstairs earlier this afternoon and he was reading this post. I stood behind him and he didn’t know I was there and I listened to him giggle like a 10 year old. 🙂
David Crichton says
You make them look so easy!
Honestly, David, these WERE easy 🙂
Krissie (Pearls of Style) says
Wow Maureen these look fantastic! Something else I’ve been wanting to try to make myself. I’ll certainly be giving these a go too! Thanks for the recipe.
Krissie Pearls of Style
Krissie, I almost expected these to be footless because of my prior experiences but these turned out perfectly.
InTolerant Chef says
What a great way to re-live old memories by munching your way down memory Lane! Lovely perfect macarons indeed!
Munching down memory lane – I love it!
It’s amazing that your father in law is 92 and still full of so much wonder and amazing thoughts!
We are truly blessed. His body isn’t too flash but thankfully his mind is. I’d much rather have that than the opposite!
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
My goodness Maureen – these look better than most of the macarons I see in shops! What a fantastic effort. Nice hearing about your father in law too :0
wow, Kari, that’s a wonderful comment! Thanks 🙂
Aww… your father-in-law reminds me of my Dad… he’s so sweet. 🙂 Nice to hear that he’s still enjoying eating a lot. I always say food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. 🙂
These macrons look beautiful!
Iron Chef Shellie says
Easy + Macarons don’t go in the same sentence girlfriend hahaha!
They look totally amazing, will try this recipe next time I want to make them 🙂
Seriously.. all done in under an hour.
Jill @ Mad About Macarons says
Rob looks adorable! And your macarons. What a sweet post, Maureen. Couldn’t help giggling about speaking french after eating macarons. I wish I’d tried that first before doing it through wine! Lovely shot of him at the computer, nibbling and obviously enjoying.
He loved those macarons. It was funny – I gave him one the first day and then the next day he was convinced it was a new batch because they were different. I tried explaining and then said, “Yeah, it’s a new batch.” 🙂
I love the picture of your fil more than I like the pictures of the cookies. It is a study in intelligence, wisdom, and inner strength. It is a picture of humanity, of a life well lived, and a keen enjoyment of the senses. It is a hymn to the diginity of humankind. I would love to sit down with him to hear all of the stories he could tell and lto earn from a master.
The cookies look good too, yet they pale in contrast to the beauty of a life well lived.
You are 100% right. He knows he’s old but has no intention of quitting. We bought him a wheelie walker thing the other day and he said he didn’t want it because only old people had those – at 92! Before I could blink an eye, he took it and off he went. He is ten times faster than walking with his stick. He loves me now.
Lisa the Gourmet Wog says
I’d love to sit down for a cup of tea and one of these macarons with you and your Father in Law, he looks like such a gentle soul. He must have so many wonderfully funny stories about Paris in the 70’s!
Hotly Spiced says
I will definitely have to try your recipe because I’m an absolute failure when it comes to macarons. Your FIL sounds like such a brilliant and intelligent ‘young’ man. How wonderful to be so together and enjoying life (and food) at his age. I can only hope to be functioning so well. xx
He’s really smart but he’s not pushy about it. He’s really quick to explain anything though. To see him with children is amazing. He’s totally approachable by anyone and is happy to have a chat with anyone.
Eva Taylor says
You and John are so fortunate that your FIL is still in such good shape mentally; my FIL sleeps 20 hours a day and can barely hold a conversation and he is only 89! It’s not from any illness, he just doesn’t do anything physical and he was never much of a reader either. It makes such a difference.
Your macarons look amazing Maureen, they are perfect in fact! When I read easy in the title, I thought you were kidding — I still haven’t attempted make them but one of these days I surely will and when I do, I’ll be ALL OVER you for advice.
We ARE lucky and I think if he required a lot more work we couldn’t do it. We work long hours so we take turns chatting with him during the day.
Mary Frances says
I have failed miserably at these before. Yours look beautiful. I must try your recipe, but if the egg whites are that stiff, isn’t hard to fold the other stuff in?
No, because the whole idea is to deflate the egg whites. I know it sounds stupid to put all that air in and then bash it out again but that’s how it works. You’ll still have air but you bash with a spatula just until the mixture falls off the spatula in a ribbon. I promise it works. 🙂
Kitchen Belleicious says
easy? Did you say easy? I am in! I never met a macaron I haven’t just loved and yours look divine!
Claire @ Simply Sweet Justice says
This post makes me very happy! You are my Macaron Heroine. 😉
I’m glad I’m someone’s heroine 🙂
My brother and I attempted to make macarons TWICE using the Adriano Zumbo packet mix from the supermarket – both times, we failed (no feet). I am going to give this recipe a go in a few weekends time and let you know how I go. Thanks for sharing, Maureen!
Libby, I failed too and I was really hacked off after spending the money to buy the box. I thought it was a dumb idea to buy it but I thought, “This will be quicker” and it was, straight to the rubbish.
Bam's Kitchen says
Bonjour! See I am speaking French already just looking at your macarons. Your father in law sounds like a sweet heart and I am certain he loved your macarons and went back for seconds and thirds… I have made macarons here in HK but your recipe sounds so much easier mine was a little more complicated.
Gorgeous macarons, and what a darling your father-in-law is. I love hearing stories from my grandparents about their crazy lives and all the things they used to get up to when they were young, stories that are too often missed or go untold. Gorgeous post 🙂
He’s a sweetie and at 92 he can’t last a whole lot longer. I’m listening to all the stories. 🙂
Ashley Ng says
Reading about your father in law has brought back some fond memories of Brad’s grandpa, who passed away earlier this year, he always had an interesting story to tell! Lovely looking macarons too! 🙂
Thanks.. I hope we listen to as many stories as we can.
Maureen, there is nothing simple about macaroons, as far as I am concerned, and the great writing that comes to you with such simplicity is a complex puzzle for others. Love this post and may the macaron gods help me baking them, if I ever attempt them again, next time. 🙂
I have never attempted to make macaroons…they scare me, but I love to eat them! You’ve inspired me ; )
Me too, Sheila, but these weren’t difficult 🙂
Did you say easy? I need an easy mac recipe! Your macarons look delicious, and freaking delicious! Hugs, Terra
Charles Smith says
That does sound easy Maureen – are these macarons as sensitive to humidity as other recipes? If so perhaps I’ll refrain from making some for the moment… it’s very humid here right now, but you can bet I’ll be tackling them in the autumn!
I would imagine that they would be – it’s egg whites after all 🙂
Beautiful macarons and equally beautiful sentiment.
Thanks, Peggy, I’m a lucky woman. You should have seen him downing homemade chocolate ice cream tonight. “Would there bit a biscuit to go with this, Maureen?” He’s gained 5 pounds since he’s been here!
Rachel Cotterill says
Maureen, that’s such a wonderful story. He sounds like a wonderful guy, and it must be great to hear all his stories. I love that he still writes to all his friends, too! Beautiful post, thank you for sharing 🙂
Helene D'souza says
Aww so sweet of you that you made paris macarons for your father in law. They are cute and chocolate ganache would make my day Maureen =)
Nami | Just One Cookbook says
I really want to try making macarons this year or hopefully in maybe two years! When I saw your title “Easy” Macarons, I got excited! I know practicing is necessary but you give me hope! 🙂 Your father in law must have been so happy eating your delicious macarons!
Sarah Greene says
Wow, your macaroons look absolutely amazing! Unfortunately I can say that after a couple of times that I tried to make macaroons myself, they were an absolute disaster ):
Well, hope that with your instructions I will succeed better, thanks for sharing!