Ahh, the famous French macarons*. Someone once joked to me, “You study computer science? You look like the kind of girl who shops at Ladurée!” I corrected him saying that engineers can wear dresses too (just head over to Fibonacci Sequins Blog), and excusez-moi, I prefer Pierre Hermé.
I’ve always wanted to know the secret to making delicious macarons, so I was thrilled when Bon Appetour invited me and other Parisian bloggers to take a class. Bon Appetour is kind of the “AirBnB of food”, connecting you with local chefs to enjoy authentic, home-cooked dishes, usually in the comfort of their own home. This is perfect because I love touring Parisian apartments and seeing how other people decorate their homes.
Our macaron class was hosted in the beautiful flat of Bénédicte from The Parisian Kitchen. She has an impeccable sense of style, displayed in her home decor and food presentation. We arrived to this beautiful setting and enjoyed the cutest little meringues and chouquettes to start off the afternoon.
You can imagine all us bloggers oooh-ing, ahhh-ing, and staging our Instagram photos. It turns out there are actually two types of macarons: French and Italian. Italian ones are more cookie-like (and are more difficult to make), whereas French macarons have a more chewy texture. Of course I prefer the French ones!
We started off mixing together flour, sugar, and almonds, along with other ingredients that make up meringues. Fun fact: macaron shells are actually all made the same except for the food coloring you choose to add. The taste difference is all in the filling at the center. I could have sworn lemon macaron shells tasted different than raspberry ones, but I guess my mind was just playing tricks on me.
After blending together the ingredients, we measured out little squares on wax paper and created a checkerboard of macaron shells. The oven temperature, consistency, and timing has to be just right otherwise the shells will crack. I was a little rough with mine, as you can see by the imperfections. I say they have “personality.”
We baked raspberry, lemon, and caramel-flavored macarons. These treats actually aren’t too troublesome to make, as long as you have a nice weighing scale for measuring ingredients and a proper oven. There’s none of this cup measurement “silliness” like we have in the US; most French recipes call for weighing things on a scale instead.