Learning to make Macarons…

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In February, I decided all of a sudden that I wanted to make Macarons.  You know, trying to expand my skills in cakes and cookies aren’t enough.  But this little cookie sandwich’s reputation for being finicky, yet delicious intrigued me.  What really put this need over the edge was my 6 year old niece went to a children’s macaron class.  I was totally jealous.  So off I went!

Now most people, when they start something new, try a basic recipe first.  You know, get the hang of it. Well not me.  I wish I thought with such logic as it would save me a few failures along the way.  But my over confidence in my ability to follow directions and the thought that if someone else can do it, surely I can too, makes me start with whatever catches my eye.  Macarons were no different.  So when I saw on Pinterest a recipe for cookie dough macarons, I had to start with that recipe!

Well, I will save you the suspense, the first batch FAILED.  The macaron shells looked fine, but the feet had gotten large and deflated out, the center of the cookie was hollow, and the cookie was under-cooked.  They looked pretty good, but I couldn’t even get them off the silpat.

I was totally disappointed, but I tried again the next day.  This time, I cooked them a little longer and experimented with some different sizes. They turned out a little better.  They had only a small hollow pocket, the I could get them off the silpat, and could pick them up and fill them without them crumbling.  The feet were still all over the place, but I was excited at the progress.

When both my sister-in-law and my niece took some more baking classes, I decided I wanted to go to one too.  And the macaron one was my first choice.  There is a pasty shop in Broad Ripple called the Gallery Pastry Shop.  If you are in central Indiana and want to take a baking class, this is the place.  Chef Ben is super nice and very patient with his students.  My mom signed up for the class with me and we went at the beginning of March.

Outside of going and physically learning how to make macarons, we learned so much more.  Those little tips and tricks of the trade that increase your success that you usually can’t get from a recipe.  And really, there is nothing better than making something with a chef by your side to tell you want to look for and if you are on the right track.  As for our macarons, I think Mom and I had the best ones in the class! I did the purple ones and she did the peach ones.  We of course then mixed and matched!

Now that I was schooled in some macaron making, I couldn’t wait to try our my new skills at home.   I had to wait a few weeks as I had my son’s birthday party to get through and a kitchen remodel going on, but I finally got to it this week.

I first made the fillings.  Chef Ben told us that they thicken up nicely overnight and it was best to make the filling a day ahead of time.  We learned in the class to make a chocolate ganache. I knew that it was only cream and chocolate, yet again, seeing it in person and have portions, made it easy to recreate.  Also, Chef Ben went into talking about the different kinds of chocolate, the percentages cocoa, and some of the science of cooking with different chocolates… super helpful!  While in the class, we also asked if he would give us the recipe for the salted caramel. Chef Ben wrote it down and we all took a picture. I had never made caramel, but it proved to be easy enough and I avoided burning myself, so that is a plus.

Macaron filling

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Ganache Filling

After I made the filling, I went ahead and made the macaron shells.  My plan was to put them in the fridge and fill the next day, which ended up working out nicely.   I followed the basic recipe and made sure to read through my notes from the class.  The end result was they turned out!!!  They got a little brown on top, but I think that will be solved by moving my rack down a little bit.  There was no hollowness, no sticking to the parchment, and they had the right texture.  PUMPED. Of course I had to fill one just so I could test them out.

The next day, I filled half with the salted caramel and half with the chocolate ganache.

Needless to say, I had to try one of each again (twice).  I left a few at home and brought the rest to work to ensure I didn’t eat the whole batch.  I am excited to be on the right path and can’t wait to make more.

Clara

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One thought on “Learning to make Macarons…

  1. Pingback: Vegetable Garden Themed Play-date | (Sim)fully Sweet

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