This last weekend I attended a macaron class at the Hot Stove Society with my granny Ann. It was taught by a French pastry chef Antoine Rondenet. We had so much fun! I have never done a class like this and I hope it is not my last. With the group of about 15-20 each table made 2 macaron flavors and then we each took a bunch of each other’s macarons home. The flavors included: pumpkin (my flavor, yay!), cream cheese, lemon, chocolate, cranberry and pistachio. I like pumpkin and pistachio the best.
So first the chef showed us how to make pistachio macarons in a demonstration and we took notes and then we all went and did it in pairs. Overall, I learned that macarons are as delicate as I originally thought and it’s not too hard to make decent looking ones. I am excited to make some fun flavors at home.
How to make the macaron shells:
First, a few tips/facts:
- The flavor in a macaron always comes from the filling, not the cookie. This surprised me!
- For food coloring, for the cookie, you can use gel-based food coloring which we did in the class because it binds well with the non-fatty ingredients. Use liquid or powder for the filling though. Also, do not use the wilton brand, the best brand is Chef Master which you can buy on Amazon.
- 1 egg white = approx. 30 grams; 400g of egg whites = 1g food coloring; 200g egg whites = 1/2g
- If you want to use carton egg whites, just make sure they add gum into them
- Put almond flour and powdered sugar in a bowl together and then sift together (do it over parchment paper) and throw away any gritty leftovers.
- Put room temp. egg whites in the mixer bowl and mix on high until frothy, add white sugar slowly into egg whites, then add food coloring (*make sure the color is quite strong because you will lose some in the baking process!).
- Mix egg whites until super stiff.
- Put half of the powdered sugar/almond flour mix and fold it into the egg whites by hand with a spatula gently, once that is mostly incorporated, add the other half and fold until incorporated and everything is mixed together.
- Now it’s time to “macaron” your mixture! Keep mixing by hand to collapse egg whites so you will have a crust on your cookies instead of meringue. Batter should be shiny, runny but not liquid. It took us only about one more mixing to achieve this but it can vary.
- Start piping your batter onto a piece of parchment paper! 1cm 805 tip is what we used for the piping bag (*tip = tuck the bag inside the tip and use a bowl scraper to get batter in bag). To pipe, put tip down, press, release and move on, I like to do it to the side a bit. Macarons should be about the size of a quarter and if they have little peaks, shake the pan a little to get them down. If they are super peak-y, it means you over-mixed (over-macaroned).
- Now let them crust/dry until you can touch the middle of a blob and your finger is dry. This will work faster if you put them in a warm place like on the oven. This can take from 10mins – 24 hours. Ours took about 25 minutes, it was cold and wet outside so that factors in to.
- Now bake! For dark colors bake at 320 for 7 minutes; for light colors bake at 300 for 10 minutes. Rotate halfway through and if they look really un-done, leave on the pan after taking it out to bake a little more.
How to make buttercream
150g egg whites
350g butter * should be between 90-100 degrees F ideally. Add cold butter to hot meringue and room temp to cooled down meringue
- Cook water and sugar in a small pot on high to 250 degrees fahrenheit (I would use a thermometer but if you don’t have one, it is done when the liquid is white and you can make a soft ball with the sugar
- Mix egg whites in a mixer on high
- Pour cooked sugar in with egg whites while still mixing. This is an Italian meringue right now.
- Wash the sugar pot you used right away so it’s easy to clean!
- Put mixer on medium and add room temp butter, the meringue will deflate and that is okay, put mixer back up to high
- Mix until butter binds and mixture looks like buttercream frosting should
- Now is when you can add flavor! Chef added 50g pistachio paste and a little green food coloring for this one.
All of the macarons crusting:
Showing us how to make chocolate-caramel filling:
Our pumpkin filling:
Our first tray got a little too brown!
The second had good color but little peak-y and crack-y
Piping the filling!
Our neighbors macaron bottoms came out perfect which chef said was very rare
Macarons to take home
Post-class lunch at The Pink Door, pesto lasagna for me
Fresh tomato pasta with burrata cheese for Ann
A side of yummy broccolini