Paris, Je T’aime: learn how to make and decorate macarons

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La Cuisine Paris school

My dear Beard,

Do you like macarons? If you have a sweet tooth, you definitely want some as they are so sweet and sugary. Exactly, sugar is an essential component in macaron shells as it contributes both to flavor and structure of the finished product. I have tried my hand at macarons sometimes before, but as they always said, macaron seems like the Princess of Dessert Kingdom that hard-to-get. Making macarons is all about your luck. Sometimes you win, or sometimes you lose. Nothing can guarantee the successful result.

So, in my first time in Paris, I decided to make one of my dreams come true: learn how to make French macarons in the capital of dessert.

It was a rough winter. The sky was grey, no leaves on the trees, Seine river turned brown, and everyone dressed in dark color. It was minus 4-degree outside – which was freezing for a girl who lives most of her life in the 35-degree area. But despite that damn cold, I was so excited on the way walked to La Cuisine Paris (80 Quai de l’Hôtel de Ville, 75004), where I signed up for a Macaron technical decoration class. I paid 95 € for my place (rate in January, 2014)

Again, I was the only Vietnamese girl in the class that accompanied 10 students from many countries. We were guided to a large room in the basement with a big metal table, stoves, basins, and silicone mats.

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 Our teacher announced that she came from Britany and had been making macarons for 10 years. Then she started to explain how the perfect macarons would look like.

“They would have long feet, crunchy, light, bright and extremely stylish.”

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Here are the secret recipe and tips that I would love to share with people who can’t afford a trip to Paris. But if you could make it, I’d highly recommend you to visit La Cuisine Paris school. They are all nice teachers with excellent skills and you would definitely learn much from them.

Ingredients:

300g ground almonds
300g powdered (icing) sugar
110g aged egg whites (A)
Food coloring
300g white sugar
75g water
110g aged egg whites (B)
Tips: Separate the egg whites from the yolks a day in advance, and store in the fridge. About seven eggs or more.

Directions:

1. Weigh and sift ground almond flour. It is important to get a well-sifted flour to against grainy and chunky macarons.

2. Weigh and sift the icing sugar and add it to the almond flour. Mix together.

3. Add the egg whites (A) and food coloring into the flour and sugar mixture and mix thoroughly. I chose blue color (2 drops).
4. Place egg whites (B) in a stand-up mixer bowl.

5. Combine white sugar and water together in a small pan and heat until it boils. When the sugar water mixture reaches 234°F (112°C), start beating the egg whites on medium-high (8) speed.

6. When the sugar mixture reaches 244°F (117°C), turn it off and pour the hot mixture directly into egg whites while still beating.

7. Keep beating the mixture of egg whites and sugar water on medium-high speed until the bottom of the bowl is no longer hot.

8. Carefully add the meringue into the dry almond flour, a little at a time, and gently fold. It should not be too thick and gently put the mixture into the piping bag.

9. Line baking sheets or silicone mats and pipe mixture into circles. You can draw the circles in advance on the baking sheets to keep all the macarons in the neat shape.

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Decorating: At this point, we were allowed to get creative. The teacher did several ways of decorating: piping macaron batters in different shapes (hearts, flowers, cat, or even a candy); making two-colors macarons; paint the shells after they have been baked with food markers, colour dusts or piping words and designs with chocolate, e.t.c

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10. Let the piped macarons rest for about 30 mins, or you can use a fan or hairdryer to dry them out until you can lightly touch them and feel hard. This step is also necessary to prevent the macaron shells from cracking while they are baking. But, this is a problem in Vietnam or any tropical countries with a warm and humid climate because it takes hours for macarons to be thoroughly dry.

11. Bake the macarons at 320°F (160°C) for 12-14 mins.

And when it came to the result, all of our macarons looked so sexy with their long feet, beautiful colors, and creative designs.

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Creative with macarons

 After 3 hours, I was more than happy to take my box of macarons home (aka Neil’s apartment) and proudly said: “I made it.” Neil gave me a compliment and tried some. Then the next day I brought that box to London and was excited to reunite with Milo (this is not his real name, I changed. No, he’s a handsome guy, not a puppy), the man I liked and wanted to be with that time. He only took 2 macarons because his belly was growing fat.

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My macarons box
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Yay! I made it.

 Anyway, baking macarons teaches me the how to keep calm, patient and be careful. Practicing over and over again shows me the value of the investment in every step and attention to all details. And when the expected result comes out, all pain is gone. It’s somehow like loving someone.

And, you have to eat macarons in two shells sandwiching a delicious filling. It’s like a couple, always stay together. ♥

Your girl.

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