When we were still living in the United States, Michael used to buy me dark chocolate dipped macaroons from Godiva. This was the extent of my knowledge of macaroons. To me, macaroons were some sort of coconut creation dipped in chocolate. And then we moved to France. Macarons (spelled with one “o” in France) here are very different. They have a hard outside, but the inside is very soft. They come in almost every color and flavor imaginable and are delicious. They are perfect! And from that first bite of my first French macaron, I knew I had to learn how to make these.
So a few weeks ago I took a Macaron baking class at Le Lautrec. Le Lautrec is a very popular macaron and chocolate boutique in France where we usually buy our macarons.
The class was held in Le Lautrec kitchens, where workers were making lots of other goodies the same time we were learning how to make macarons. Seeing how they made the chocolates and cakes was very interesting. I had as much fun watching them as I did learning to make the macarons. The class was held in French and all my time translating French recipes seems to have paid off. It wasn’t too difficult to understand and some of the French ladies taking the class were nice enough to try to speak English or use hand gestures to explain when I didn’t understand something. We started by dividing into four groups and each group was in charge of making one flavor. There was rose, raspberry, chocolate, and pistachio. My group made the raspberry ones. We prepared the batter and used a decorating bag with a special tip to make the circles that would become the shells of the macaron. After the shells were baked, we matched them up by size. The instructor already had the fillings for the macarons prepared, since they took the most time, and we used the decorating bags to put the filling in the macarons. The instructor told us not to eat them for a day and I wondered why at the time. We ate a few on the way home and I remember thinking that they didn’t taste as good as the ones I had bought before in the store. However, the next day I ate some more and they were wonderful! Evidently, it takes a day for the filling to soften the inside of the shells for that perfect hard on the outside, soft on the inside goodness.
My favorite flavor has turned out to be a very unexpected one for me, rose! It sounded very strange to me as a flavor and I was very hesitant to try it at first, but it has turned out to be my favorite flavor. I buy cakes, suckers, ice creams, and macarons in the rose flavor here and love it!
I’m really happy I took this class so I will be able to make macarons when we move back home and I am missing all the French goodies.