Monday, September 27, 2010

Making macarons

I’ve had my fair share of macarons in Paris (47 in one day??). I hosted the macaron smackdown, trying to decide who made the very best in town. I figured it was time to learn how to make them. So I took La Cuisine Paris’ macaron class.

And I will never complain about paying two euros for a three-bite snack again.

I knew these little beauties were tricky business. But I didn’t realize all the little things that can go wrong. Everything from the sugar type to egg white measurement, to the oven’s accuracy to the weather can affect their outcome (“Humidity is the enemy of macarons,” Diane, our instructor told us—and it was rainy outside.). They’re finicky, requiring many individual steps, a good deal of baking experience and experimentation, and a lot of time on your feet.

The ten of us in class took challenge seriously.

We measured the egg whites and butter and combined the cream and chocolate…

We followed instructions for the proper sifting, folding and whipping techniques…

We proceeded with the deliberate pastry piping execution to get the shiny, crackly cookie croute and proper foot (that little bumpy edge).

We filled half with dark chocolate and raspberry jam; the other half was white chocolate and raspberry. The cookies themselves, I learned aren’t flavored; it’s all in the filling.

They weren’t exactly the prettiest specimens. But, being as they were a Pierre Hermé recipe, they were pretty tasty.

And mine, gone in about two minutes.


  1. I'm impressed. Apparently those tasty little suckers are hard to make.

    There's a better way to get homemade macarons -- I found a kid's macaron-making class! I'm going to put Big Fry to work, heh heh.

    La Mom
    An American Mom in Paris

  2. So are you going to bring that recipe home with you? YUM! xoxo

  3. WOWZA!!!
    BRAVO PH macs to boot!!
    and a double parfum!
    did you age ze egg whites?
    48-72 heurs?

  4. ps
    I'll be making citron et chocolat
    the power of the written word!

  5. I just found your blog via parisbreakfast!!! Woweee, i luv it! CHEERS! Michele

  6. you made my day by telling how humid weather can influence the outcome of macarons... I made some yesterday....not a big succes.... Not like other times I have made them. Well, you can't win them all:)
    And bravo for your macarons. They look perfect and delicious!

  7. Merci, mes amis! They were certainly delicious but I think I am too impatient to attempt macarons chez-moi. La Mom, since I don't have any fries, I will be forced to continue supporting M. Hermé, the Ladurée empire and all the small patisseries. Oh well, there are worse fates, n'est-ce pas??

    Carol, we skipped and/or ignored many of the rules of thumb for proper macaron-making since it was a two-hour course. But our instructor did say it's good to use egg whites that had been separated a day or two in advance, but we cracked and separated on the spot.

    Erin, thanks for the kind words and, Cafe Creme, I'm sure yours were delicious too! Humidity be damned!

    Et, Pug, bienvenue!!

  8. Hello. You are right, Macarons recipes are pretty hard to learn in a two hours class. But with good instructor you can achieve it. For example, my wife and I took a Macaron Cours at Le Foodist ( and under the guidance of Amanda we achieved perfect Macarons, so I recommend it.