Although I have been on a bit of an Italian kick as of late, I am a Francophile first and foremost. What better way to rekindle my first love, than to attend the “Oh La La! – French Macarons” class with Chef Renee Jackson at the Cook’s Warehouse this past Sunday. This was my first time attending a class at Cook’s, typically I am on the other side of the counter cooking and helping Chef Nancy with one of her classes. I must say, it was fun being a student for the afternoon, learning the art of making the colorful French macaron’s that are all the rage. But most importantly, I got to spend the afternoon with some of my new favorite people and support another chef who’s passion clearly shines through in her baking.
We were cautioned at the beginning of the class that the macaron is not a hard cookie to prepare, but rather, it was a temperamental cookie. The basic macaron recipe is fairly simple to prepare. It’s nothing more than egg whites, superfine sugar, almond meal and powdered sugar. Precise measurements and a calibrated oven are essential. Well, precise and calibrated are not adjectives that best describe my cooking style. I am more of a “pinch of this” and a “pinch of that” kind of cook. I suppose this is the “precise” reason that I am not a baker. No worries, we were all here for fun, so let the baking begin.
We were given this basic macaron recipe from the book Mad About Macaron’s, by Jill Colonna.
150g Egg Whites, aged at least two day, at room temperature
100g Superfine Sugar
180g of Almond Meal/Flour
270g Powdered Sugar
Step 1: Line baking sheets with parchment paper
Step 2: Place almond flour and powdered sugar in food processor and pulse 4-5 times. Sift dry ingredients using sieve into mixing bowl. (when making flavored shells, add the flavoring during this step.
Step 3:Whisk the room temperature egg whites into glossy firm peaks, adding the superfine sugar gradually. If coloring the shells, add at the very end of this step. Use powdered or gel food coloring as liquid will change the consistency of the batter.
Step 4: Fold the beaten egg whites into the dry ingredients using a large spatula. Mix well. The result should be a cake batter consistency. Do not over mix.