Whoop(s)ie! This blog needs a new name!

My quest to start a whoopie pie stand of my very own in a Chicago farmers market.

Macsperiment #9/Macaron School

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:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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):

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4) Cappuccinos go excellently with macarons.

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Here are some more snapshots from class.

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I piped the middle two rows!

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my middle two rows - beautiful!

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why can't I get feet like that?

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chocolate shells with chocolate ganache

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chocolate with ganache, chocolate (minus red food dye) with ganache, vanilla with mocha buttercream, and vanilla with raspberry jam

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2 comments on “Macsperiment #9/Macaron School

  1. spree
    January 20, 2012

    Ok, I’ll admit something to you but you must promise to tell no one. I’ve never tasted a macaroon. I know. I’m one of seven in the country who hasn’t. Because I live far far from Chicago, chances are, I’ll never taste yours either. So give me a hint, will you, as to what they’re like? Why is the world so crazy for macaroons? I’m definitely ready to be sold on them!

    • macmaker
      January 21, 2012

      Haha…don’t feel bad. I would say most people I’ve met have never tried a macaron. I think they’re really catching on because they’re so versatile – you can play around with the flavors of the fillings and cookies and make up some great combos (similar to the versatility and now popularity of the cupcake). They’re also adorable, and they have a texture that is very unique. Because the cookie shells are made with meringue, ideally they have a thin outer shell and a soft and chewy interior. Hard to describe. If you ever stumble upon some, I encourage you to give them a try, but they’re pretty hard to do well, so try as many as possible!

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