Paris Inspired Painting - French Macarons & Cafe'

Michaels Craft Store is having a contest called "Springtime in Paris".

I wanted to paint a Paris inspired still life to enter in the contest.   After a lot of thought, I decided that French Macarons would make a fun still life.  I have a pretty ivory pedestal dish and coffee cups that are like something you might find in Paris and they would go nicely with colored pastries.
Before I could set up a still life and paint it, I had to make and bake french macarons to put into the still life.  
I have never made these little pastries before and come to find out, they are a bit tricky to make.
You have to measure the ingredients very carefully.  There is egg separating and meringue to make and then a process of folding.  Then once the batter is ready it is loaded into a pastry bag and squeezed out on to a parchment lined cookie sheet in 2 inch rounds.  Mine were between 1 to 1 1/2 inch rounds.
They sit on the cookie sheets for about 15 to 20 minutes so the tops can dry out just a little and then they are baked.
When they are done they have a crispy outside shell but are chewy and sweet inside.  Quite yummy.  Two small rounds go together with a thin layer of filling between them.  The ones that I made were Raspberry.  So the pastry was Almond and the filling was Raspberry. 
I think they came out pretty good, especially for a first timer.  They looked the way they were supposed to and they tasted very good.  My original intention was to make various spring colored ones but after I found how much work they were I decided on pink alone.  haha

Batter rounds sitting on baking sheet waiting to go into the oven
Pastry rounds are baked and sitting on the rack to cool

The finished Macarons

Once I had the Macarons ready, I went into my studio and put together a still life.  I thought that a Fleur de Lis wallpaper would make a nice touch and decided it would look more authentic to stencil it, so I went to Michaels and bought an Americana stencil. The rest of the painting was done by my normal process of layering acrylic paint. 

This is my Paris inspired painting for the Michaels contest.   I'm pleased with how it turned out.  The Macarons steal the show and look realistic and I especially like the reflections in the foreground. 
If you enjoy baking and like a challenge, try making the Macaroon pastry, they are pretty for spring, make an impressive gift and they taste really good.           :)  Tracy


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