5/11/2012

Raspberry Chocolate French Macarons

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Ah...French Macarons (not to be confused with macaroons).  I fell in love with these delicate pastries years ago when my husband and I vacationed in... not France, but Seattle of all places.  There is a wonderful French bakery in Pike's Place Market called Le Panier.  I was lured in by the aroma of fresh baked bread, but once I entered, I naturally made a bee line for the pastry case.  There they were, all lined up like little soldiers.  Since I couldn't decide on which flavor to indulge in, I chose one of each.  What was the first bite like?  Hmmm-- bliss, love, and all was good in the world.  The outside was crunchy, the inside a gooey marshmallow heaven.  It was from that moment that I was bitten by the macaron bug.

Many people seem to get overwhelmed while making or even considering making these pastries.  I can understand why.  I have had a few trials and errors.  They are a bit fussy, mainly due to measuring and humidity.  And unless you are baking in a controlled environment, do not even attempt making these on a hot and humid day.  The batter is a meringue and meringues don't like moisture.  I think the most important information I can give you about making your own macarons is that it takes patience and practice.  

There seems to be hundreds of different recipes for macarons, but I have honed in on the one that works for me and my kitchen and I hope it works for you.  I have included some step-by-steps to help you and I will discuss some pointers to help you along the way.  I will start by saying that a kitchen scale is key.  You need to weigh your ingredients.  


I use extra-large eggs (as I do in all my cooking) in my macarons and they usually weigh in at 99 grams, but as you can see in this picture, a chicken cut me short, but that little bit didn't make a difference in the end result.  I also age the egg whites in the refrigerator to draw out a bit of moisture.


Up next-- 200 grams of confectioners' sugar. Then-- 


110 grams of almonds.  They can be blanched, sliced, slivered, or ground.  You also need 35 grams of granulated sugar, but I forgot to take a picture of that alone on the scale.  ☺.


Blend the almonds and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of a food processor until finely ground.  This will take a few minutes.  Use your fingers to make sure there are no big lumps.  If you use finely ground almonds and confectioners' sugar, a food processor is not necessary, but you do need to make sure they are thoroughly blended.  (Note--if you are using powdered food coloring, add it at this time)


Using a stand mixer or a hand-held whisk, beat the egg whites on medium until foamy.  With the motor running, gradually add the granulated sugar a little at a time.  


Then continue to beat until fluffy white peaks form.  You do not want dry, over beaten whites.  (Note--if you are using gel food coloring, add it at this time)


Now comes the scary part.  Add the ground almond mixture all at once to the egg whites.  Using a rubber spatula, fold the almond mixture into the whites.  At first, you will think-- "there is no way this is going to work", but keep on going.  The mixture will become thick and sticky and the whites will deflate.  This will take about 1 minute or about 50 strokes.


You want the mixture to fall off the spatula in a molten mass, but not be runny like soup.


Fill a pastry bag fitted with a wide, round tip ( I use Ateco #808) with the meringue batter.  I place mine in a wide mouth jar or glass with the tip pointing up to keep the batter from oozing out.


Pipe circles about 1 1/2 inches wide (I count to three when I pipe each cookie) onto a silicone mat or...


silcone coated parchment paper that is unbleached and chlorine free.  Using regular parchment paper will warp the bottom of your cookies.  Once piped, give the cookie sheet a good smack on the counter top to release any large air bubbles.


This next step is critical for the purpose of giving your macaron a smooth, shiny top and those signature feet on the bottom.  Let the macarons age for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.  They should not be sticky or tacky.  

When it comes to oven temperature, this is where it might take practice if you don't know your oven.  Some ovens are hotter than others and will brown them before they have dried out.  I have good results when my oven is preheated to 295° F, but a range from 280° F - 300° can be used.  I bake them for 16 minutes and they come out...


with pretty little footsies!  Now let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets.  Don't even try to pick one up.  Go out, run an errand, or read a magazine from front to back, just don't touch the cookies!


Once cooled, they release easily from the sheets.  This is the bottom of one from the silicone mat (my personal preference) and


this is the bottom of one from the parchment.  See? Still good.


Macarons come in all flavors and are filled with an assortment of fillings. I am sharing a raspberry chocolate ganache today.  Flip the macarons over and match them up with a similarly sized partner.


Spoon the filling onto the bottom of half the cookies or fill a pastry bag. 


 I fit my pastry bag with the Ateco #808 tip and pipe kisses of filling onto the bottom of half the macarons.


Sandwich the halves together and give a very gentle press to even out the filling.  The cookies can be eaten now, but personally, I think they are better once the filling has softened the bottom of the cookie halves.  They can also be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or even in the freezer (make-ahead!) for up to a month.  Just let them come to room temperature before serving.


Et Voilà!  Go ahead and pat yourself on the back.  You saved yourself a trip to France...or Seattle☺.

Now here comes the fun part for me (and one of you).  I couldn't post this recipe without giving away a vital component for macaron making to a lucky reader or follower.  I am giving away an OXO Good Grips kitchen scale.  This scale comes highly recommended by the testers at Cook's Illustrated.  I could not agree more.  I use it and I love it. 
Oxo Good Grips Food Scale
Photo from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.com 


It has an 11-pound capacity. It features a zero-out function allowing you to measure multiple ingredients in the same bowl.  It has an optional back light for those of you who bake in the dark☺, and it has a pull out display when you are measuring large, bulky items.  

So, for a chance to win this super-duper piece of kitchen equipment, here are the rules----  Leave a comment with your name (anonymous comments will not be considered as part of the giveaway) on this post telling me what you would make first with your new kitchen scale.  If you already have one, go ahead and enter anyway, then share it with a friend or loved one who enjoys creating yumminess in their kitchen.  For a second chance to win, like or follow The Galley Gourmet on Facebook then come back here and leave me another comment telling me that you do or did.  A winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator.  This giveaway, sponsored by me, begins on Friday, May 11 and will be open until Tuesday, May 15 (open to U.S. and Canadian residents only).  The winner will be announced next Thursday, May 17 and asked to contact me via e-mail so I can send the lucky winner their prize.

*This giveaway is now closed*

One last thing-- if you are a regular reader, you know that I share our Sunday dinner menus.  Being that it is Mother's Day this Sunday, I am going to take the day off from blogging and be with my family, but we will still be having a delicious Sunday dinner☺.
Printable Recipe

Raspberry Chocolate French Macarons
makes 2 dozen cookies

For the Meringue
200 grams confectioners' sugar
110 grams almonds, blanched, sliced, slivered or ground
3 extra large egg whites (90-100 grams total), left uncovered in the refrigerator for  up to three days
Pinch of kosher salt
35 grams of granulated sugar
Pink food coloring, powdered or gel

For the Filling
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon raspberry extract

Line two large baking sheets with a silicone mat or silicone coated parchment paper; set aside

In the bowl of a food processor, process the almonds and confectioners' sugar together until finely ground, about 2-3 minutes.  If using powdered food coloring, add it at this time; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the whites and salt on medium speed until foamy.  With the motor running, gradually add the granulated sugar, then increase speed to high and continue to beat until the whites hold soft, glossy peaks.  If using gel food coloring, fold it in at this time.  Using a runner spatula, fold in the almond mixture until it is thick and sticky.  When it is ready, the batter should drop from the spatula in a smooth molten mass. This will take about 1 minute or 50 strokes.

Spoon the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (Ateco #808), pressing out excess air.  Twist the bag firmly just above the batter, then pipe 1 1/2-inch diameter rounds onto the prepared sheets, about 24 per sheet.  Tap the bottom of the baking sheets sharply, once, on the work surface to release any large air bubbles. Let the cookies stand, uncovered, at room temperature until the tops are no longer sticky and a light crust has formed, at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.

Meanwhile, place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 295° F.

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the tops are crisp and the bottoms dry, about 16 minutes.  Cool completely on racks.

For the Filling
Add the chocolate and butter to a medium bowl.  In a small saucepan, heat the cream just until it comes to a simmer.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow to rest for five minutes.  Stir the chocolate until the mixture is smooth.  Stir in the raspberry extract.  Let stand at room temperature until cooled completely and thickened. 

To Assemble Cookies
Carefully flip the cookies over on the baking sheets (they will be fragile) and partner them up in size.  Fill a pastry bag fitted with a round tip with the ganache and pipe or spoon kisses of ganache onto half of the cookie bottoms.  Sandwich the cookie halves together.  Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to one month. Allow the cookies to come to room temperature before serving.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Epicurious.com, Macarons by Annie Rig, and Tartlette

81 comments:

  1. i would make pizza dough for calzones

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  2. I've always been curious about macarons, so they would be my first recipe I would tackle using the scale!

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  3. CarolineMay 11, 2012

    I'd make yeast bread, something I've always wanted to attempt. And then, perhaps, the macarons. They look delicious!

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  4. I would make no knead bread the way they say to make it - weighing the ingredients.

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  5. I would make macarons, I´m dying to try them out

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  6. Even though I already "like" the Galley Gourmet on FB I wish there was a "love" button too!

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  7. These are so beautiful...and p-e-r-f-e-c-t! I have been so frightened to try these but you inspire me. As a matter of fact, that's exactly what I'd make to break in that new scale!

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  8. Heather ArnoldMay 11, 2012

    I have been dying for the perfect croissant!!! I would try my hand at that for sure!

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  9. Nicole, these French macarons you made are absolutely perfect! Thanks for sharing so many details and step by step photos to achieve just the right macaron. I've tried it once (and failed) but may just give it a go again!

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  10. I would love to try your recipe for the macarons...they look delicious!

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  11. Macaroons intimidate me....maybe I'd try them if I had this scale.

    psrrn@aol.com
    Pat R

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  12. I have a scale, but it's definitely on its very last legs...with a new scale, the first thing I'd make is pizza dough!

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  13. I "liked" your site on Facebook!

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  14. angelitacarmelita@verizon.netMay 11, 2012

    omg, kitchen scale has been on my wish list 4-eva! and also, making macarons, which I have been way to scardy-cat to make, especially without a scale. So macarons it would be!

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  15. I think I would first try bread. I have a great recipe someone gave me but all the measurements are measured. So, perfect. Thanks for the chance to win.
    Mary Keeler

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  16. I would have to make some homemade cinnamon rolls!

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  17. I will definitely try to make these delicious looking lil' buggers first!

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  18. I would make macarons! I have a little manual scale, but it would be so great to have a fancy digital one. Fantastic!

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  19. I would make... scones. I love scones, and I've made them from about a hundred different recipes, but there are a few that I have saved on my computer that are measured out in grams. Since I'm always in search of the perfect scone, that would be my first endeavour with a scale.

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  20. I think I would make your macarons. I'm not much of a baker, but this recipe makes me want to become one. =)

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  21. I'd make your tortillas since we eat Mexican food about 3 times a week!!

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  22. Gorgeous macarons! I've actually never even tasted one, but I think they'd be one of the first things I would try with a new kitchen scale. They're so pretty!

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  23. Melody Capehart MedinaMay 11, 2012

    I would make a new kind of bread. I have wanted to try weighing instead of measuring. I love getting your recipes in my mailbox.

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  24. I would make these Macarons with the new scale. I have been avoiding them to long. These look awesome!

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  25. I also like you on Facebook.

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  26. I would actually love to try this macaron recipe - they look so tasty!

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  27. AnonymousMay 11, 2012

    I just returned from a trip to Paris & the macarons at Pierre Herme were a highlite of my trip..hee hee! Your look gorgeous too! Wish I had the nerve (and time) to try these!

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  28. Karen ThompsonMay 11, 2012

    I've never used a scale before in baking and cooking. I know it is regarded as bumping your outcomes up several notches and providing consistency that only measuring can not. I love your generous site -- the baked cheese blintzes with blueberry sauce were wonderful and disappeared, into me, all day yesterday.I would make your recipe for Raspberry Chocolate French Macarons.

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  29. AnonymousMay 11, 2012

    These look sooooooooooo good. I have never made macarons before. I am thinking of making these for my kids this weekend, I think they will love them (I will probably love them too.)

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  30. AnonymousMay 11, 2012

    I would really love this because I would make this recipe. I have always wanted to make French Macaroons. Thanks for the chance to enter.

    Andrea D.
    short74717@msn.com

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  31. I would love to make these macaroons. They look so good. I love the step by step instructions with the pictures it doesn't look as hard when you break down the steps like that.

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  32. Well, I would certainly have to give macarons a whirl!

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  33. Sadly, I have never had macarons but would love to try my hand at making them! Kitchen scales are really helpful. I have used them at a prior jobk but do not currently have one.

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  34. I would make any recipe that uses grams instead of cups and ounces and tablespoons! I hate it when I find those recipes!

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  35. I like The Galley Gourmet on facebook!

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  36. I would make eclairs, I tried before without great results and think a scale would make a difference.
    karenreichmann@hotmail.com

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  37. I will make dinner rolls, I'd like to have even sizes of rolls using the scale. Thanks!

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  38. I would make dinner rolls.

    tmbeyer@verizon.net

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  39. I would love to try making macarons! I had my first one a couple weeks ago, and I am just as addicted :)

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  40. i would make cupcakes!

    postgradslump@gmail.com

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  41. I just liked your page on FB...sorry...I thought I had "liked" it long ago! Love your blog, recipes, and photography!

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  42. The first thing I would do is make these macarons! They're not easy to make at all!

    catharine [dot] ellie [at] gmail [dot] com

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  43. i've tried making macarons before and they didnt come out well, i'd like to try my hand again at them.

    Yours are stunning

    jamielee213@gmail.com

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  44. i would try to make these macarons

    - Steven

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  45. i would try to make these macarons!

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  46. I'd like to give a hand at pasta. Ravioli's the size of romance novel, filled with all kinds of savoury goodness. a drizzle of some really good olive oil and some herbs. Right now a Frascati might be the elixir of choice to accompany such delight!

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  47. I have an old cheap rotary scale that is broken but I continue to use it and use it I do, I leave it on the counter because it seems to get use every single meal. One of these would be fantastic.

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  48. These are incredibly beautiful! You've inspired me, Nicole to give them a try!

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  49. Your macarons are beautiful and look divine. The first thing I would bake using the scale would be your macarons!

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  50. I would definitely try these yummy macarons and a millions other flavors I've wanted to try. I could finally make all the recipes in my bread books that I haven't made because I don't own a scale and stop mixing up measurement conversions. I might even start keeping track of what I put into my own trial recipes.

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  51. I would use it to make these macarons

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  52. I'd like to be brave and try macarons but I'd probably just make bread.

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  53. I love making macarons! Could definitely use this for that.

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  54. I have a cheesy plastic scale... so this would be a vast improvement to my kitchen collection.

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  55. i would make vegan cupcakes

    katherinedibello (at) gmail (dot) com

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  56. Hannah KMay 13, 2012

    I would love to make macaroons, but I especially would love to make cakes. Love your blog!
    Hannahkern (at )AOL (dot )com

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  57. Hannah KMay 13, 2012

    I have also liked your Facebook page!

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  58. Jessica Mumford:

    I would make these macarons--I have never made them OR eaten them before.

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  59. I liked your Facebook page!

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  60. I'd definitely experiment with macarons!

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  61. I would make bread dough based on percentages first. I would love to start baking using weights instead of volume, since humidity and sight differences in flour and other ingredients can make such a difference in finished baked goods. Macarons would probably be next on my list :-)

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  62. Jennifer J.May 13, 2012

    I will be making the macarons with that scale. This is a great recipe. Thank you!

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  63. I would probably break it in by baking bread!

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  64. I also liked your FB page.

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  65. Your macarons are drool-worthy! Macarons have been on my "baking bucket list" for a while now... I don't have a scale, but if I did, I would make this recipe first!

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  66. Hi, I just started reading you blog but love it. I've already bookmarked it.

    I'm just starting to get really serious about baking so I would love to have a scale for perfecting my stout chocolate cake.

    Thanks!

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  67. Xin YuenMay 14, 2012

    I also liked your facebook page!

    I am just starting to get into "real" cooking and I also started working at a local farmer's market. I cart home armfuls of fresh produce every week and I would use a scale to make a tart crust. Both my kitchen equipment and my funds are extremely limited, so any new gadgets to help me claw my way out of Trader Joe's 98¢ Mac and Cheese purgatory would be great!

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  68. Beautiful macarons and would love to tackle these in the very near future. The scale would be a “must" for these types of recipes.

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  69. I have a couple of cake recipes I would like to try!

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  70. A couple of cakes that require weighing the ingredients!

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  71. I would make these macarons and then a recipe I cut out years ago for violet cupcakes that has only gram measurements. I use many Oxo utensils and love the brand, so I'm sure this scale is just as wonderful!

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  72. I would make these macarons first thing and then look up a recipe I found years ago for violet cupcakes with only weight measurements. I love Oxo products and prefer to buy products from companies I like, so I'm even more eager to try out this scale!

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  73. Pretty sure the first thing I would make with that scale would be the delicious raspberry chocolate macaroons! I love love macaroons and anything pink ;)

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  74. I would definitely make the MACARONS - yours are gorgeous and I wouldn't change a thing. I found another site that has variations like "Lemon Meringue Pie Macarons" and "Red Berry Macarons" (with currents and raspberries). These recipes all call for a SCALE so I'll be needing the OXO one to begin my ventures into Macaronia ... ;-)

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  75. There were a few "The Galley Gourmet" sites on Facebook, so I carefully screened them to be sure it was you. I LIKED YOU ON FACEBOOK by using this link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Galley-Gourmet/224428560945598

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  76. I've wanted one of these for a very long time! I've also wanted to try to make macaroons too, so I'll try those first!

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  77. I also like you on fb.

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  78. I just found your blog by way of Pinterest and I'm so glad I did! It's hard to decide what to make first but I was drawn here by the Strawberry Layer Cake and so that is probably what I will make first. My son is home from college and he LOVES all things strawberry! Hope I win the scale, but if not, it's off to search the pantry!

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  79. Croissants would be first on the list, but when I find myself wishing for a scale in the kitchen it's often because I want to weigh greens. I frequently try to estimate 1/2 pound of collards or kale, with radically different results which can lead to more variation than I like in my saag paneer. Weighing grated chocolate would be helpful too. Man, why haven't I bought one of these things yet?

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  80. These are STUNNING! Your step by step is priceless and the pictures are just beautiful. If ever I get round to beating my fear of making macarons this post will prove invaluable :)

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  81. I have never used a scale but this recipe looks like it requires one!

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