When I was in Paris, I ate macarons. Alot of them. Cheerfully with wild abandon because that is what you do when you are in Paris! Prior to going Paris, I had tried macarons at Europane Cafe + Bakery in Pasadena ( a block from where I work, it is one of my favorite lunch destinations and they are dedicated to fixing a sweet tooth).
Now I enjoy baking and macarons have been on my list to try, but they fall under the "scary" category. I've got a few books dedicated to the macaron as well but all I have done is tag flavor profiles that I love or would like to try at some point. (I learned that the recipes in I Love Macarons from Japan are crap, so if anything, it's a lovely coffee table book). Les Petits Macarons is a lovely book on the subject matter too. Of course, the book that I am lusting after for is Pierre Herme's book on the subject, Macarons.
So like any smart girl who fears a recipe, I signed up for the Intro to Macarons class at The Gourmandise School of Sweets & Savories in Santa Monica, taught by Clemence Gossett (one of the school's owners). All 15 of us students were a bit wound up, Clemence could smell the fear on us and she instantly put all of us at ease. With her laid back nature and encouraging teaching style, she was able to assuage our fears and voila - we made vanilla macarons with buttercream ( we flavored them with raspberry, citrus and vanilla) and/or chocolate ganache. Practice will make perfect...one day.