One of the greatest things about being home for the holidays (aside from seeing my family and friends, of course) is being at home in the kitchen with a KitchenAid mixer. Baking is my happy place. Ever since taking a technical macaron course in Paris, I’ve wanted to make some more macarons and knew this would be my first project in the kitchen.
While I was in Paris, I purchased 2 baking mats, an 8” piping tip, ground almonds and powdered coloring for my future macaron endeavors. We used the most amazing sifter (I hate sifting!!) in my course that fit around the bowl and you just used the palm of your hand to sift straight into the bowl. No mess, and much easier. Unfortunately, they were sold out of these. Well, maybe fortunately because I barely was able to fit all the stuff I had as it was on the plane home, but anyways…
That particular Friday morning, I woke up on a mission to make some macarons. I got out the KitchenAid, the ingredients, my apron and the recipes. I had forgotten the recipes were in grams, and Americans don’t tend to think in grams. Thankfully, my mom has a kitchen scale, which as I’ve been told is the correct way to measure ingredients regardless, being that it’s the most exact method. Quite frankly, it’s actually easier and I’m a total convert. I’ve owned a kitchen scale for years, but only now has it moved up my list of most useful kitchen gadgets.
We didn’t have a digital thermometer, so I opted for the French meringue method for the shells. And red coloring. For Christmas, naturally. I also find the French meringue easier, however, the Italian meringue is meant to be a more stable and safe meringue, as the eggs are tempered, but it’s also a bit more complex.
The whole process went relatively smoothly and I think they turned out quite nicely. I decided on chocolate ganache for the filling because chocolate is my favorite, and it seems to last the longest without making the cookies soggy (for lack of a better description). I did learn however, that if you don’t own a convection oven, you can only bake one tray at the time, or your bottom try will turn out deformed. Oops! They still tasted fine.
Since Danielle was out of school for the break, she came over one afternoon and I taught her how to make macarons. This time we went with Grinch green coloring for Christmas. This was a much more successful baking experience than when we were in Argentina and made our first cake without butter, or an oven! Now that I have two post-course batches under my belt, I’m going to get a digital thermometer and try the Italian meringue next. Stay tuned.