Macarons are sometimes confused with Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, at least too news-deprived Americans. In fact, macarons are splendid sweeties, a mix of egg white meringue shells that are baked and filled with ganache, butter cream or fruit jam. There are two techniques, one French and the other Italian. The French use raw sugar and whip it into a meringue by mixing with with egg whites. Italians make a syrup with sugar, then whip up egg whites, drizzling in the liquid until it solidifies into a meringue.
Both methods are anchored in a nut-and-sugar based flour. French bakers sometimes add another flourish known as the "macaronage." This describes an approach where the baker beats the flour mix into the meringue against the bowl, deflating the egg whites and leading to a shiny, smooth consistency. At one of my early kitchen jobs I worked alongside a pastry chef. His expertise in baking macarons fascinated me, especially in macaronage.
I used time during the lockdown last year to return to early kitchen memories. This led me to multiple attempts at macarons. Recently I put my hand to them again. My goal in these past few years especially during the pandemic is to revisit and strengthen my skills, and try the things I didn't do before or excel in and of course get to taste macarons.