19 October 2012

Making Macarons


French Macarons. 

Everyone talks about how difficult they are to master.

There has to be a secret to them and lots of little tricks to perfecting the perfect macaron.

On my quest to find out about all these little tricks, I attended a macaron class at JoJo's Danish Bakery in Edinburgh, accompanied by my lovely cousin Claire (A Kiss of Cookies). I was fizzing up with anticipation and armed with a large tub (after attending an Italian breadmaing class at the bakery, where we made enough bread to feed everyone in the street).

I have to say I am a little disappointed.

Macarons are only meringues with ground almonds folded in. It's one of those secrets, like what really happens during childbirth (don't ask). Well maybe not quite like that, but still......

Honestly!!!



Couldn't someone have mentioned that before? There is plenty of discussion about them. Surely someone could have mentioned they are just almondy meringues and I am a dab hand at making lovely light meringues that are chewy in the middle.

*sigh*

So, back to the class.


I expected great things from the class, as I had enjoyed the breadmaking class so much, but I have to say I was disappointed. There were just too many people booked into the class for such a small room.


At the breadmaking class there were four of us, this time there were fourteen of us.

When Claire and I arrived, slightly late after a jaunt around town, thanks to all the diversions, the girl taking the class, Sayaka, was very surprised. She thought she had a full class.

A very, very full class!

There were too many of us to sit comfortably around the tables. There were five of us sharing those two little round coffee tables. Everyone had to stand up to let me pipe.

There were too many of us to make our own macarons (we made a batch between five of us).

There were too many of us waiting to use the one set of scales and one electric hand mixer.

And...... there were too few macarons. I tried one in the class and went home with four teeny, tiny macarons.

That being said, it was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon and the other folk at our teeny little table were very nice.

So now for some tips:
  • Draw circles before you pipe, so that your macarons are all an even size.
  • Pipe from the middle of the circle and keep squeezing until the mixture spreads out to the edge.
  • Smooth down any little peaks with a wet finger.
  • Bash the tray three times, so any air bubbles will rise to the surface and prevent your macarons from being hollow inside.
  • Rest the macarons for half an hour until the top dries slightly. If the room is warm, they will need less time to rest.
  • Remove from paper when they have cooled a little. To take the macarons of the greaseproof paper, put your hand under the paper and gently massage each macaron. .
  • Never fill with cream, as this will make the macarons soggy. Buttercream is fine.
  • Macarons will last for a week, unfilled.

Disclosure: Claire and I paid for this macaron class. It was not sponsored in any way.

37 comments:

  1. Huh. Interesting I've never tasted a macaron and, despite not having a sweet tooth, have been vaguely curious about them for a while... Almondy meringues sound good! A shame the class was disappointing though.

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    1. They are good Wendy and easy to make. I will post the recipe soon.

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  2. Bit disappointing that they stuffed you all in there so tightly, but at least you still got to do it!

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  3. I'm still impressed! Your macaroons are gorgeous!!

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  4. I've tried twice, without success (my only truly inedible baking to date!), so I'm impressed that you found it so easy :-)

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    1. Oh no, I wonder what went wrong. Have a look at the recipe when I post it.

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  5. My mum has tried for ages and finally found success with macarons - I have had as little interest in macarons as macaroons - they look pretty but I much prefer other sweet treats - but yours look great (I know that feet are important) - and it sound like fun to do a class, though I can imagine a bit more room would be welcome - did they overbook or not have tried that many people in that room before?

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    1. I don't know what happened. I can only think they overbooked. I think the room could only take about 8 comfortably and there there is the one set of scales, one whisk and one oven. Still it was fun.

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  6. Shame about the full class but well done on dispelling the myth!

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    1. Thanks Dom, we will truly see if I have dispelled the myth once I try to make them again, haha :)

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  7. That's the problem with groupon in my experience, they oversell everything and in a situation like this over selling isn't a great thing! I am glad it has demystified macs for you though, I have made quite a few batches of them in my time (still go two loads I need to write posts up for!) and I had also wondered why they seemed to come with the 'daunting' tag applied to them. If you can male a pav or a meringue you can make a mac. The Macs you got to take home though look very profesh.

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    1. To be fair, I don't think it is anything to do with Groupon as I had to get in touch with the bakery to book a place and lots of days were full up. I have had no problems with Groupon so far, lots of good courses, hotels, meals etc. I think the bakery are just booking too many people in.

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  8. Snap! As far as I am concerned, good old Be-Ro macaroons with an almond on top and rice paper underneath are just as good as fancy French macarons! Good for you being s honest Jac! Karen PS: they do look good though!

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    1. Thanks, they were good. I don't know the kind of macaroons you are talking about though. The scottish ones are made with mashed potato, icing sugar and coconut.

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  9. Great tips even if the class was not great!

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  10. Wish I'd been to a class, I had to learn the hard way! Maybe you can teach me how to make meringues too - I am terrible at them. They are the final frontier I need to conquer!

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    1. I think the best tip is to make sure your bowl zinging clean by wiping a cut lemon over it first. Whisk until you have stiff peaks and then fold the sugar in gently a spoonful at a time. Try my meringue recipe.

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  11. I never like classes where you have to share the making - those people won't be in your kitchen with you when you make them at home!
    Your macs look lovely though!

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    1. This is true. I am going to try them again soon :)

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  12. They're very pretty. A shame you had to share with too many people - it never makes for a satisfying experience. Hopefully the bakery will stop overbooking classes because I guess eventually people will stop attending if it gets known for being crowded.

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    1. Hopefully. It has put me off going back.

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  13. I'd have been furious if I had paid for a class and I didn't even get a chance to make my own, or have room to pipe. I have to say I didn't find making macarons too difficult, but I think you can knock the air out of them quite easily.

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    1. Well we were told to give the trays a good bash and they came out well. We will see when I make them myself!

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  14. It's too bad it was so crowded but it still sounds like a fun way to spend the afternoon. I love macaroons!

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    1. It was, but I don't think I will be going back :(

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  15. We're sorry it was overcrowded. New systems have been put in place to stop overbooking now and I am very sorry you had a bad experience.

    As way of apology we would like to offer you and your friend a free class which is valid until March.




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    1. Thanks Jo Jo that is kind of you. I was disappointed, espcially after travelling so far, but it was still a fun day :)

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  16. Thanks for the tips! I'm sure they'll come in handy in a few weeks when my sisters and I are having a macaron-baking competition.

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I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x

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