Monday, March 25, 2013

Review of Macarons Math, Science, and Art


Today I have the pleasure of introducing my client PaulaQ’s book, Macarons Math, Science, and Art. This is one of the most fantastic and comprehensive cookbooks I’ve ever come across. The subject? Your basic macaron (not to be confused with coconut macaroons). The challenge? Create a visually and delectably perfect macaron.

These finicky treats are intensely difficult to perfect, and nearly impossible to replicate. Despite these obstacles, PaulaQ deftly takes up the challenge of creating the perfect macaron, using science and mathematics to maneuver readers through the often tricky instructions. By discussing the science behind the tools (e.g., how heat is distributed in convection versus electric ovens) and the steps (e.g., aging eggs removes moisture and less moisture equals more stable macaron cookies) Paula ensures that every reader will understand and be able to implement her instructions, regardless of how different our kitchens may be.

The truly impressive feat that PaulaQ accomplishes is describing the math and science behind the cookies in a way that aids—rather than alienates—readers. Her directions are so thoroughly explained that virtually anyone anywhere can both replicate the process and adjust different variables, depending on their kitchen. This is a must-read for anyone up for a great culinary challenge, and it’s definitely going to be a future gift for some of my family members!

Backflap

Macarons Math, Science, and Art, provides you with an unusual, though scientifically sound combination of ingredients and techniques to create the perfect macaron—ruffled feet, smooth tops, and completely filled macaron discs.

French macarons are more than just delicious, two-bite bundles of nutty meringue cookies. They are blank canvases for both the novice and the expert. But their beauty can be deceiving, as biting into one may leave you in a state of pure bliss, or complete disappointment.

The problem many have with macaron cookies is not their physical appearance, but whether or not they are filled with chewy, soft meringue. Hollow macarons are tough to beat, until now. Understanding the basic science behind the macaron ingredients and their environment is the key to making macarons that are filled to the top with baked “dough” using French or basic meringue.

This must-have book pulls out all the stops in developing a stable and low-moisture macaron batter by incorporating uncommon practices such as the use of tapioca starch, whipping the meringue for 16 minutes, a baking stone, nested baking pans, a cracked-open oven door, and even a small fan.

The first half of the book reviews the science and math behind oven heat, techniques, tools, ingredients, and the environment necessary to get you off to the best start in making macarons. The subheadings include Paula’s “Results and Recommendations” in which she shares the data collected from her nearly 20 trials to achieve the perfect macaron. The last half of the book finishes with the artsy side of making macarons like painting with melted chocolate and with white Crisco. Of course, the book has a handful of recipes including Paula’s recipe for perfect macaron cookies.

Macarons Math, Science, and Art, gives you not only the ultimate recipe for macaron cookies, but it also shows you how to manipulate your resources and environment to ensure the best success in testing or creating a new recipe.

About the Author

Paula Quinene was born and raised on Guam. She graduated from the University of Oregon in 1997 with an exercise science degree, hoping to return to the island as a teacher. A resident of North Carolina for over 12 years, Paula's homesickness or "mahalangness" have resulted in her Guam cookbooks, A Taste of Guam and Remember Guam. She is an exercise scientist and a pastry-chef-at-heart, thus Macarons Math, Science, and Art, was a pure pleasure to write. Paula is working on a World War II historical romance novel based on Guam, delving into the lives of locals as well as the men in the U.S. Army, Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard. Paula writes monthly articles on health, fitness, and food, for Demand Media. Articles appear on Livestrong, AZ Central, and The Nest Woman. Her home on the web is www.paulaq.com.

In Closing
Like you just read, in addition to being a macaron guru, Paula has two other great cookbooks, A Taste of Guam and Remember Guam! On her website she also has a slew of mouth-watering recipes. Be sure to check them out here!

Lastly, if you get a chance, you must take a peek at her YouTube channel, Paula Q – The Girl From Guam. I promise you’ll be hypnotized by her delicious confections and easy-to-replicate instructions. My favorite: strawberry jalapeno jam!

Happy writing,

Laura Carlson, Editor
American Editing Services
415.745.1764

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