Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Macaron Making We Go with Taste Tripping!

Amazing breakfast by @ACanadianFoodie
Macarons aren't called the Diva cookie for nothing as we found out this past Saturday. Taste Tripping offers a variety of different cooking classes, and is owned and operated by the vivacious @ACanadianFoodie, also of the blog A Canadian Foodie. This winter, they are hosting two macaron making classes to teach interested and adventurous bakers how to make this deliciously delicate pastry. Unfortunately dear reader, both classes are sold out at the moment.

Piped Macaron Shells
The class is an all morning venture, and although 9am seems awfully early to be up and functioning on a Saturday morning....fear not! Upon arriving at @ACanadianFoodie's home, she welcomed us in, ushered us into her kitchen, offered us freshly brewed coffee, orange juice, homemade biscotti, yogurt, granola and freshly baked biscuits complete with apricot preserves and rhubarb jam! A delicious breakfast to start the day, giving us energy to tackle the task ahead! I was also thrilled to finally meet Beavie, who lives with @ACanadianFoodie. It's rare to find another Faux Fur with the same appreciation for food!

The class is hands on and very informal, and with @ACanadianFoodie creating such an inviting and homey atmosphere for all her students, it made everyone feel comfortable and instantly at ease. How could one not considering how warm and friendly she is?

Lemon Zest for Lemon Macaron Filling
@MirabelleMacs had done quite a lot of prep ahead of time to ensure that all the students would have the time and opportunity to actually make macaron shells and fill them for themselves. With everyone split into groups, we were both talked and walked through all the steps involved in the art of macaronage (ie. the act of creating macaron batter).  Although it can seem complicated and finicky, the completed product is deliciously rewarding!

The main thing we learned that day is the importance of getting the egg whites right. Egg whites are the basis of the shell batter and if the first step doesn't go well - as we found out for ourselves - all the work that follows is disheartening.

Filling Macaron Shells
Firstly, egg whites must be aged, beat at room temperature, and beat until frothy before you start adding anything to them. Once the egg whites are frothy, slowly add sugar and cream of tartar to stiffen the whites. When the mixture resembles a marshmallow type texture, food coloring can be added. Next, fold in the almond and icing sugar by hand, being very careful to just incorporate the dry ingredients. Do not under or over mix. Once the batter is done, you can pour it into a piping bag with a large round tip, and pipe it into circles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow this to sit until the mixture is tacky to the touch, then bake in the oven at 300F for up to 15 minutes. @MirabelleMacs recommends that about 3 minutes in, once the macarons have started to develop feet (the ruffled edge at the bottom of the macaron shell), you cover it with aluminum foil with large holes in it. Once baked, remove the shells from the oven and let them cool completely before filling.

Me and Beavie with Lemon Macarons!
Next we made the filling, today it was a lemon butter cream and a green tea butter cream. Ganaches are often commonly used, but take much longer to make and couldn't be done within the time allotted for the class. The filling is where the flavor lies within a macaron. @MirabelleMacs explained that the shells are rarely flavoured and it is the filling that infuses the shells with flavour when allowed to mature for 2 days after they are filled. Maturing means allowing the cookies to sit, uneatened, in the fridge for 2 days so the flavor soaks into the shell.....  That takes a lot of will power! Note that there is quite a bit of butter in butter cream....  just incase you didn't know that. Some classmates were amazed at the amount of butter that went into the filling.

This particular butter cream recipe is made by whisking sugar and egg whites in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once all of the sugar is dissolved, it is put into a stand mixer and whisked until it turns into a meringue. At this point, switch to a flat beater and add the butter a bit at a time until it is incorporated. Next you add your flavouring, in this case one batch was made with lemon zest and some lemon juice, the other batch was made with matcha powder for the green tea filling. Once it's smooth, you can put it into a piping bag.

Our loot from the class!
Next, take your cooled shells, flip them upside down and pair the shells with another of a similar size. Fill one shell of each pair with your filling, put the shells together and voila! You have a macaron!

Overall, it was a fantastic class! Thanks to @ACanadianFoodie for being a wonderful host, for feeding us, making the class fun, and giving us great baking and piping tips throughout the class. Thanks to @MirabelleMacs for being such a great teacher and sharing her secrets with us! I am looking forward to both my next Taste Tripping class, as well as my attempt to make macarons on my own.

More photos of the macaronage process at PhotoBucket!

For those interested in purchasing macarons, check out @MirabelleMacs website for ways to order. She can also be found at the City Market on some Saturdays.

Mirabelle Macarons
Twitter: @MirabelleMacs

For those interested in cooking classes offered by Taste Tripping, check out their website for listings, descriptions, and instructions on how to register.

Taste Tripping by A Canadian Foodie
Twitter: @TasteTripping @ACanadianFoodie


  1. What a beautiful and informative post. I learned so much from Connie - eventhough have been through my own struggle to Master the Art of the Elusive French Macaron!
    Beave was thrilled to meet you and loves the photo of him with Marlow. He is actually lying on his back doing a very unsightly tail slap right now enraptured by the post.
    (PS - I wish you had the option for me to comment as A Canadian Foodie instead of only through my google account. I forget which option it is, but you haven't made it available here)

  2. Thanks for the comments Valerie. I'll have to get my technical support to look at how to turn that option on. It was great finally meeting Beavie and it was such a fun class!

  3. Sounds like an awesome experience. Lucky you Marlow!!


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