Mr Bao infuriates me! Why you ask? It’s because he’s always complaining that he’s ‘baked out’ that I bake too much and too frequently and he’s always forced to eat it… then I’ll get annoyed and give all my baked goodies to friends and colleagues who actually appreciate it. But then he’ll say ‘hey…how come I don’t get any cookies…you’re not even going to leave me one slice?’ ARGH I can never win 😛 But there is one thing that he likes…and he’s always going on about how it’ll be wonderful if I could make them at home… and that’s MACARONS!
Yup the very much loved French little meringue biscuits the one and only ‘macaron’! I’m gonna accuse him of being a ‘trend follower’ because I was the one who introduced him to macarons (he’ll argue and say he introduced me instead). It started last year when I bought him La Belle Miette macarons, then it was La Maison Du Chocolat in HK and Laduree in New York. We have gone on bit of search for the best macarons 🙂 I have done a lot of research and have read lots of books, blogs and magazines about making macarons at home…but I never had the courage…there are quite a few components and steps to make them…and if you make a mistake during one of steps, there really is no turning back. Anyhow, back in April this year, I found a really good Living Social voucher which offered a 4 hour macaron class at The Olive Tree Cooking School for only $59 per person. I immediately bought two vouchers and decided to bring Mr Bao with me, so he will also know how DIFFICULT it was to make them at home! Even though we bought the tickets in April, because of the popularity of the macaron classes and with the voucher, classes were booked out till August lol so I kind of forgot about the coupons until a week before and made sure Mr Bao took the day off work 🙂 The Olive Tree Cooking School is situated in Frankston, a coastal suburb of Melbourne, for most people who do not live in this area, it’ll probably be at least an hour long drive. I’m quite familiar with the area, because Dad use to take me fishing here ~ so even though it was bit of a drive there Mr Bao and I didn’t really mind. We already made plans to walk along the beach and eat at the local Italian restaurant there after the class hehe Our class started at 10am, so we quickly made breakfast at home and then rushed into our car, traffic was quite good so we got there early at around 9:40am. We drove past the cooking school once, as its on the main Nepean Hwy, so just keep an eye out, if you’re coming from Frankston city centre, Olive Tree cooking school will be on your left and will have white walls. We were a bit surprised to find that the cooking school also doubled us as a lovely double storey house, we saw the front door but wasn’t sure how to get in, then we were greeted by the CUTEST dog I have seen! He was like this huge white ball of fluff hehe ~ His name is Bear a Samui! I really wanted to take him home! He didn’t bark at us or anything, very quickly, a lovely man wearing a chef’s jacket came over and opened the door.
That is Garry Cowled ~ who is the instructor for the day, he has over 40 years of experience working as a chef and teaching at TAFE and other food related businesses.
Because we were a bit early, I had the chance to talk to Garry one on one, I even told him about my food blog and asked if he would mind if I took photos and maybe did a post about it. Garry was so pleasant about it all and said as many photos and questions I like 😀 As you can see, Garry has also won many awards, most notably the Culinary Olympics in Germany where he participated and cooked on behalf of the Australian team. Even with all this experience Garry remains one of the most down to earth Chef I have met 😀 he is so passionate about cooking and also teaching others how to cook. Very quickly the other student arrived as well, poor Mr Bao was the only guy in the class hehe, Garry is so generous that he has given me permission to share his macaron recipe ~ I will be sharing the recipe as well as other bits and parts of the lesson in this post .
Recipe – Salted Caramel Macarons from The Olive Tree Cooking School Ingredients
Macaron Shell – Italian method
200 grams almond meal
200 grams pure icing sugar
160 grams aged egg white (2 x 80 grams, approximately 4 eggs)
200 grams caster sugar or granulated sugar
50 mls water
Gel or powder colour for macaron shells
– Almond meal can be moist to try it out, spread out on a baking tray for several hours
– To age egg whites, separate the day before and leave on the bench covered to reduce moisture in egg whites. This will help them whip much better
Method – Macaron Shell
1) If egg whites have been in the refrigerator, leave out until room temperature.
2) Place almond meal and icing sugar into a food processor and pulse until incorporated be careful not to over mix as oils from almonds may make mixture clump together.
3) Pass almond and icing sugar through a drum sieve and mix thoroughly with 80 grams egg white, until it becomes a paste and leave to one side.
4) Place the water in a small stainless steel saucepan and add sugar. Start boiling process washing the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush but NEVER stir, as this will create sugar crystals forming on the size of the pot. In the mean time, place the other 80 gram of egg whites into an electric mixer with the whisk attachment. You can also add the colour to your macarons at this step with the sugar syrup. Using a sugar thermometer to monitor the sugar syrup once it is at 110 °C, turn the electric mixer on and whisk egg whites until stiff peaks.
8) Fold the meringue into the almond mixture in a couple of additions. The amount of folding will depend how high you want your macarons to rise. They more you beat the more your macarons will rise. The less you beat the mix the lower the rise. It would be approximately 25 to 30 folds until the mixture is glossy and will run off the spatula or run back into itself.
9) Using a 1cm (size 10) piping tube, pipe onto baking paper lined or Silpak and pipe to the size of a twenty cent coin (Aussie dollar :P)
10) Using some force bang the tray against the kitchen bench top to flatten macarons shells and leave until touch dry. May take longer in humid weather.
11) Preheat oven to 135°C fan forced, bake for 16 minutes, test before turning the oven off by gently touching and if the macarons can be gently removed from the baking paper, if still soft and sticky return back to over for an extra 2 to 3 minutes.
– Piping the macaron shells is probably the most difficult, try not to apply too much pressure
– Make sure the shells are touch dry before they are baked to avoid cracking
– Every oven is different, you may need to change the temperature to bake the macaron shells
Salted Caramel Ganache
150ml thickened cream
25 grams Copha
125 grams sugar
250grams milk chocolate – finely chopped
80grams unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1) Place the copha and cream into a small pot and place on the heat to boil.
2) Pour the water into another small pot. Pour the sugar over and place on the heat, boiling the sugar to caramel stage. For maximum flavour heat sugar until it is a golden brown but be careful not to burn.
3) Gently pour the boiling cream onto the caramel, being extremely careful as it will foam very quickly. Mix together.
4) Pour the hot caramel over the chocolate and stand for one minute before mixing thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
5) When the caramel chocolate mixture has cooled blend in the softened butter and salt with a wooden spoon or a stick blender.
6) Cool thoroughly before beating on a mixer with a beater attachment until creamy and glossy.
1) Once salted caramel ganache is cool and pliable, it can be transferred into a clean piping bag once again with a 1cm (size 10) nozzle.
2) Pair and line the macaron shells to make it easier to pipe the filling, put a nice dollop in the middle of one shell and very gently place the other shell on top and twist together.
– Do not forcefully push the two macaron shells together as it can break the shell or too much filling will come out the sides
– Try not to under fill or over fill, you want enough filling to see and taste but not too much that makes the macarons sickly sweet.
Voilà! Salted Caramel Macarons!
Mr Bao and I had a BLAST at The Olive Tree Cooking School 🙂 We both thoroughly enjoyed the macaron class and from Mr Bao’s smile on his face…I think he was very happy and satisfied with his first ever batch of macarons! Garry was a fantastic teacher he was down-to-earth, friendly and very experienced. I also liked his casual approach to making these delicate meringue biscuits, he made me feel confident that I can also make these macarons when I get home and all ingredients he used were easily attainable at the supermarket.
All students were given a $20 discount next time we booked a cooking class and because I enjoyed this class so MUCH I have decided to give away both Mr Bao and my voucher to ONE lucky reader 🙂 So you can also book a class and learn how to make macarons!!! Macaron classes currently run on Monday nights and Saturday morning, but Garry said he is happy to run more classes if there is high demand and also provide a discount for groups of more than 6 people 😀
To enter this little giveaway:
– Leave a comment and tell me if you’ve tried making macarons at home before and was it a success? 🙂
– Giveaway ends on the 31st of October
– You may reenter daily, one entry a day
– Winner will be chosen by random.org and announced on this blog and notified via email
– Open only to Victorian residents (Sorry!)
The winner 🙂
Good luck everyone ~ and hope you will also try making macarons at home soon! It can be quite difficult the first time but I think with some practice we can all be macaron masters 🙂
The Olive Tree Cooking School
623 Nepean Highway
Frankston South VIC
Phone. 03 9708 8110
Mobile. 0427 966 007
This is not a sponsored post, this is a personal giveway to my Readers:)
Daisy and Mr Bao @Nevertoosweet personally paid and attended this macaron class