living a well tended life... at any age

french macarons (and an egg cream) on the lower east side

High on my “D.I.Y.” list is macarons – you know, those gorgeous, pastel-colored sugary confections that are seemingly everywhere these days. And if you follow me on Instagram you know full well that I am helpless in the face of a big glass case of these beauties – no matter where I find them:

laduree

dominique ansel bakery

macaron parlour

laduree

But even though I consider myself a pretty confident and experienced baker, I’ve shied away from making macarons at home. I’ve looked at lots of different recipes and there seems to be a vast range of techniques – as well as lots of opportunities for failure.

So when I came upon a French macaroon (or “macaron”) class, taught by Jerome Chang – executive chef of Dessert Truck – I was in. I figured that the right teacher would demystify the process, work out all the potential pitfalls, and provide the kind of hands-on demonstration and instruction that you just can’t get from even the best cookbook.

dessert truck macaron class

I signed up Chelsea and myself and we headed downtown for our class. We started the evening at Katz’s Delicatessen – a culinary institution that’s been around since 1888, and the site of “that scene” in “When Harry Met Sally”:

katz's delicatessen

katz's delicatessen

katz's delicatessen

What – doesn’t everyone have 2 franks and an egg cream before baking macarons?

But I digress.

The class was fantastic, and exactly what I was hoping for – lots of tips and tricks and interestingly, so much easier than I anticipated. We learned about egg whites (old ones beat up better than fresh), the best way to incorporate sugar and egg whites (heat them up), and how to know when they’re ready to bake (the sides should be completely dry and firm).

dessert truck macaron class

dessert truck macaron class

dessert truck macaron class

dessert truck macaron class

The cookies need to air-dry for quite some time prior to baking, so we didn’t actually get to see our finished product. Instead, we filled a batch that had already been baked, choosing from an assortment of delicious fillings – Nutella, praline, passion fruit and the very best salted caramel I’ve ever had (the recipe for which he would NOT divulge).

dessert truck macaron class

dessert truck macaron clas

We each got to take home a box of macarons and I am so excited to try them myself – stay tuned!

11 Comments

  1. Melanie on June 21, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Oh…my…God. Now I want macarons for breakfast. Nutella macarons? Seriously? Sigh. Plus, macarons are so pretty. They make great photography subjects. 🙂

    • sherisilver on June 21, 2012 at 8:33 am

      Right? I’m hoping mine will be as photogenic….and Nutella is a breakfast spread, right?

  2. Michelle on June 21, 2012 at 8:52 am

    My mouth is watering! I really have to get back to Manhattan!

  3. Elisabeth on June 21, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    I miss that lower east side. Can you pass by the cheese shop for me?!

    • sherisilver on June 21, 2012 at 8:41 pm

      There’s a cheese shop? Where? The only one I know is Murray’s, in the Village – do share!

  4. Hotly Spiced on June 21, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    I love macarons and there are just so many wonderful colours and flavours. They are so pretty too. I think though that when you do a cooking class and you’re given a taste test that the chef should share that recipe. If he didn’t want to give you the salted caramel recipe he shouldn’t have let you try that macaron and instead given you something else. But, I’m glad it was a great day out and you learned some valuable tricks to making these tricky treats! xx

    • sherisilver on June 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      I’ll figure out that salted caramel yet………xo

  5. Caroline on June 22, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    OH. MY. WORD.

    First of all, YES to the two franks and egg cream! I feel right at home now. Secondly, I am terrible cook. And part of my problem is that I am not organized enough to plan out my recipes (I mean, beyond the very basics). But I do enjoy cooking when I have time. Maybe when the kids are older? I think a class like this would help me. This looks AWESOME. I loved seeing the whole process–fascinating! I can’t wait to see how the take-home box turned out!

    • sherisilver on June 22, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      LOVE that you love the franks/egg cream!! And I wish I had half the craftiness and creativity that you do!! xo

  6. Annapet on June 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    So happy to find your blog, via Twitter. I cannot resist macarons wherever I go. If I chance upon a bakeshop offering these treats, I still try. San Francisco still doesn’t have a good macaron shop. Sigh. But that’s just my opinion. Who cares what I say other than my dogs. 🙂 Glad to “meet” another mom, macaron fan, and gardener!

    • sherisilver on June 24, 2012 at 9:00 am

      Oh I feel just the same! Will be making my first “batch” soon and will give a full report; wish me luck! 🙂

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