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Black Tie Macarons And A Calendar Girl

Black Tie Macarons

These are not the Frenchie version of Oreos but rather Black Tie Macarons that I made for a party, not that I don’t like love Oreos mind you! You see, I don’t usually mingle with B’s music jobs unless they are at a restaurant or some gig for the city. They are jobs, fun and full of passion for music but they are jobs nonetheless. It’s not "Take your spouse to work" kind of day. He’s focused, he’s playing, he needs to mingle and talk to the guests. Then once in a while they are the jobs that I find myself completely intertwined with. It can be a client of mine marrying her daughter and having his band play, a restaurant we both love is having the band that night, etc… And then there are the jobs where I am supplying desserts or favors and his band is playing that night. Usually we are pretty good at keeping track of our schedules and I know where and when he plays and he can keep track of where I am by following the crumbs I leave behind me (not that far from the truth, really)! There are weeks however where we would not even see a giant pink neon post-it with our "where to be/what to wear" list even if it stared us in the face. It seems that the week before I headed to Lisa, I did not register as well a lot of info thrown at me and B. remembered two music jobs at the last minute, rushing in the house in shorts and tee shirt and running out in black pants, crisp white shirt in less than 2 minutes.

When you play music at the same restaurant for 20 something years, locals get to know you and you get to know them. When your spouse ends up working in the kitchen there, you widen the circle. Patrons start asking if you play for private parties and if your spouse can make a dessert table for said events and then you need more giant neon post-its…! Well last week we did not realize that we were working the same party and that our schedules were going to cross path. A dear to us couple was celebrating their 50th anniversary in an all out "Black Tie Affair" and while B. had the responsibility to toot his horn (literally), I had been asked to make macarons inspired by the event. Hmmm…It took me 2 seconds to decide I was going to make "Black Tie Macarons" filled with Swiss meringue buttercream.

Black Tie Macarons

Although I had seen black macarons before I had always thought that there was no way a tablespoon or two of powdered food coloring would be enough to make them deep dark. When I tried the experiment last year, they indeed turned out grey. After calling a couple of friends back home, I came to realize that the strength of the color was different from one country to the next. Different reasons later, I still had not tried them with another brand. The small bakery supply store where Lisa took Kelly and me to get the wedding cake pans had lots of stuff I would have loved to play with but my mission was to find the proper cake pans for the wedding cake. I was right on track until my eye caught a glimpse of their food coloring shelf…and there it was: one single bottle of black powdered food coloring. I looked at the label: one little goofy chef holding a whisk and the words "made in France". No brand. In a split second, it felt like the bottle was burning a hole in my hand, "my precious"….Then again, once back here after the wedding, life took over and I put the black macs aside until this couple called with their order. I am glad they trusted me with the idea and I was so pleased of how they turned out…but "my precious" is now empty again.

So yes, it was a good experiment, one I am willing to reproduce by working with the food colors I find here but I tend to like macarons on the natural to light color side and unless I am specifically asked for an unusual color, I don’t think I would have done "bright blue" or deep black ( I did add some pearl dust and sesame seeds for the optical effect at the party). The color had almost purple hues at times and the guests loved them but let’s face it…good thing it was dark and they did not show one another their tongues. It is a little too early in the season to be "eating coal"..eheheh!

Black Tie Macarons

Black Tie Macarons:

For the shells:
90 gr egg whites (about 3)
30 gr granulated sugar
200 gr powdered sugar
110 gr almonds
black powdered food coloring (the end color will depend on how much you use)

For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature in a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry. Combine the almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 280F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 20-22 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don’t let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer. To fill: pipe or spoon about 1 big tablespoon in the center of one shell and top with another one.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Put the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the meringue on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick shiny meringue, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. Add the vanilla and whip for another 10 seconds to incorporate it.

Tartelette Calendar - Customized calendar

Tartelette is now a calendar girl…!! Hmm, not in a red polka dot bikini but in the form of some favorite pictures of the past year. It all started when my mother asked me to make one so she could buy it for family and friends as stocking stuffers, then my aunt mentionned it to me again as in "your mom asked me to remind you to make that calendar this year"…and then I happily received email requests, so here it is! I hope you like it. The year has surely been a full and fast one!
You can purchase one by following this link, Tartelette Calendar on Zazzle or by clicking on the calendar icon on the sidebar.

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Kitt November 20, 2008 um 7:24 am

Wow! Those are so elegant. Brava.

Rosa's Yummy Yums November 20, 2008 um 7:56 am

Nice macarons! Very pretty and so classy!



Anonymous November 20, 2008 um 8:05 am

Ordinarily very very nice macarons!!!!
I m wait for this Dark Chocolate Crinkles…

Mercotte November 20, 2008 um 8:16 am

Hihi nous avons pensé aussi à faire un calendrier macarons !!
trop ,top le tien !! bravo aussi pour les superbes macarons noirs et tant pis si pendant quelques minutes nos dents sont colorées !!!!!!!

Anonymous November 20, 2008 um 9:40 am

How lovely and elegant! They do look like little Oreos though. I heard the trick to get frosting or anything else colored black is to use it in a chocolate recipe.

Serena@TentarNonNuoce November 20, 2008 um 10:12 am

oh god! they’re so beautiful and perfect!

Y November 20, 2008 um 10:37 am

Heh. I love the end result. Reminds me of what it’s like when someone eats squid ink risotto! Surely one of the most ungainly of dishes (but oh so delicious).

Rachel@fairycakeheaven November 20, 2008 um 10:39 am

ooooooo gorgeous macarons that do actually look like coal!! Really striking! Congrats on the calendar aswell, very impressive!

Aimée November 20, 2008 um 11:23 am

All I want for Christmas is… your calender! Lovely idea. I’m off to go buy one.

Just added you as a friend on Facebook…see you around!

Culinary Wannabe November 20, 2008 um 11:56 am

I’m sure these were a total hit at the party! It’s funny that you mention the tongue dying thing, as my first reaction was that everyone’s teeth were going to be black and they would have been great for Halloween!

jesse November 20, 2008 um 12:24 pm

Whoa… those might just be the most dashing macarons I’ve ever come across. They need to put those somewhere in the next Bond movie… XD

LizNoVeggieGirl November 20, 2008 um 12:41 pm

Black Tie macaroons?? Phenomenal. Oreos have NOTHING on those!! 😀

Manggy November 20, 2008 um 12:55 pm

Ooh, calendar! Tres jolie 😉
I am totally LOLing at the prospect of someone in the party suddenly flicking the lights on and the horrific oral cavities of all being revealed 😛 (<– any way to make my "P" black?) Maybe if you start with something already dark, like macarons made with cocoa paste or something, that will significantly decrease the amount of black food coloring needed to make it really black 🙂 But they are really dramatically beautiful– I'd rather have these than oreos! (Which will also make my teeth dirty, by the way…)

Chocolate Shavings November 20, 2008 um 1:18 pm

Those look delicious – and like the perfect elegant dessert! I wouldn’t mind getting having a tinted tongue if I could eat a couple of those macarons!

Bridget November 20, 2008 um 1:40 pm

How funny that you and your husband were scheduled to "work" the same event and didn't realize it! 🙂

Love the black & white and I can't wait to check out that calendar!!!

Anonymous November 20, 2008 um 1:57 pm

I adore the macarons of course! Splendid, which is always the case with your creations. Can’t wait to see the calendar.

tara November 20, 2008 um 2:12 pm

Maybe it is the snow falling outside my window, but I’m in such a holiday mood today … as soon as I saw these beauties I thought they’d be perfect for a chic New Year’s Eve party. So glasses of bubbly, delicate little hors d’oeuvres, and these little darlings. Perfect.

Rachael Hutchings November 20, 2008 um 2:29 pm

These macarons are too fun! Love the calendar as well, especially since I’m a huge fan of your photography!

Mary November 20, 2008 um 2:57 pm

They are very classy looking. You are nudging me closer to trying to make macarons. I really like how versatile they seem to be. And I’m starting to get crazy curious about what they taste like.

Lis November 20, 2008 um 2:58 pm

BAHAHAHAHA! I was just reading along thinking how cool black macarons were and then I almost poofed my grape at the monitor when I read about everyone’s tongues. har!

Calendar is GORGEOUS!!


Maria November 20, 2008 um 3:49 pm

Oh my! These are the coolest cookies I have ever seen! My favorite colors are black and white..they were my wedding colors. I wish I could of had these at my wedding!

Parisbreakfasts November 20, 2008 um 5:20 pm

LOVE the calendar!!!!!

Miss Kate November 20, 2008 um 5:41 pm


I wish that "black tie" events involved more cookies and less pomp and fanfare. 😉


cindy* November 20, 2008 um 5:43 pm

the macarons are stunning.

and how cool! a calendar!

Anonymous November 20, 2008 um 5:47 pm

They look like Oreos in Tuxedos, lol.
Really beautiful.

Sweet Treats by Dani November 20, 2008 um 6:08 pm

these are the most elegant macarons i have ever seen! great work! 🙂

Cannelle Et Vanille November 20, 2008 um 6:21 pm

These are gorgeous Helen. Black tie for sure!

That Girl November 20, 2008 um 6:26 pm

So after seeing your macarons for forever and a year, I’m finally rolling up my sleeves and attempting them today – wish me luck!

Helene November 20, 2008 um 7:04 pm

Anonymous: for the chocolate crinkle , clikc on the link to Ms Adventures in Italy in the cookie post. She has the recipe on her blog.

Anonymous November 20, 2008 um 8:00 pm

These turned out beautifully! — and getting me closer to wanting to try my hand at your macarons…finally. I do happen to have some lovely "black" and white sprinkles from that very same shop! The calendar is cool. I love Zazzle and use them for special postage stamps. So fun!

Anonymous November 20, 2008 um 9:08 pm

what great idea…Those lookalikes Oreos are so appetizing!

Cakebrain November 20, 2008 um 9:18 pm

Ooooh! your black macarons remind me of my red macaron episode (I had the red tongue to prove it)! Did you have to put almost the whole little bottle in? The colour is so intense! I love it! Very classy–and if you can’t see your own tongue anyway, it really doesn’t matter, does it? The important thing is the taste! yum!

Anonymous November 20, 2008 um 9:40 pm

A calendar! What a great idea. Congratulations. : )

Philo aux fourneaux – Blog culinaire November 20, 2008 um 9:44 pm

Tes macarons ont une sacré élégance

Anonymous November 20, 2008 um 9:46 pm

oreo macarons …
I can’t read much further

Anonymous November 20, 2008 um 10:57 pm

So debonair, so dashing! Add a glass of Bollinger, and I could totally see James Bond eating these.

Miss Honey November 20, 2008 um 11:18 pm

Wow, they look fabulous, I’ve never seen black ones before:)

I’ve tagged you in my blog (after being tagged by another blogger), come and have a looksee when you have time, it was a fun post:)

Anonymous November 21, 2008 um 1:46 am

Helen, those- are awesome. and especially because they die tongues black! like giraffes!!

RecipeGirl November 21, 2008 um 2:20 am

What a perfect idea for a black tie event. They’re simply 'elegant!'

Mrs.French November 21, 2008 um 3:21 am

beautiful macarons and divine calander..congrats! xo t

Lizzie November 21, 2008 um 3:52 am

so sophisticated! black and white are such interesting and unused colors in baking…love it!

Kitchen M November 21, 2008 um 4:13 am

Congratulations! The Calender looks great!

Miniature Patisserie Chef November 21, 2008 um 4:45 am

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving me such kind comments! I love cakes, patisserie, pastries, and am always trying to capture the realism in 1:12 dollhouse miniature scale 🙂

I’ll be checking your blogs and bookmarking them! I’m sure I’ll be able to find some inspiration from your wonderful goodies!

Pei Li

Christy November 21, 2008 um 7:47 am

They look so refined and elegant!! I love how your husband can find you through the trail of crumbs you leave behind!! That’s the most appropriate and eloquent expression I have heard in so long about someone!!

Black colouring that’s so strong it makes macarons glisten like black onyx!! How wonderful!! And the white sesame adds a real swanky touch!

Family First November 21, 2008 um 8:31 am

Oreo look-alike macaroon?

Anonymous November 21, 2008 um 1:04 pm

Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!! Original and so elegant! As everything your create, of course.

carolina @ patagonia gifts November 21, 2008 um 1:50 pm

I love your black macaroon photos and I was completely captured by your lovely story! Thanks for your beautiful comments on my little blog. They always put a big smile on my face! Have a wonderful weekend dear! xo

Bonbon Oiseau November 21, 2008 um 2:25 pm

ooo–fancy macarons–so elegant! and yes I must have a tartelette calender…

Anonymous November 21, 2008 um 4:02 pm

This macarons perfect!!!
I m making macaron, always so problem take place;;;

outer covering—big big big space—-under covering

What is reason of this macaron??????


Helene November 21, 2008 um 4:29 pm

Anonymous: if I have deciphered your comment correctly, you have a hollow space in between the bottom and the top, right? Sounds like you overfolded just a tad over, and I would check that your oven is calibrated right, the heat might be coming on too strong from the bottom up.

Anonymous November 21, 2008 um 4:30 pm

I would have never thought about black macarons! Love them! I laughed at the "bag of coal" line…that could apply to me this year!

Vanillaorchid November 21, 2008 um 5:00 pm

They are so perfect and elegant!!

limonana November 21, 2008 um 6:44 pm

these are just gorgeous! you have such talent…

Anonymous November 21, 2008 um 9:14 pm

Waouw ! your macarons are magnificent! I have already tested a recipe of macarons but the result was disappointing !

I chose you as favorite blog and I awarded you a diamond 🙂
Come on my blog to know more about it!

Thank you

Anonymous November 21, 2008 um 9:27 pm

Blimey, all they need is a tie! I feel underdressed just reading this post. Amazing stuff as usual. Love the colors.

Cookie baker Lynn November 21, 2008 um 10:52 pm

The macarons do indeed look like Oreos all dressed up for a fancy party. Good job getting the color just right. That’s so cool that you now have your own calendar!

Helene November 22, 2008 um 12:35 am

Mina: thank you! I am heading over your way 🙂

Anonymous November 22, 2008 um 1:21 am

u make the best macarons on this food blogosphere and this is by far my favourite you’ve made! love the name love the photos…honestly, you’re my soul mate.
jokes! glad to hear the yaki udon went well 🙂 shame about the mushrooms but the best thing about it is you can always vary the ingredients. 🙂

Anonymous November 22, 2008 um 3:14 am

Helen, they turned out gorgeous! So chic!

PheMom November 22, 2008 um 4:06 am

Very cool! I think it is so cool that you both have such creative jobs that can cross paths and compliment each other.

Jen Yu November 22, 2008 um 5:13 am

You never cease to blow me away. I am totally enamored with those macarons. They are *dramatic*!

Leacayoungart November 22, 2008 um 5:16 am

I keep forgetting to ask you how to exchange gr for cups?

Sara November 22, 2008 um 3:26 pm

Your macarons are beautiful!

Maria November 22, 2008 um 5:17 pm

Your calendar is amazing!! I love all of the photos!!

Courtney November 22, 2008 um 9:57 pm

Those macarons are so lovely (and I’m certain I would love them more than oreos!) Too funny that you mentioned it being good that the party lighting was low- I was thinking that the party-goers mouths must have been pretty dark!

Alexa November 23, 2008 um 2:17 am

Drama and elegance in a cookie… lovely.

Anonymous November 23, 2008 um 2:32 am

You are the macaron queen Helen. Very cool!


nikkita November 23, 2008 um 8:47 am

oh dear. the black’s a bit halloween-morbid for my liking though 🙁 Im as scared of biting through that as much as the bright blue ones that I just made (!) my brain’s telling me they look like coal pieces :-/ But im soooo tempted to try make them (if i get a hold of black colouring).

Cindy November 23, 2008 um 2:17 pm

the macaroons look divine as does your calendar!

Cakespy November 24, 2008 um 1:40 am

These are fantastic! So fancy and fun at the same time. And that calendar is wonderful! You’re an absolute inspiration!

Nic November 24, 2008 um 4:10 pm

Beautiful and very elegant!

Anonymous November 24, 2008 um 5:29 pm

These macarons look so elegant and sophisticated! Warm congratulations on your new calendar, it’s so beautiful!!

Peabody November 25, 2008 um 6:12 am

Well, they do look like Oreos, but I am sure they are much, much better.

Dewi November 25, 2008 um 9:54 pm

Black is beautiful, Helen. Even more beautiful on a black macaron.

Anonymous November 26, 2008 um 2:45 pm

Encore une réussite ! je ne garde pas un bon souvenir de ma tentative de macarons noirs …après un flacon de colorant en pa^te noir, mes macarons sont restés gris fades … bravo c’est superbe !

Anonymous November 26, 2008 um 3:37 pm

Omigoodness, these are so gorgeous. Funny how you always think pastel when you think macarons – but these are tres chic!

Elizabeth December 3, 2008 um 7:21 pm

I have never seen such elegant macarons! If James Bond were to eat macarons, they would certainly be these! 🙂

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