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Cherry Blossom and Hibiscus Macarons & A Giveaway

Mcarons-Copyright©Tartelette 2008 Thank you all for your kind words after my last post, you are all amazing to give your support and wishes like you do. I am sad for his family but relieved that the pain and suffering are over for him. I am no saint but faced with the grief that his family is going through I just do what I do best, I facilitate: I run errands, I make phone calls, etc…which really is nothing so I transmitted all your thoughts to his wife who was really amazed at the food blogging community and its strong spirits.

This makes me think, and before I tell you about the macarons, that I may not be around visiting blogs much in the next couple of weeks because my aunt and uncle are coming to visit us for the first time and I will of course play that facilitator role again…I 'll be here to update and of course post the Sugar High Friday round up but I apologize for my ghostly presence elsewhere.

Now that I have this bit out of the way, let me tell you how these macarons came about. I have had the idea of using hibiscus tea leaves in macarons ever since B. brought them back from his archaeological trip to Egypt a few years ago. He brought back a giant tin of it that I keep in the freezer and make tart hibiscus iced tea in the summer. I love its deep pink color and its intoxicating scent. It’s rather hard to describe its taste but think fruity without the froo-froo, tart without being puckery and floral without being heady. Once I made the buttercream I made a very strong small cup of tea, strained the leaves out and reduce it with some sugar on the stove until I got an extract. Once cooled, I mixed it with the buttercream and it added flavor and color in one second.

The cherry blossom macarons were made possible thanks to Rachael of La Fuji Mama in Japan. She posted about some she had one day while right in the mist of the cherry blossom season and mentionned that cherry blossom was an extract easily found over there. It is so difficult to translate a scent into a taste sometimes that I told her I was really curious about it. She quickly replied in awesome food blogger fashion that she would be happy to send me some and I agreed only if I swapped something in return….and here we are. I made some when Marcela was here but I could not wait to make them again and play with the shell designs. Obviously my attempts at drawing cherry blossoms are not that great but the taste was there for sure.

I know hibiscus tea can be found pretty well here in the US but I am not that sure about cherry blossom extract and I realise that I might have made some of you curious…this is why I decided to give one of the bottles Rachael sent me (I hope she won’t mind that I share the love!) to one of you. All you have to do is leave a comment between today and saturday and one bottle might be on its way to your home….anywhere in the world (or where there is a shortage of cherry blossom extract!) The bottle is small (see her post) but the flavor goes a long way, and I just can’t keep this great taste all to myself…

UPDATE 5/22/08: I am so tickled to add that Rachael wrote yesterday wanting to add a second bottle of cherry blossom extract. You read right: One person…2 bottles! Lucky you’s!!

Macarons-Copyright©Tartelette 2008 Cherry Blossom and Hibiscus Macarons:

Macarons tutorial available here, starting page 36.

For the shells:
3 egg whites (I like to use 1-2 day old egg whites)
50 gr. granulated sugar
200 gr. powdered sugar
110 gr. ground almonds
2-3 drops pink food coloring or 1 Tb powdered
For the hibiscus macarons I sprinkled some leaves on top before baking.

For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature on 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 and your macarons won’t work. Combine the ground almonds and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a quick pulse. It will break the powdered sugar lumps and combine your almonds with it evenly. Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold and remove some of the batter that will remain uncolored. Add the food coloring to the rest and 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 baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 300F. Let the macarons sit out for an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 8-10 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. Pipe or spoon some ganache on one shell and sandwich with another one.
If you use fresh whites, zap them up in the microwave on medium high for 20 seconds to mimic the aging process.
To draw on the macarons: color the small amount you set aside previously and add more food coloring to make a darker color. Use a toothpick that you dip into the dark color and draw on the macarons.

For the buttercream:
3 sticks butter at room temperature
5 egg whites1 cup sugar divided
1/4 cup water
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste

1-2 teaspoons cherry blossom extract

In the bowl of stand mixer, whip 5 egg whites until they have soft peaks. In the meantime, combine 1/4 cup water with 3/4 cup sugar to a boil in a heavy saucepan and bring the syrup to 250F. Slowly add the sugar syrup to the egg whites. If you use hand beaters, this is even easier and there is less hot syrup splatter on the side of your bowl and in the whisk attachment of the stand mixer. Continue to whip until the meringue is completely cooled.Slowly add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. The mass might curdle but no panic, continue to whip until it all comes together. Add the vanilla bean paste. Divide the batter in 2.

For the cherry blossom buttercream, add extract to taste.

For the hibiscus buttercream: boil 1/2 cup of water, add 1 Tb hibiscus tea leaves and 2 Tb sugar. Let steep, strain the leaves. Return to a boil until reduced to a thick syrup. Let cool, add enough to taste to the buttercream.

Macarons-Copyright©Tartelette 2008

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Gretchen Noelle May 21, 2008 um 4:57 am

Your macarons are always so inspiring. One day…one day I will try and make them so I can taste them. Very creative! Hope your visit goes well!

Anita May 21, 2008 um 5:03 am

I can’t believe you got cherry blossom extract – I have been looking for years for that stuff! And it exists! So glad to know! I haven’t seen it in Japantown here so you’re lucky indeed! Beautiful macarons!

Adi May 21, 2008 um 5:19 am

These are gorgeous! I tried making the ocean-inspired macarons a few weeks ago – so pretty. Thanks for making my day with another great post!

Blair May 21, 2008 um 5:26 am

Wow, those are my dream macarons!

Manggy May 21, 2008 um 5:32 am

Whew! Lots of giveaways all over the world today! Don’t fret over your drawing skils– the macaroons look totally lovely! 🙂

pepsakoy May 21, 2008 um 5:56 am

They are so gorgeous ! It’s one thing I’m not capable of making…lol ..but I do enjoy seeing nice ones from good bakers like you !

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 6:07 am

Your macarons always kill me and these are no exception!

Bakerette May 21, 2008 um 6:11 am

Wow Helen, believe it or not hibiscus macarons were on my list. I just bought some hibiscus (we call it Karkade) and and was thinking of making those (I am Egyptian) and my best friend is an Egyptologist and excavates all the time coincidentally! I have another idea for macarons using an exotic flavor…soon!!

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 6:13 am

Those macaroons are stunning. I really love to see how you incorporate interesting flavours into your macaroons. Your blog is accessably inspirational. Thank you.

Frood Bird May 21, 2008 um 6:48 am

Wow, these are so pretty! I’m sure they taste great. It’s funny but I picked up some hibiscus tea while in Turkey this past winter and I’ve been saving it for something special… perhaps I’ll try my hand at macaroons!

Mindy Moo May 21, 2008 um 6:48 am

Are there macaron baking classes in the States cause I need to go to one!
Beautiful. Love cherry blosson extract!

Cannelle Et Vanille May 21, 2008 um 8:21 am

How wonderful Helen! I love the exotic twist. I have never tasted hibiscus so I cannot imagine the taste but I will have to try it next time I’m in a tea shop. As for the cherry blossom extract… wow… great ingredient swap! That’s what I love about this blogging thing… people come together. Great, great macarons! And enjoy your aunt and uncle’s company. How lucky… I want my family now!!!

Rachael Hutchings May 21, 2008 um 8:23 am

I just bought a bag of hibiscus tea in our little market the other day, what a great idea! I have been looking forward to this post ever since you got that package! 🙂

Suzana May 21, 2008 um 8:45 am

Oh my, when I think you won’t be able to stun me anymore with new macaroons, here you are!! I’ll definitely have to give it a go at those beauties. I love hibiscus tea but really can’t picture it with cherry blossom… should be so different…

Rosa's Yummy Yums May 21, 2008 um 8:45 am

Those macarons look perfect and very dainty! I’m sure they taste heavenly!



Casa Costello May 21, 2008 um 9:16 am

Love your work! These macarons look amazing! And the artwork! Hope your visit goes well.

Sonya May 21, 2008 um 9:26 am

Wow Cherry Blossom extract? thats to most amazing sounding thing I live in the netherlands now and have difficulty finding the simpliest of extracts let alone cherry blossom!

nandiniriyer May 21, 2008 um 9:36 am

oh my god, those look so good. and bizarrely though there’s no connection, your sketch of cherry blossom reminded me of the iced macarons an aunt used to make for me. Those were flavoured with jackfruit jam. And once they were made she used a piping bag and a bit of mixed fruit jam. Try jackfruit. In meringues and macarons, its not entirely taste, its the spirit of jackfruit. Almost impossible to get any now in Delhi where I live, so i cant offer to send you any but I will look out for anything interesting that i can find for you.

grace May 21, 2008 um 9:48 am

what a lovely design on the tops! up until recently, i preferred a macaroon over a macaron, but my tastes are changing and these sound mighty appealing! 🙂

Edith May 21, 2008 um 10:08 am

As compared to many of you here, I live pretty "close" to Japan but sadly to say, this is my FIRST time I heard about this cherry blossom extract. Talking about the frog in the well. Haiz. time to open up my world.

BTW, I love the design on your mac. So pretty.

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 10:33 am

Beautiful macarons. And I’m thrilled to know that the extract exists. Have a good time with your family!

Carrie May 21, 2008 um 11:07 am

oh that is awesome! I haven’t seen my aunts and uncles in many many years. I try and keep in touch, but miles keep us apart. Have FUN! And those macarons are gorgeous! That is so sweet that you are so shareful. Thanks for giving everyone the opportunity to experience cherry blossom extract…. Too cool

steph- whisk/spoon May 21, 2008 um 11:24 am

these are so beautiful! i love that swirling technique that you use on the macaroons, and they make a fine cherry blossom!

Aimée May 21, 2008 um 11:27 am

I am so in awe of your macaroons and these soft blush colored ones are just gorgeous!

Kendall May 21, 2008 um 11:31 am

Oh wow! They look delicious! Love your blog!

Amicus Cupcake May 21, 2008 um 11:50 am


I’m a big fan of your blog. I read it and drool on an almost daily basis. These macarons looks amazing, I really want to try learning to make them myself some day.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) May 21, 2008 um 11:56 am

Have a lovely visit with your family, and thanks for leaving us with these pinky-pink macarons — they are beautiful.

Jayne May 21, 2008 um 12:10 pm

Those are so pretty!

Nic May 21, 2008 um 12:14 pm

Gosh they look amazing, really perfect.
Have fun with your family!

Elly May 21, 2008 um 12:24 pm

As always, these look so gorgeous! And of course I’m sure they taste delicious, too.

Erin May 21, 2008 um 12:33 pm

Those macaroons look soooooo good!

Patricia Scarpin May 21, 2008 um 12:35 pm

Food bloggers really rock and you are proof of that, my dear – sharing something like that is really a generous thing.
These macarons look fantastic and I love the designs you made, Helen!

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 12:40 pm

hibiscus buttercream….that must be completely amazing!! with a cup of hibiscus tea, to die for.

April May 21, 2008 um 12:45 pm

I just love all of the macaron flavors that you come up with!

Stru May 21, 2008 um 12:48 pm

I think I want to master macarons just for the elegance and aesthetics (though, yeah, i like the taste too!). You keep re-motivating me to continue with them 🙂

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 1:07 pm

Too pretty!

Marianna May 21, 2008 um 1:22 pm

wow, what flavours- cherry blossom & hibiscus!! genius! I think you beat the Ladurée and Pierre Hermé macarons on this one. Very beautiful & lots of admiration on this one!

Mary May 21, 2008 um 1:23 pm

You wouldn’t have to send me the extract. I think I would just like one of the macaroons.

Potluck Crafters May 21, 2008 um 1:26 pm

i dream of making macarons like you some day!

Inne May 21, 2008 um 1:30 pm

Gorgeous! I love anything cherryblossom, and the hibiscus sounds really yummy as well. Thanks for the macaroon 'tutorial' Helen, I’ve had some macaroon disasters but I might give them another go.

Veron May 21, 2008 um 1:37 pm

gorgeous macarons as usual, Helen! And the hibiscus sounds fabulous!

Unknown May 21, 2008 um 1:38 pm

trés gorgeous and sound so yummylicious. your posting encourages me to try making some macaroons again after some failed ones last time. thank you!

LizNoVeggieGirl May 21, 2008 um 2:24 pm

Helen, as much as I DON’T want you to leave the blogging world for a bit, you deserve a break – especially for family! :0) Enjoy, and do come back soon!

Oh my, delicious macaroons – divine!! And those bottle sound lovely as well!!

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 2:25 pm

Oh, I got a bag of hibuscus tea after reading Kate’s (aapplemint) write up on it! But I need cherry blossom extract!
Even with the right ingredients, macaroons scare me. I dunno why, they look like they’re so hard to make. i don’t think I can get mine to look as pretty as yours!
What another fun giveaway…I’m keeping my fingers crossed again!

TranceGemini12 May 21, 2008 um 2:28 pm

Yum, macarons flavored with hibsicus & cherry blossoms must taste like spring…

BlondeJustice May 21, 2008 um 2:33 pm

ohhhh, cherry blosom extract? Yes, please!! 😀

Jazz May 21, 2008 um 2:54 pm

So glad to hear you’re doing okay now…:) And if nothing else, making those gorgeous macarons should cheer you up, eh?

Cherry blosson extract sounds so exotic, I bet it would pair well with something delicate like meringue or crepes…

Erica May 21, 2008 um 2:58 pm

Ooh, I’d love to try some of that extract! 🙂

Garrett May 21, 2008 um 3:10 pm

Oh wow, I have a strong feeling you’re going to be overwhelmed with comments for that cherry blossom extract. These macaroons look wonderful! This is one of those desserts I’ve always been afraid to try…I will have to get around to that soon, after seeing how well they turned out for you.

Nikki57 May 21, 2008 um 3:20 pm

They look great.

ambrosia ananas May 21, 2008 um 3:31 pm

Those are exquisite.

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 3:38 pm

gosh, i didn’t even know hisbiscious tea and cherry blossom extract existed!!!

ur macarons look beautiful as usual 🙂

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 3:43 pm

Anywhere in the world? okkk…. here I am!!! They look fantastic, as usual, I know I’m not original!

Cameron May 21, 2008 um 3:43 pm

When I worked in the L. hotel pastry shop, I wasn’t permitted to make macarons because I was too low on the totem pole. I left the kitchen before I had risen high enough, and thus macarons have always intimidated me – foolish, I know… but you make them seem so easy. After all, I figure if I can make dacquoise and Italian buttercream, I can probably make macarons, right? Of course, I have a long way to go before mine look as lovely as yours…

Kate May 21, 2008 um 3:44 pm

I went to a French immersion school as a child, where our teachers were from France and Belgium, so reading your blog always reminds me of the goodies we baked at school! I LOVE macarons, and have even got my husband drooling over them when I make them now!

kimberly salem May 21, 2008 um 3:53 pm

these are just so pretty… i’ve never eaten a macaron (i always thought they were the same as a coconut macaroon until recently), so i’m going to have to give these a try soon!

It's me May 21, 2008 um 4:17 pm

Well, if I don’t win the extract, perhaps your second drawing (the one where you PICK ME) could be for a box of those delightful looking macarons. 🙂 Just a thought!

That Girl May 21, 2008 um 4:32 pm

I come to this blog for the fantastic looking desserts, but I stay for the macarons. Seriously, you are such the goddess of macarons!

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 4:34 pm

so beautiful and elegant!!!

glamah16 May 21, 2008 um 4:41 pm

I never win these giveways, but what the ehck. I love Hisbiscous tea. I would just be tinkled pink to get some cherry blossom essence.Oh the possibilties!

LyB May 21, 2008 um 4:48 pm

So beautiful, Helen! You are always so creative with your macarons. I’ve yet to make such beauties, but I’ll certainly keep on trying!

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 4:53 pm

Those look so good. I’m quite interested in this extract, I’ll have to see if I can find it locally. Yum.

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 4:59 pm

OH! I would love to try this.
I’m a long time reader (and admirer of your photography) as well as a gluten-free food blogger.

This extract sounds wonderful – and like it will make a wonderful addition to many dishes!

Thanks for posting this recipe!

Geo May 21, 2008 um 5:16 pm

If I ever need a little delicious inspiration, I can always find it here!

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 5:19 pm

They are like little pieces of artwork. Quite delicate and beautiful. I so enjoy your blog, so thanks for the daily culinary inspiration.

Maggie M. May 21, 2008 um 5:20 pm

So beautiful! Cherry blossom extract sounds very cool.

PheMom May 21, 2008 um 5:40 pm

How seriously adorable are these little pink beauties – they look and sound incredible!

Rachel@fairycakeheaven May 21, 2008 um 6:00 pm

ooooooooooo pretty in pink!!! The cherry blossoms are out in our garden at the moment but never heard of using the extract, sounds gorgeous, and I imagine light and sweet and cute (if that’s a taste) 🙂

Warda May 21, 2008 um 6:25 pm

Serieusement Helene, why don’t you open a macaron shop! Yours are perfect. Gorgeous!

Mike of Mike's Table May 21, 2008 um 6:26 pm

Those are some beautiful looking macarons and I’m really curious about the cherry blossom extract as that sounds like it could be amazing. Hope the family visit goes well!

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 6:27 pm

i just ate a red bean mochi dorayaki (a japanese pancake-like snack) infused w/ cherry blossom, but couldn’t taste much of the flavor except for a hint of saltiness. i’m curious to know if the cherry blossom extract tastes and smells a whole lot different.

thanks for yet another generous offer! 😀

Sarah Meyer Walsh May 21, 2008 um 6:28 pm

oohhh I really want to win!!!
I live in DC and love anything and everything cherry blossom, but have never heard of this!

pea May 21, 2008 um 6:32 pm

i have been looking for cherry blossoms in any format since the first sign of spring! i am so jealous…

sher May 21, 2008 um 6:42 pm

Sometimes a picture takes my breath away. These are exquisite. I hope your visit goes well. Hugs.

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 6:51 pm

Eeeeeeekkk!! Cherry blossom extract?!! Amazing!! These look to die for!!

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 6:52 pm

you sure do make the most beautiful macarons!! every time i come visit, you’ve got some real pretty ones photographed. and adore the swirly prettiness of them. think the best one yet was the blue macarons you made a while back. 🙂

simply stunning.

Kristen May 21, 2008 um 6:59 pm

I love that you used the hibiscus for the macaroons, delicious! When I lived in Mexico we drank the cold hibiscus drink all the time. What a great way to use the flavor. You always amaze me with your creativity.

My Sweet & Saucy May 21, 2008 um 7:09 pm

What fun and different flavor macaroons! Beautiful too, as always!

The Bon May 21, 2008 um 7:14 pm

Those look beautiful! I live in a pretty humid part of the country so I haven’t even attempted to make macarons, although I think they’re delicious!

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 7:15 pm

Amazing Macaroons! They look beautiful and sound delicious. 🙂

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 7:20 pm

cherry blossom extract! sounds very interesting. thanks for your beautiful writing, photography, and recipes!

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 7:21 pm

Absolutely gorgeous looking macaroons! So pretty, well presented and cute with it.

What a lovely combination of flavours too, I love hibiscus and often make hibiscus syrup to go with orange blossom pancakes – so very good.

Happy Homemaker And Momma May 21, 2008 um 7:30 pm

Wow-you did do a great job with the cherry blossom design-it looks so good!! So the taste is that of cherry blossom? They look so good-did you take the pictures? I’ll be keeping my eye on your delish blog for sure!!! Thank you for the chance to enter the drawing for the extract! Enjoy your day and looking forward to more pictures and creations!!!

industrialpoppy May 21, 2008 um 7:45 pm

Such a lovely blog-so inspiring!
I am in Canada, and while we have an abundance of beauty around us…I can only dream of seeing cherry blossoms in person: the taste of which I might liken to a drop of nectar from the heavens themselves!

Brilynn May 21, 2008 um 7:56 pm

You really are the macaron queen!
Cherry blossom oil sounds intriguing. My grandparents have a cherry orchard that I have worked in every summer of my life and I can’t wait for cherry season to come around again!

Bron May 21, 2008 um 7:56 pm

84 comments! Wowsers!
I’ve never heard of cherry blossom extract before, but those have to be the most gorgeous macarons you’ve shown us yet – BEAUTIFUL!

K May 21, 2008 um 7:57 pm

Those look really delicious – I am trying to imagine the flavor but i wonder fi i am coming even close!

Anna May 21, 2008 um 8:00 pm

Cherry blossom extract?! I didn’t even know it existed but now I want it SO much. I can’t even find matcha powder where I live, so that might be a bit ambitious X__X.

These are just too cute and perfect to be allowed, I’m afraid. I’ll have to confiscate them.

Cookie baker Lynn May 21, 2008 um 8:01 pm

Awww, your cherry blossoms make me melt. They’re so beautiful. It’s official, you are queen of the macarons!

Mary Mary May 21, 2008 um 8:01 pm

I have some hibiscus from a recent trip to Costa Rica that would be fabulous in a macaron 🙂

Evelin May 21, 2008 um 8:07 pm

Cherry blossom extract sounds like a dream come true, Helen!:)

Every time you make macarons, I’m mad with myself for not having tried to make them myself. Please do continue posting abut them and one day I will get my hands o nthem as well! 😀

Sylvie May 21, 2008 um 8:31 pm

Those are the prettiest macaroons I have ever seen.

Chris May 21, 2008 um 8:42 pm

Put these on the list for my tutorial. So dainty and pretty!

inferior goods May 21, 2008 um 8:45 pm

bee-yoo-tee-full macaroons! seeing these make me want to try another attempt at making macaroons – for some reason, the recipes i’ve tried in the past just haven’t turned out nearly as well as i’d hoped.

& of course, i’d love to try making them with the cherry blossom extract!

Trish May 21, 2008 um 9:04 pm

Macarons are Next Up on my to-do list so your post couldn’t be more timely. And cherry extract? Yum! I can think of about 1000 things that would be good for.

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 9:07 pm

Pick Me, Pick Me! I love the thought of cherry blossom extract in just about anything!

Cakelaw May 21, 2008 um 9:26 pm

These are awesome, as ever. The cherry blossom macarons are so pretty with the little blossom design on top.

Unknown May 21, 2008 um 9:31 pm

That’s it, I am going to learn to make macaroons once and for all.

Lori May 21, 2008 um 9:42 pm

Very out of the ordinary! Very inspiring. I do not particularly care for hibiscus but I BET I would love it in a macaroon.

As for the cherry blossom extract, ooh ooh pick me pick me. So neat!

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 9:52 pm

i’ve been addicted to the macaron since visiting paris last may. even though i can’t find them where i live unless i make them myself your photos sustain me. absolutely stunning. thank you!

Marisa May 21, 2008 um 9:56 pm

Me too please?!?!?! I’d LOVE to try it!

Bonnie May 21, 2008 um 10:00 pm

this sounds divine! pick me please 🙂

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 10:44 pm

I’ve seen so many beautiful pictures of macarons lately and still have never had one!

Anonymous May 21, 2008 um 11:01 pm

What a wonderful treat! And how unusual they are!

Topher May 21, 2008 um 11:03 pm

I wish that I was capable of making macaroons!

Susana May 21, 2008 um 11:07 pm

just when I thought I was lightening up with my macaron obsession… now i’m obsessed with sakura as well! your recipes and foodography have been really inspiring — thanks and please keep it up!

Peabody May 21, 2008 um 11:15 pm

Those are too gorgeous for words!!!

toontz May 22, 2008 um 12:57 am

Those are just beautiful! Too beautiful to eat (well, maybe not, lol)! And cherry blossom extract…sounds beautiful, too.

Anonymous May 22, 2008 um 1:04 am

Cherry blossom extract sounds amazing! Unfortunately I have ever been able to try the flavor, but I certainly would love to! I’ll bet it would be wonderful as a flavoring for mochi! 🙂

Chelsea May 22, 2008 um 1:12 am

Sakura macarons, what a beautiful idea! I have a recipe in one of my many cookbooks for a sorbet made by infusing water with actual cherry blossoms (though I think it may have really called for ornamental plum). Every spring I think about trying it out but never do. The scent, like the blossoms is so fleeting and ethereal, what a treat to have it bottled!

cyd May 22, 2008 um 1:26 am

Your macarons always look so perfect and delicious! One of these days I am going to try making them myself and of course I plan on trying one of your recipes! If I can ever decide on which one! The cherry blossom extract might help me make my decision! 🙂

Kathryn May 22, 2008 um 1:40 am

Macarons are my favorite dessert ever, and these, as always, look killer!

jasmine May 22, 2008 um 1:46 am

These are simply beautiful.


Megan May 22, 2008 um 2:13 am

Someday I’ll try macarons.
They are so beautiful. Cherry blossom extract sounds so exotic.

Gennie Catastrophe May 22, 2008 um 2:14 am

these look awesome. I’ll have to buy a digital scale to get your measurements. should have done it already anyway.

Cat May 22, 2008 um 3:13 am

Your macarons are really gorgeous and inspiring!! 🙂 I would love some cherry blossom extract!!

Anonymous May 22, 2008 um 3:15 am

wow! these look absolutely delicious! i am looking for good macaroon recipes for a friend’s upcoming birthday (she just got back from a semester in Paris!). Any recipe inspirations for a 21st birthday, possibly something incorporating wine/champagne?

Anonymous May 22, 2008 um 3:18 am

Hey! I have a giveaway on my blog too. Cool!! Do you accept bribes on your giveaways? I know i do!… I’m just kiddin'!!! 🙂

I’m quite intrigued by this cherry blossom extract. Very nice!

Ann May 22, 2008 um 3:27 am

These are stunning. I actually tried to make macarons a few weeks ago – and they were the saddest appearing little cookies ever, but they actually tasted quite wonderful. I don’t know what I did wrong. Yours look so pretty!

Anonymous May 22, 2008 um 4:44 am

I do think you make the most interesting and beautiful macarons out there – what patisserie wouldn’t want these in their window?

I learn about so many interesting dessert ingredients on your blog – but this cherry blossom extract is the most unique one!

The hibiscus macarons looks marvelous. I’m been meaning to use hibiscus and you’ve inspired me to try it out this weekend.

Cakebrain May 22, 2008 um 4:48 am

Wow! Those macarons look absolutely amazing! The cherry blossom extract is such a wonderful addition…I’ve never tasted it but it sounds yummy. The hibiscus is an innovative idea too!

Bakerella May 22, 2008 um 5:02 am

I’ve been wanting to learn how to make macarons. And the cherry blossom accent sounds so intriguing. It would definitely prompt me to move this one to the top of the list.

Mercotte May 22, 2008 um 5:29 am

Je n’ai pas le temps de lire la multitude de commentaires donc j’imagine aisément que le cherry blossom japonais est déjà parti !!! dommage, mais pas grave… bravo en tout cas pour tes macarons, dans mon petit livre à paraître j’ai aussi innové si l’on peut dire avec des parfums de thé originaux et c’est super bon !!
Bravo encore et bonne journée

Suganya May 22, 2008 um 5:39 am

I am blog hopping after a long time. And this is quite a motivation. I have never tasted cherry blossoms extracts.

Anonymous May 22, 2008 um 5:47 am

Cherry blossom goodies remind me of spring in Japan. These macaroons look amazing!

Ms SnS May 22, 2008 um 5:53 am

What a great, light idea for flavor!

jenniferhoiyin May 22, 2008 um 6:02 am

I’ve been trying to make lilac blossom cordial and am now thinking of grabbing some more to experiment with, see if I can’t come up with my own extract of sorts; thanks to you as inspiration!

I’ve finished the ruminating stage and get to see how it turns out tomorrow. can’t wait to try your macaron recipe and play with it!

Lilly May 22, 2008 um 8:33 am

They look so beautiful. What a wonderful idea for the flavor.

Frances May 22, 2008 um 12:03 pm

What i love about food (and these especially)is that it fulfils so many senses – all in fact! Ahh, crunch, mmmm. And i love the connections that it is capable of making – through giving and sharing. It is so much more than sustenance!

Jenny May 22, 2008 um 12:36 pm

In the (unlikely) event that I actually win this, any chance I could try the Hibiscus as well? I’ve not only never tried it, I don’t think I had heard of it until today and would have no clue at all what it might taste like!

maybelles mom May 22, 2008 um 12:42 pm

lovely. I just read your article in dessert and made violet macarons. They were not perfect, but fun to make. I would love to enter the contest for the cherry blossom extract.

Half Baked May 22, 2008 um 12:53 pm

Beautiful macarons! The cherry blossom extract sounds really yummy!

Vanillaorchid May 22, 2008 um 1:07 pm

Your macarons are always perfect and gorgeous. I’m really love them.

Hibicus tea is one of my favourite tea.

I have never made dessert with cherry blossom, and yes I would love to have them. ^-^

Anonymous May 22, 2008 um 1:30 pm

All of your macarons are so exquisite I wouldn’t know which one to make first. I have the macaron bug just haven’t worked up the courage to try them. Have fun with your family.

DoceLounge May 22, 2008 um 2:11 pm

All your macarons are so pretty, they seem like little pieces of edible art, and I bet they taste as good as they look! In my country (which isn’t Japan) there is also a place where we can see cherry blossoms, only once a year, and they do look very beautiful, but not as beautiful as in Japan… I wish I could go there.. *sigh* Well, congratulations for another stunning sweet!

emily May 22, 2008 um 2:19 pm

I’ve never heard of cherry blossom extract before, but I can only hope it would allow me to make something as beautiful and delicious as your creations!

Anonymous May 22, 2008 um 4:54 pm

Who would of known there was such a thing as Cherry Blossom extract. I’m sure it’s tasty and would love to try it out one day. Btw, love your photos and gorgeous creations.

White Toast with Butter May 22, 2008 um 5:05 pm

Love your blog!

Cacahuete_sr May 22, 2008 um 5:39 pm

these are beautiful! i love cooking with hibiscus too!

Tiffany May 22, 2008 um 5:42 pm

your macarons look absolutely perfect! so cute 🙂

Anonymous May 22, 2008 um 6:17 pm

Lovely colours macarrons… as for the cherry blossom extract..I want to scream out ME, PLEASE!!! 🙂
but the comments already 140…wow!

Unknown May 22, 2008 um 6:44 pm

I’ve always been amazed at the varieties of macarons you make – I have yet to taste one for myself, but it is a baking project I can’t wait to tackle! The cherry blossom extract sounds AMAZING!

Anonymous May 22, 2008 um 6:46 pm

Your blog is beautiful, especially all the macarons!!

anadelicias May 22, 2008 um 6:55 pm

Always, your macarons look so nice and beautiful!!!!!

Anonymous May 22, 2008 um 8:09 pm

Oooh, pretty pretty please? Cherry blossom extract for me? 🙂

Lisa is Bossy May 22, 2008 um 9:05 pm

As usual I LOVE reading your blog!! You are totally my inspiration in making my own macarons!

If you ever happen to read these comments – about how long did you have to reduce the tea syrup before it was thick enough to your liking? 15 mins? more? 🙂

noisy penguin May 22, 2008 um 9:17 pm

Your pictures are always so beautiful. What a great giveaway!

Ginny May 23, 2008 um 1:42 am

Absolutely beautiful macarons! Are you sure you can’t giveaway some of those! 🙂 Delicious!

jessicajlee May 23, 2008 um 2:16 am


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jessicajlee May 23, 2008 um 2:16 am


Steph May 23, 2008 um 2:26 am

Absolutely beautiful macaroons! I’m always impressed with your beautiful photo’s!

Unknown May 23, 2008 um 3:04 am

Your pictures inspired me! I live in Miami Beach and there is one place called Paul that sells them! Tiny one costs 0.98, a bigger one almost 4 dollars! It is the first time I try a macaroon like that and I was a "tad" dissapointed- the chocolate rounds were too cake like, I think, like eating devil’s cake cut in two rounds! what do you think? Are they suppossed to be chewy or more crunchy?

I would LOVE to win the cherry blossom bottle! I think I would be tempted to try it as perfume, though! 🙂 I love japanese things. Or as other blogger said, I would be delighted to win one of your macaroons instead!

I enjoy reading your blog, thank you!

daisy May 23, 2008 um 4:03 am

I love this blog….and I love your macarons (and everything else).

I received the Laduree "Creators of Sweets" book as a gift and, I have to tell you, yours are every bit as beautiful.

Whilst trying to track down some violet flavouring, I wrote to an American company who quoted me……and this is hilarious……..$200 to ship a tiny bottle to Australia.

I love the (mostly) European tradition of using floral flavours in the kitchen and I do agree that Cherry Blossom *anything* sounds dreamy.

Tartlette is my favourite blog in all the world….such creativity……and so I’m sending plenty of warm wishes and love from Oz.

Sophie May 23, 2008 um 4:16 am

I still haven’t made macarons because I’m a wimp :)! These are really lovely. It’s amazing that you used cherry blossom extract to make these; I’d love to try it…and these pretty in pink macarons :).

Katie May 23, 2008 um 5:40 am

They look wonderful. I love you you have even managed to get a flower design on top.

Baking Fiend May 23, 2008 um 6:14 am

I just tried hibiscus tea for the 1st time in my life a week back… and it’s really tarty taste! but i love it…. thanks for the tips to incorporate into a mac!

cherry blossom extract, tat’s definately a novelty to me as well… would love one. 🙂

Chico May 23, 2008 um 7:34 am

I love your macarons every time but this is the best one!
I have never heard about Cherry blossom extract (actually I’m Japanese!)but I’m so interested in.

Lisa is Bossy May 23, 2008 um 7:39 am

Thanks for replying Helen! I had a friend suggest trying an Earl Grey tea flavored macaron and had been trying to brainstorm how to extract that flavor. Your hibiscus tea method would be perfect!! Thank you again!!

ChichaJo May 23, 2008 um 9:16 am

Such pretty macarons as usual! It’s always so inspiring to visit your site 🙂

I remember buying hibiscus tea when I visited Egypt too…we really liked it!

adli May 23, 2008 um 10:24 am

i just love that macaroons you make!! they’re just spectacularly beautiful!!

Anonymous May 23, 2008 um 12:40 pm

Those look amazing! I love new flavors! I wonder if I can find cherry blossom extract on ebay :>

Natalie, aka "Sheltie Girl" May 23, 2008 um 2:16 pm

Wow Helen — Who would have thought that so many of us would be inspired by the thoughts of cherry blossom extract. These are fabulous looking macarons. I love hibiscus tea too.

My mother has a large red hisbiscus plant at her house in Florida. It is a magnet for the hummingbirds. We like to sit outside and watch them flit around in the early morning light drinking all the sweet nectar from the blossoms.

I hope you have a fabulous visit with your Aunt and Uncle! And thanks for sharing all our thoughts with your friend’s wife.

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

Melita May 23, 2008 um 3:07 pm

Oh, they look so good, I wouldn’t be able to eat them! 🙂
Now I seriously must try to master these!

Katya May 23, 2008 um 3:11 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.

Katya May 23, 2008 um 3:11 pm

Wow. Those are incredibly lovely. I gave up January’s macaron quest for bread, but I think you just sucked me back in, cherry extract or no.

Magdalene May 23, 2008 um 3:31 pm

These are beautiful! I can’t wait to try the recipe myself.

Anonymous May 23, 2008 um 3:36 pm

Oh wow both the hibiscus and cherry blossom flavors sound great, and I just love how you decorated them. I would love to win bottles of cherry blossom extract to try some baking with it myself! 🙂

Anonymous May 23, 2008 um 5:50 pm

Helene, you have outdone yourself. Your macaroons are always gorgeous, but these are works of art – so pretty! I’m a huge fan of cherry blossoms, I’d love to know what the extract it like! That’s awesome!

Erica the Ninja May 23, 2008 um 5:50 pm

Oh my. Your pictures are always breathtaking, your recipes drool-worthy and your style so simple and pure it makes me wish that I could just quit my job and bake and bake and bake.

I would love a bottle of cherry blossom extract. I am just a novice in the kitchen, but slowly learning how to compose beautiful desserts. I have never heard of this ingredient and would enjoy the chance to work with it.

Amelia May 23, 2008 um 8:11 pm

Wow those macarons look fabulous! I love macarons, but have always been too intimidated to give making them a try. I’ve promised myself that I would to take the leap and try to make some before the end of June. Thanks for the inspiration!

Merav May 23, 2008 um 9:40 pm

Your macarons (as always) are BEAUTIFUL!
I would love a bottle of hibiscus extract! I’ve never tried it!!

Wrapped up in Life May 23, 2008 um 11:13 pm

Thrilled at the opportunity to take part in the hibiscus contest. I’ve just discovered macarons and am making my 3rd batch tomorrow!

una donna dolce May 24, 2008 um 12:25 am

I would love to try cherry blossom extract! Not to mention this recipe – how beautiful!

una donna dolce May 24, 2008 um 12:25 am

I would love to try cherry blossom extract! Not to mention this recipe – how beautiful!

una donna dolce May 24, 2008 um 12:25 am

I would love to try cherry blossom extract! Not to mention this recipe – how beautiful!

Lina May 24, 2008 um 4:47 am

I love macarons. There is a little french bakery close to my work and every time I go there, no matter how good the pastries look, I always go for the macarons. I have never tasted cherry blossom but I would love to try it. I’ve been thinking about making macarons for quite some time (ever since I read your article on Dessert Magazine)and I think this would be the perfect recipe. It really looks delicious.

Deeba PAB May 24, 2008 um 8:00 am

Cherry blossom sounds like food of the Gods! And these macaroons make me swoon….beautiful!

Anonymous May 24, 2008 um 10:01 am

Cherry blossom extract – I can understand why you were curious!

I also like the painted blossoms on your macaroons.

Thanks for sharing this with all of us!
Alexandra, who wishes she had known about this 2001 when she went to Japan. Oh well…

Anonymous May 24, 2008 um 11:31 am

I just love your blog…

Love this macaroons. It look so sweet and beautiful..

Erin May 24, 2008 um 3:15 pm

I eat macarons like crazy when I’m in Paris, but I have yet to try to make my own. I’m going to have to try soon, and your blog will be my resource when I do try! I’d love to try the cherry blossom extract, too!

Rachelle S May 24, 2008 um 6:56 pm

These are so adorable with the pink blossom swirl on top. I have marked these because one day Iam determined to make me some macarons.

Anonymous May 24, 2008 um 8:07 pm

If I could win a bottle of cherry blossom extract, I would make macarons. That is the truth of it:o)

Heather May 24, 2008 um 10:12 pm

these look delicious! i am gonna have to try and get my hands on some of this extract 🙂

Lindsay May 25, 2008 um 1:16 am

I love your blog! The recipes are always so intriguing- especially this macaroon one! I would love to try the extract!

Sarah May 25, 2008 um 2:13 am

Aww…. I have been inspired to attempt the making of macaroons.

There used to be an amazing El Salvadoran restaurant near us that made hibiscus tea. It was refreshing and also inspiring. I dream of the cafe reopening, sipping on either the freshly made horchata or hibiscus tea, drinking whichever satisfied in the moment.

Thank you for sharing your expertise and being an inspiration! I think I’m off to do a bit of personal research on both hibiscus and extracts.

Anonymous May 25, 2008 um 2:30 am

beautiful macarons! Love the swirl on top!!

Renee May 30, 2008 um 7:40 am

You are obviously such a caring person, Helen, and it seems like whenever I’m reading different blogs, I read about "Tartlette" there, too! In fact, this weekend I made some Meyer Lemon Kisses (cookies) from a recipe off another blog; found out they made in your honor! Everyone adores Tartlette! *smile*

I subscribe to your blog because your recipes are amazing, and your skill is astonishing; I can’t believe how gorgeous your work is! But your words truly show how kind your heart is, and that’s even cooler. Hopefully things will calm down for you soon!

Just wanted to drop a line and say that these macaroons are gorgeous – I love the colors! And I like the flowers just as they are – kind of "rustic", and "free-flowing"… *smile* Now, if I could learn to make macaroons… (Perhaps I should try?! *grin*)

sophie May 31, 2008 um 6:46 pm

Dear Tartelette,
i’m a big fan of your blog, i love reading it!Today i need your science please!To make an italian meringue that calls for 125 gr of sugar for 50 ml of water, is it ok to reduce the sugar(i don’t like too sweet!),or is it going to be a problem?
Thanks for your help.

Helene May 31, 2008 um 8:03 pm

Sophie: I recommend not reducing that amount but reducing the amount of sugar used for beating the egg whites. Even so, the Italian meringue does not make the macarons too sweet, but I am biased on the subject 🙂

sophie May 31, 2008 um 10:47 pm

Thanks so much for your quick reply.i’ll give it a try…
all the best!

Unknown June 8, 2008 um 10:00 am

these look absolutely stunning – so delicate! i have just finished reading your tutorial and really must thank you. i have had a fear of failure for the longest time when it comes to macarons but i think after reading your article i just might get the nerve to try it. excellent tutorial!

Ria Mathew March 26, 2009 um 6:09 am


You are incredible!!! Love your site!!(i'm very new to the blog world ) My inspiration to follow my dreams!! One day!! sooon.. i hope to make these yummy macaroonss!!! for which i need the extract.. :).. here we dont get any extract other than the basic vanilla,almond & orange extract!! So plesae send them my way!! 😀


Anonymous March 27, 2009 um 12:12 am

Cherry blossom extract!? Sounds interesting!

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