My quest to start a whoopie pie stand of my very own in a Chicago farmers market.
This past Saturday I attended a pleasant little class on the macaron at The Alliance Française de Chicago taught by Chef Madelaine of Chez Madelaine. We made 3 flavors of macaron shell: vanilla, chocolate, and mocha. We also made a simple chocolate ganache and mocha buttercream to fill the shells.
Pretty chocolate ganache:
We used French meringue to make the shells (French meringue in a class hosted in the most French house in Chicago?! Quelle surprise!) and all we had to do was whip the egg whites for 3 minutes in the KitchenAid to get the solid texture that I’ve been striving for and consistently failing at.
Look at that! Incredible. It makes me wonder about trying to make half and quarter batches. Maybe there just aren’t enough whites in the bowl to get to this point or maybe it’s due to the most useful tip I learned at this class: wipe your beater and bowl with a little vinegar before whipping the egg whites. This serves a dual purpose: it cleans the bowl of any remaining residue or soap and also creates a slightly acidic environment for the egg whites, which is what they prefer according to Madelaine.
Here are some more useful tips I gathered:
1) When making chocolate macaron shells, mix the almond flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder and then dry the mixture out in the oven for a few minutes. THEN sift. Speaking of which, I need to get me a tamis:
2) That plus a bench scraper makes much quicker work than the little bowl sieve I’ve been using.
3) Maybe you actually can’t over mix your batter. Crazy, I know. But I watched another group continue to (over) mix their batter after Madelaine told them it was at the correct texture. And then their shells came out like this:
Which is to say, beautifully. Against all odds!
Here’s Madelaine showing us the “jiggle test,” (which wasn’t something new to me although her devotion to parchment paper over silpats was):
4) Cappuccinos go excellently with macarons.
Here are some more snapshots from class.