I have two Macaron books, this one and the one by Hisako Ogita. I like to make bullet points:
* Hisako's book looked slightly complicated. I've been baking for 25 years but never did a macaron. I knew they were harder than my usual cupcake so for some reason Hisako's book made me not try it right away. This book is VERY small, but in a good way. First, you can read the whole thing in 10 minutes to learn how to make a macaron. Second, it's easy to understand what she is telling you to do. Third, her pictures of her bakery look nice.
* She tells you how to make a basic French or Italian macaron shell. No frills. Good for a beginner macaronist like me. Essential. However, since it has no frills, I'm glad I have Hisako's book because Hisako actually tells you how to flavor a shell. Even with no extra flavor, the basic shell is crazy tasty though! Let me repeat, good for a beginner first time macarooner!
* What I don't like:
1. she calls for 2.5" circles. I made templates. Puzzled when I couldn't get the large number of macaron shells on a half sheet like she said, I pressed on. I believe this is a typo in the book. My macarons were HUGE. I like big cookies so it wasn't a big deal, but frankly, I think 1.5" is too small, 2" is just right, and 2.5" is too big. My husband found a true to scale picture of her macarons from her cafe and they are 2" in size...(three fingers thick). Hisako's are 2.5 cm large, so did she get her units wrong since she is French? I don't know. Her oven timing and temperatures were perfect for my extra large 2.5 " macarons though.
2. I added too much egg white powder since I live in Houston Tx. Perhaps, adding how much you should put in based on relative humidity would be helpful? That sounded nerdy. I think I will accept the blame for this oops :P
3. Other reviewers are right: she does not tell you how to decorate the macarons as nicely as she does. Nuts :(
4. I made my macarons pink with a dark chocolate ganache. It was VERY tasty. However, my ganache did not solidify in 30 minutes like she says it would. I had to pop it in the fridge. She also never mentions to double boil it. I prefer double boiling (putting it in a glass bowl over a pot of semi-boiling water) because it doesn't burn the milk or chocolate. That's just me. I was surprised she didn't mention that trick. It does taste extremely good though :)
5. Over and over she says use a Pastry 8 tip. I have the Ateco complete large round tip set and the Wiltons like 60+ tip pack. I don't have a number 8! Anyways, for a 2.5 " circle, I had to use my biggest tip. I don't know if others had that problem.
6. NEW ADDITION TO REVIEW: Just made macarons again with 2" circles. Oven baking time was way too high this time. I think 9 minutes works better but I can't say for sure because I kept lowering my time with each batch. I made the chocolate orange ganache. I believe the recipe is OFF. I put in the recommended 1 tsp of orange extract and 1 orange peel zested and my macarons now have a bitter initial taste to them that I hate. I'm quite unhappy with today's batch :(. I'm guessing it's best to use 1/4 a teaspoon of extract to be safe. 2" macarons are better :)
I'm adding a picture to my review of my first attempt at macarons. Check it out. Hope this was helpful.
I'm very glad I bought the book, even with the "flaws". Who knows if it was her book or me... It's still a wonderful beginner macaroner book.
ANOTHER NEW ADDITION TO REVIEW (7/17/2011)
* Hey guys, I found a book that tops this one for a basic recipe. With Macarons I could never get the cookie perfect. I suggest trying Mad About Macarons! for your after-beginner book. It still took me 5 tries to get the cookie perfect but I just did it today. The book is by Jill Colonna. I mix recipes from the Macarons book with this book, for fillings and stuff. But for the cookie part, I use this new book. The ingredient ratios are different, you need a few more tools, but it tells you how to get perfect macaron circles and I no longer get cracks or oil stains or burnt shells! I'll write a sep review for that book so please see that. THANKS!