Join us at our next macaron class this March in Joburg.
Find all the details and booking form here
So, starting this week I will be picking up on the blog series that I started last year. 2016 was and still is a year that has kept me extremely busy, hence the lack of activity on the blog side of things.
I will be kicking it all off with the 3rd installment of the Macaron Files, on Wednesday. If you missed the first 2, you can do a bit of catching up here…
I also have a delicious recipe from Faeema, better known as Fay in The Maze that I’ve been keeping to myself for a while now for my Blogger Recipe Series.
There is so much left to share and I am happy to have you here with me!
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.
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.
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!
Here are some of the 500+ photos that Justin took on the night…
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.
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.
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.)
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!
Photo credit: Featured photo – Peg&Pencil
Did you hear… It’s no April’s Fool Joke… Bookings are open for the Macaron Classes.
11 April is almost fully booked but there are still 3 spaces available for now. There are 8 spaces for the 25th. If you have a group of friends, why not make a group booking for the 2-5pm slot!
Book here and avoid disappointment! I can’t wait to see you there!
Valentines Day is just over 2 weeks away and if you haven’t sorted out a gift for your sweetheart as I may have something that will have them eating out of the palm of your hand.
Who doesn’t love red velvet? Make it a macaron and dip them in chocolate or into brownies with a swirl of cream cheese baked in and every bite is like heaven! Or if you looking for something with a bit of variety, why not try the Box of Love, filled with cake pops, macarons and brownies and a mini layer cake. Add some beautiful packaging, and there’s no way you can go wrong.
Orders close on 7 February 2014, so be sure to get your order in on time.