On Saturday I went to a macaron baking lesson. I had never attempted macarons before, unsure I wanted to deal with the complexity I had so often been forewarned about. To my pleasure, however, the baking of macarons wasn’t so difficult as I had imagined! They were finicky, to be sure, and I wouldn’t have wanted to attempt them for the first time alone, with no idea of what I was doing, but being instructed on the technique made these delicate little treats perfectly reasonable.
I learned that there are actually two different types of macarons – a French meringue base and an Italian meringue base. The French meringue were what we did in the class, although the instructor did later demonstrate the making of a Italian meringue macaron, and we were given recipes for both to attempt later at home. The Italian meringue is a bit more complex to make, given the fact that you must heat the sugar to exactly the right temperature, but it then becomes the less finicky macaron to make and put together. The French meringue macaron must be mixed just so, otherwise you’ll ruin your batch and they won’t cook properly.
The Italian meringue will make a smoother biscuit, and for this reason is probably the one typically found in high-end eateries, while the French meringue gives the biscuit a bit of a grainy texture to it. Biting into it, a French meringue macaron will be more chewy, while an Italian meringue macaron is more crunchy. Preference between the two goes to the individual. Frankly, if it’s a macaron I’m eating, I am content either way – it’s a macaron after all! Although I might be slightly more partial to the French meringue macaron, given that those were the first kind I ever tried, back in France.
I had a lot of fun at the class, and I can’t wait to now start attempting to make all kinds of different macarons, using different colours and flavours and fillers. You can expect a macaron tutorial soon! And my household must now prepare themselves for an over flux of macaron baking, which I don’t think they will be opposed to in the slightest. If anyone is interested in taking the class themselves, and they’re in the area, go to French Made Baking and see about their classes (or find a similar location in your own area). What was great about their class was along with taking home your own creations, you also got six of their professionally made macarons for your snacking pleasures, the recipes for both types of macarons, ingredients to make a second batch at home plus some equipment to do so with!
Here’s a sneak peak at my first attempt to make macarons:
And boy were they tasty! I’ll be back soon with a step by step guide to making macarons! (Once I’ve finessed them a little more myself 😉 )