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