Joburg Macaron Class 18 March

Join us at our next macaron class this March in Joburg.

Find all the details and booking form here 

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The Macaron Files : Tip #2/20 – Know Your Almonds

 It’s week 2 in the Macaron Files Series and this week we’re talking Almonds

Almonds are the key ingredient when making macarons, so it follows that you need to know your almonds.

To start, almond flour, almond meal and ground almonds are all the same thing! So don’t be confused if you see them labelled differently in various stores.

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If you choose to buy almond flour
  • Make sure that the almonds are fresh, so  basically they haven’t been sitting on the shelf for too long, because not only will this lead to stale almonds, but also oiliness which is something that you definitely do not want
  • Before using your almond flour you will most likely need to sift it to get out any residual grainy bits. Now, while you can get away with about a tablespoon of slightly rough almond pieces in your mix, any excessively chunky pieces are going to tear not so pretty little hole in your shells or give you a very rough exterior instead of the smooth shiny shell that you are after.
  • If you find that your almonds are oily, the easiest way to rectify this is by running it through the food processor for a bit with some icing sugar. The icing sugar absorbs the oiliness and since it is a part of your recipe, you’re not adding in any foreign ingredients. You could also put the almond flour on a tray and into the oven for a few minutes, but personally I’ve had far too many instances of being distracted and ending up with toasted almond flour so I tend to stick to the icing sugar method.
If you choose you grind your own almonds
  • The first thing that you would need to do is blanch your raw almonds. So, if the skin is still on the almonds, follow the easy steps below.

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  • Now, the tricky party about making your own almond flour is that its very easy to take it a bit too far and create something closer to almond butter than almond flour. The key is to run the almonds through the food processor in short bursts rather than trying to get it done in one go. I use a coffee grinder because I find that I get a finer powder, although it does take a whole lot longer than a food processor because of the restriction on how much you can do at a time.
  • Again, after grinding sift the almond flour to remove and chunky bits.
How to store you almond flour

The best way to store your almond flour, whether you have bought it or ground it yourself, is in an airtight container, either in the fridge or the freezer. Alternately they will also be fine in a cool, dry place. The main thing is to keep them away from heat and humidity. A warm environment will cause the almonds to give off their oil and like I said previously, you don’t want oily almond flour.

If you missed the first post in this series you can find it here : Tip 1/20 – Know Your Oven and look out for the next tip next Wednesday where I talk about the pros and cons of using baking paper vs silicone baking mats.

There are also a few spots left in our Women’s Day Macaron Class on 1 August 2015, so you go here and book.

If you found this tip helpful or have anything to add, please leave a comment. I would love to hear what you have to say.

xxx Viveshni

The Macaron Files: Tip 1/20 – Know Your Oven

Being Madame Macaron I get asked a great many questions about what I do to get the perfect macarons, so I thought that it was about time for this series of posts.
Each week I will be sharing one of my tips for getting the   perfect macarons and hopefully helping you to identify any issues that you may be having with your batches. So, save them , print them, collect them ,and by the end of the series you should have the perfect macarons every time!

One of the most often overlooked factors in making macarons and also one of the most important is your oven. 

There are 3 main factors that will affect your macarons.

1.The Temperature Control
The heat settings on your average home ovens are not always 100% accurate and a few degrees of extra heat can mean the difference between lovely feet that raise your shells up or skirts that frill out around your shells leaving your macaron looking like a rather pretty and tasty doily.
The best way to ensure that your oven is running at the correct temperature is to buy an oven thermometer. If however you aren’t keen on doing that and have some time and patience, you can test your oven by baking a few shells at 20 degrees lower than the required temperature. You would then increase the temperature by 5 degrees for successive batches until your shells form feet and bake in the required time.

2. Even distribution of heat
I went through many a batch of macarons where one half of the tray would be perfectly done but the other half was under baked. I tried a different tray and even different baking paper until I realized that it was a heat distribution problem, where one half of my oven was running hotter than the other. This can also cause lopsided macarons, where only one side of the shell is rising and you’re left with more of a wedge than a lovely symmetrical disc.
The solution to this problem is pretty simple. Half way through the baking process open the oven ( yes you can do that with macarons ) and rotate the tray 180 degrees. This will ensure that all your shells are evenly baked.
3. Using more than 1 shelf at a time
There is one rule that you need to remember when it comes to using more than 1 shelf in your oven and it is that hot air rises and cold air sinks. So the bottom shelf in your oven is always going to be a little cooler than the top and therefore your macarons will need a little extra time than those on the middle shelf. As always though, not every oven is the same and you will need to get a feel for how much longer your shells on the bottom shelf need to stay in for.
Please let me know if this tip helped and if you have any that you’d like to add.

xxx Viveshni

Hello Monday : Eat All The Cake

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Hello Monday!

After a 500 3 week long school holiday the kids are back to school today and life will return to somewhat normal programming.

I have to say that although I did endeavour to take some time off and enjoy the holidays with my girls, it was a very busy period for me filled with many, many cakes, so I don’t really think that that they minded at all.

This Wednesday I will be posting Tip # 2/20 in my Macaron Files series (Know Your Almonds). If you missed the first tip you can find it here.

Then on Friday will be a healthy but delicious recipe from GI Jane in the Blogger Recipe series and somewhere in between I will be sharing my recipe for Gluhwein and my Chocolate Gluhwein Cake. So, stay tuned for an awesome week ahead!

Here are a few photos of my favourite bakes from the past few weeks.

If you’ve seen something that you like, you can always head over to our contact page and send us an enquiry or just leave a comment here to let us know which one you loved the most 🙂

xxx Viveshni

HumpDay Help : Ageing Egg Whites

I haven’t posted a Humpday help post in a while but I thought that it was time to repost one of my most popular ones, the one that brings all the bakers to the yard ( yes, that’s a very corny reference to Kelis’ Milkshake)… This one is macaron related… Ageing Eggs Whites.

There are a lot of macaron recipes that call for aged egg whites, including my own, and you may be like I was and ask what the heck an aged egg is.

Well, aging egg whites basically means separating your egg whites and yolks, and storing your egg whites in a loosely covered container in a cool dry place for 24 – 48 hours. Thereafter you can put it in a fridge in an airtight container.

So why do you have to do this?

The reasoning behind it is to dehydrate the egg whites as much as possible. This adds elasticity to the egg whites and helps you gets a stiffer meringue and the right consistency of batter for the perfect macarons. Just remember, that if you have had the egg whites in the fridge, you need to take them out and let them come to room temperature before using them.

Now I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself that there must be a shortcut, because really, who has 2 days to wait for your egg whites to dehydrate when the macaron craving calls.

Luckily, there is! After a bit of research I found out that if you haven’t had time to leave your egg whites out to age you can pop them into the microwave for about 10 seconds. This mimics the aging process to a degree, but you have to be careful not to put them in for too long. You want dehydrated eggs, not cooked.

I’ve used this method more times than I can count and I have to say that my macarons have actually, on many occasions, turned out better than with just traditionally aged egg whites. There are also a lot of sites that say you don’t have to age your eggs at all. In the end it’s all up to you to try it out and see what works best for you.

So that’s the low down on aging eggs.

Happy Baking!

The Mother’s Day Macaron Class & High Tea 2015

Mother’s Day has come and gone and in the mayhem that preceded the Launch of my classes I forgot this post about my amazing Mother’s Day and the Mother’s Day Class and High Tea. So here it is, better late than never…

As we get older and become parents ourselves it becomes harder to allocate time on days like Mother’s Day between our mothers, our mother-in-laws and then finally ourselves with our kids. So when planning the Mother’s Day Macaron Class & High Tea I had a little bit of a selfish motive. I invited along my mother, my sisters and my mother-in-law to join in the class so that I would get a chance to treat them for Mother’s Day. We had a wonderful group of ladies as always and quite a few mums. The ladies were encouraged to dress up in their most fabulous high tea gear and there was beyond a shadow of a doubt two ladies that met the brief 100%.

The Mother’s Day class was a demo class, so the ladies got to relax while I demonstrated my macaron making technique and shared with them all my secrets. They then had 12 shells waiting for them to fill and decorate. I have to say that this is always the best part of the class for me because the ladies get to release their inner child as they play with the embellishments.

Afterward we all sat down for the high tea. The spread included savoury tarts and phyllo pastry parcels, cupcakes, cakepops, macarons, a chocolate and Bar One Cake, chocolate covered pretzels ( the best thing ever!) and a selection of pastries. I had a wonderful time getting to know a bit about all the ladies and having a laugh as we all shared stories over a cup of tea.

Each lovely lady took home their own tea pot and mug as well as some of the most amazing tea ever that was sponsored by Tea Pigs. They were also surprised with their own bottles of Willow Creek Olive Oil to take home.

The dads can also enjoy their Father’s Day with us at the “Me & My Dad Cupcake Class” on 13 June 2015, 9-12pm. The class is limited to 14 people so please book early.

This is what my Mother’s Day looked like…

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Up, Up and Away… The Media Launch- Madame Macaron at The Dirty Fork

There are times in your life that things seem to fall into place and the signs are all around you, nudging you into new and amazing directions. This year has been one of those times for me. I sometimes, in my rare times of quietness, sit back and marvel at everything that has happened. Building a business is much like a stream etching its way through a mountain until it can become a strong flowing river. It requires patience and perseverance and hard work and there are points where it seems like you will never get there, but little by little you work through it and come out wiser and stronger. I went through a great many rough spots where I felt like throwing in the towel but standing at the front of the kitchen at my very own launch made me so grateful that I stuck it out.

Months of planning finally came to fruition this past Thursday at the official launch of my classes at The Dirty Fork Studio. Thank you to media that attended. I had an amazing, fun time with all of you.

A special thank you to Nadine from The Candy Buffet Company as well for setting up the most adorable candy cart to display all my goodies and to Chef Jacqui Brown for envisioning and creating a venue like the Dirty Fork Kitchen where people can share their passion for food.

A final thank you to my family, who have gone wife-less and mother-less for many days and nights while I toiled away. It is only the beginning of my journey and there is still a long road ahead but I am thankful everyday for such an amazing support system. I love you guys!

The class information and dates have been published here so go to book and I will see you there!

Here are some of the 500+ photos that Justin took on the night…

All set…

During The Class…

Afterward…

Photos From Social Media

Here are 2 of the lovely write ups by Nicola Meyer ( RunOn Coffee) and Inge Loker ( Snap,Sizzle and Cook) about their experience at the Media Launch for the Macaron Classes

xxx Viveshni

The Inaugural Macaron Class

Taking a leap of faith is always a scary business, especially when its wok related. The sweet taste of success, though, is all the more better when it all works out:)

The decision to start doing lessons was something that I deliberated over for a very very long time. I had my moments of self doubt and anxiety, but ultimately I realized that I am good at what I do and I love sharing my passion with others. So that is just what I did! I had the aprons and tote bags printed, the note books made and sent out the booking information for the classes.IMG_5360IMG_5451IMG_5404-0IMG_5355-0

My first class took place last Saturday ( 11 April 2015) at The Dirty Fork Kitchen Studio in Durban North. Let me start by saying that the kitchen is AHmazing! Although it was not 100% smooth sailing ( teething problems are inevitable), it was, in my eyes, a great success. My goal was to create the type of class that I would want to attend. So a relaxed, fun and informative environment. I was lucky to have an amazing group of enthusiastic and fun ladies who were ready to learn and not shy to ask questions.

While waiting for the macarons to rest and then come out of the oven the ladies were treated to a presentation by Kirsty-Anne from Peg&Pencil who showed us all a few great ideas on how to gift our macarons.The gift packs that she has put together are amazing and made the stationery addict in me squeal in delight! I mean, how can you not love the macaron gift tags! She is seriously talented so go check out her website.

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After some coffee, tea, cupcakes and macarons ,and of course some chatter, the ladies were ready to get their macarons out of the oven and the results were phenomenal. For many of the ladies, this was their first time making macarons, but they had beautiful feet and lovely shiny shells (yay!!). Everyone had a chance to get in touch with their inner child and decorate their macarons.(something that is a favourite activity of mine.)

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We never really know what the future holds for us, we can only keep an eye on the prize and work toward it. Teaching the class was awesome and the look on the ladies’ faces when they had their perfect macarons at the end makes me wish that I could do a class every day. All in all it was a fabulous morning. I had an amazing time imparting my knowledge to the ladies that attended and I’m looking forward to the next class on the 25th.

The next class is next Saturday, 25 April. There are 3 seats left if you would like to learn the art of macaron making and have fun while doing it. There is also a special interactive Mother’s Day demo class and High Tea on 9 May 2015 and on the drawing board are classes on macaron fillings, novelty macarons, cake baking and cupcakes.

I will be doing a follow up post on the feedback from the ladies that attended the class as well as one showcasing the amazing set up by Kirsty-Anne and the styled photo shoot that she did using my macarons.

Also use #MMacaronClass to see what else happened at the class and to checkout future classes!

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Photo credit: Featured photo – Peg&Pencil