Friday, June 15, 2012

I Macaronage, You Macaronage

Nothing is better or busier than summer and although I am sadly STILL behind on the blog, I am having so much fun, don't worry eventually I will catch up... I think. I am trying to catch up, and for the next few days I have no plans, aka that means I will finally have a chunk of time to dedicate to catching up. Be prepared for a deluge of posts. Life has been BUSY and I have so much to share with all of you!

Rogue Woman

The Macaron craze is all over LALA land. And when I say Macaron I mean the delicate little French cookie and not the standard US Coconut Macaroon. There are some debates on how to spell Macaron or Macaroon; Macaroon is appropriate in the US but since everyone gets it confused with the Coconut Macaroons people are using Macaron now, with one ‘o’, to show the difference. Anyways Macaron comes from the Italian word Maccherone which means ‘fine dough’. These cookies are known for their difficulty in creating and I have been wanting to learn how to tackle them.

So when Mrs. Dancer and I were brainstorming fun things to do when Ms. Ivey came to town and we found a French Macaron cooking class at Sur La Table we immediately booked our spots. Macaron cooking funness sounded like a fantastic idea! There were about 10 other people in the class and our instructor jumped right in. She first demonstrated how to make them, talking about the theories, the different ways to create the meringue base and the common problems that people run into when trying to make these delicate cookies. We all stood around the main counter listening attentively.


After showing us a few tips and tricks she split us into groups of four so we could put the teachings into practice. Each table had a cookie side and a filling side. With a recipe to follow and our ingredients all premeasured we were ready to all dig our hands in and start working.


It is so nice to take a class, to have someone else show you what to do and then to be there when things go awry. I don’t know how many times I have called my mother or looked on the internet in frustration wishing that someone would just come fix whatever what wrong with the recipe I was cooking. Ms. Ivey and I ran into trouble right away. We were making a ganache filling for the pistachio cookies we were baking and well the chocolate was separating in a bad way. We re-read the instructions and we were confused, everything seemed right. We called over the instructor and were relieved to find out that our recipe portions were incorrect. After adjusting a few items we were back in business with a perfect filling.


After Ms. Ivey and I completed our filling we swapped sides of the table and started making our batch of macaron cookies. Mixing, measuring, taste testing to make sure the dough was good and in general making a mess we all finished at both stations.



Using a pastry bag we had to pipe the cookies out using a template below parchment paper. Getting the hang of filling the circles without leaving trails of dough was a bit hard but finally all our dough was piped. We were given a quick break while the aides cooked the cookies.



When we came back there were plates of cookies and bags of filling for us to assemble all the cookies. Each group made a different flavor so we had our pistachio batch paired with chocolate ganache, we had a banana batch with banana crème filling, and an almond paired with a hazelnut buttercream. Oh yea the fruits of our labor, hundreds of adorable perfect French Macron cookies.



My favorite part was the taste testing but after a few we packed up the rest. It was lunch time and we were all sugared out. We all had SO MUCH FUN.



Since we had such a sugar rush from too many cookies and since we were starving for some real food we headed over to the Farmers Market. Filled with tons of little mom and pop food stalls from greek to Mexican to Japanese to Cajun there were plenty of options for everyone. Ms. Ivey and Mrs. Dancer jumped on the Mexican stand while I wandered over for some super yummy authentic Greek food. With a Gyro and a plate full of hummas with warm pita I was a happy camper. Nothing like a little taste to remind me of my fantastic trip to Greece a few years ago. Ahhhhh a perfect afternoon lunch.


After lunch we had planned to go to LACMA and see some art exhibits and then enjoy the free jazz concert they were holding but we were exhausted. Instead we decided on a quiet night at home, we hit up a few stores for some food and drinks and planned for a quiet night at home making pizzas.


Besides a night home allowed me to play with the new blender. On the way out of our cooking class I couldn’t help but purchase the blender we were using in class. It is a Vitamix 300 and that machine chopped up EVERYTHING we threw at it. After rave reviews from the teacher about hers at home, after using it and loving it and after thinking about our sad oh so crappy blender at home that was on its last leg I had to get one. Of course as Ms. Ivey put it, you can’t really call it a blender, it is sort of an insult because this machine is so much more. Therefore we are calling it the bad ass destroyer of all. AKA the new margarita creator. An awesome end to an awesome day.



Jennifer Arens said...

Everything looks superb!

paul peggy zeus said...

I too thought you meant the coconut Macaroons, which are my favs!! lol, I didn't even know about the other kind. You girls have such good times together.

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