Learning How to Make French Macarons

I don’t know about you but I am completely obsessed French macarons. I think I even have my boyfriend addicted to them. Our obsession is so bad that we can’t go into one of the local malls without purchasing a box of these sweet cookies to take home. That box never lasts more than a few days either.

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When I heard that a local chocolate shop was teaching a class on how to make French macarons, I decided that I needed to enroll … immediately! As much as I love these cookies, I have been scared to attempt to make on my own. I have heard how difficult they can be and I don’t want to ruin my love of them by screwing up a recipe. That is also why I shy away from making Eggs Benedict.

On Saturday morning, I could barely contain my excitement about the class. My boyfriend even made me promise to save him a few of the cookies I would be making. As I walked into the William Dean Chocolate shop for the French Macaron class, I was handed an apron, a hair net and packet of recipes for the cookies and fillings we would making during the class.

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The class was taught by Chef Tim Brown, an instructor at Johnson and Wales University, and William Brown, the owner of William Dean Chocolates. The class started off a brief history of the French macaron and a description of the different types. Here is a fun fact for you: the macaron did not become the double-sided, filled cookie that we are familiar with until the beginning of the 20th century!

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Then the real fun began! While we watched (and took diligent notes), Chef Tim went through the recipe and demonstrated each step for the basic French macaron. He gave us a bunch of tips on how to make the perfect cookie. Then it was our turn. We each had the opportunity to practice our piping and mixing skills as we prepared the rest of the cookies. Another fun fact: the flavor of French macarons comes from the filling!

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Once all of the cookies were piped and ready to go, Chef Tim started showing us how to make the different fillings. I had not idea there were so many types of buttercream in this world! We made caramel, chocolate ganache and two types of buttercream (Swiss and Italian). These were then used to make the fillings for the macarons. We combined the buttercream with salted caramel, peanut butter, lemon curd and cassis (black currant).

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With cookies and filling ready to go, it was time to assemble them. Chef Tim showed us the best way to put these beauties together and then we were off. I think by this point everyone in the class was ready to try out our lovely creations. As I worked on creating the final product, I attempted not to devour every single one of them. They all looked so amazing! The flavors were chocolate, peanut butter and jelly, cassis, lemon curd, and salted caramel.

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Before the class ended, we each made a box of 12 macarons to take home with us. Since I promised my boyfriend that I would share, I decided to bring home two of every flavor plus two extra of the chocolate (my favorite!).

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Making French macarons is something that I have always wanted to learn how to do and this class provided me with the knowledge I needed. Of course, it will take some practice for me to become as good as Chef Tim. I am pretty sure that my boyfriend won’t be complaining too much about being my taste tester. He still can’t believe how delicious the cookies I brought were.

Have you ever taken a cooking class before? What is your favorite French macaron flavor?