I took my macaron class last weekend. It was good fun. And instead of building up to it, I’m going to put my photo right here:
It was a fun class, cement floor killing my feet aside. Here are some things I learned that I didn’t know before:
- There are two kinds of these things: French and Italian. Most of the ones in the shops are Italian, because they are prettier (the foot is vertical instead of squishing out a bit and the meringue parts are more domed), easier to make in large batches, and have a longer shelf life. We made the French kind because they are harder to screw up and they don’t involve boiling sugar, which apparently comes with liability issues when teaching a class in a bakery. At first I was disappointed, but it also turns out that the French ones are chewier, which I like, and you don’t need a stand-mixer for them, which works for me because I don’t have a stand mixer.
- You know how they come in all those fancy flavours? Well apparently all the cookies are exactly the same, besides food colouring and all the flavour comes from the ganache or buttercream or whatever you put between them. Are you surprised? I was.
- If you want to make these things, you need to really plan ahead and be a patient sort. You need to separate the eggs at least two days but ideally two weeks in advance. You need to bring your egg whites to room temperature before you start. You need to make your ganache early enough that it can sit in the fridge overnight. You need to let your cookies sit after you pipe them but before you bake them. You need to let them cool after you bake them but before you fill them. And THEN, after you’re all done, you have to let them sit in the fridge for 48 hours before you can eat them. This is long-game baking, my friends.
- Did you know that if you stir your powder ingredients into your egg whites wrong, you can kill the egg whites? I did not know. I thought they were already dead. But apparently it is a thing. A bad, bad thing. And if you kill your egg whites, everything is ruined and you have to start over. Which sucks financially (go research what almond powder costs – I’ll wait) and from a time perspective, because now you have to go back to your egg-separating stage.
- Actually, there are several stages along the way in making these things where it can all go wrong and everything is ruined. This is not baking for the easily-frustrated, the faint of heart, or anyone who can’t pay close attention to detail. Perfectionists, on the other hand, will probably get great satisfaction in doing this right.
They say that no day is wasted where you learn something new, so there you go. I have shared my learning with you. Now you can coast all day.