Monday, March 18, 2013

Out & About: Parisian Macarons

Pink Macaron with Vanilla Buttercream

At Christmas I like to try out at least one new recipe, and I usually try going against the average Christmas cookie recipes available. This past Christmas we took a shot at making those beautiful, little french cookies - macarons. After two tries we were moderately successful and very proud of our petite delights. They weren't perfect, but they still looked cute and tasted great. Since then we've been discussing how to make them just right, and looking through various recipes and books to figure out how we could perfect our macarons. So a couple months ago my mother and I decided to sign ourselves up for an afternoon class at Le Cordon Bleu. They have an extensive list of short courses available to the public and I was eager to try some out, but given the high price we had to narrow it down to just one. We chose "La Ronde des Macarons".

Chef Jocelyn preparing the cookie shells.

The class begins with a demonstration for both the cookie shells and fillings by two pastry chef instructors of France origins. They were both funny and knowledgable and taught us the exact process to making the perfect macarons - including the history, timing, and science behind them. I took as many notes as I could so that in the practical portion, I could replicate their creations.

Making the buttercream filling.

Next we're sent up to the kitchens and given ingredients, tools and uniforms to start the process. It was great to be able to ask questions to the chefs along the way to ensure we were doing things properly and that our cookies would turn out just right. I chose to make pink macarons with vanilla buttercream filling and Mom chose beige macarons with coffee buttercream filling. We were both very happy with the end result and now have a house swimming in macarons! It was the perfect afternoon for learning something new, having some fun, and eating something delicious.

This recipe is very simliar to the one we used however based on what I've learned, here are my suggestions:
- Heat the oven to 250 F
- Add a small pinch of cream of tartar to the eggs before beating, this helps them to form the soft peaks you're looking for
- During the deflating process (step 5), add the food colouring of your choice half way through
- Let the macarons rest for at least half an hour
- Do not open the oven before 10 minutes of baking have passed. At 10 minutes rotate the baking tray and bake for another 10 minutes for a total of 20 minutes baking time. 

Beige Macarons with Coffee Buttercream.


  1. This is a dumb question, but is the shell part more crunchy or cakey? (I can't believe I've never had a macaron!) This post reminds me of My Life in France, have you read it?!

    1. The shell is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, so best of both worlds! You should go eat some! I read My Life in France just after Christmas and I loooved it haha, Julia Child is so funny, I think I could be her friend.