Macaron Class – The Olive Tree Cooking School + Giveaway *Winner Announced*

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.

Thanks Garry for sending me this picture 🙂

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.

Hi Garry 🙂

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.

5) When the sugar syrup reaches 118°C, quickly dip the saucepan into cold water to remove latent heat Pour in a gentle stream into the egg whits without hitting the whisk.

7) Continue whisking until just cool – approximately 7-8 minutes.

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)

Our macarons don’t look too bad!

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.

12) Cool on trays before lifting off and pairing them ready to be filled.

– 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
40mls water
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.

Assemble macaron
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!

Sorry I was too busy eating the Salted Caramel Macarons so this is actually a picture of the Chocolate Peanut Butter macarons my bad! 😛

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 and announced on this blog and notified via email
– Open only to Victorian residents (Sorry!)

The winner 🙂 

And the WINNER IS Jenny from Ichigo Shortcake 🙂 YAY! Congrats!

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
Garry Cowled
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 


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46 thoughts on “Macaron Class – The Olive Tree Cooking School + Giveaway *Winner Announced*

  1. Choc Chip Uru October 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm Reply

    Macarons made Italian style – I do not even know where to start for such an incredibly awesome opportunity! Too lucky my friend and thank you for sharing!

    Choc Chip Uru

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 18, 2012 at 9:08 am Reply

      Hi Uru 🙂 The Italian style refers to the type of meringue that is used for the macarons shells ~ Hope you try and make them at home soon! I’m sure you’ll be a natural hehe

  2. theragingcook October 17, 2012 at 8:09 pm Reply

    Holy cow that’s class is awesome! I can only make ganache boooooo and not the shells.
    Now, DO-IT at home!
    YES YOU CAN!!!! Hahaha, set the bar high, and keep trying lol! 😀

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 18, 2012 at 9:09 am Reply

      You’re too kind!!! I’m not so sure I’m that talented! I’ve tried once at home and they weren’t that great not sure went wrong sighhh so will need to try again hehe 🙂

      I bet you can make the macaron shells at home too! Don’t be silly! 😀

  3. Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake October 17, 2012 at 8:10 pm Reply

    You just totally made me squeal over that doggy!!! OMGGG I’d be like ‘what?’ during the lesson because I’m staring at the dog too much. XD

    By the way, how much is the class normally per person? So the voucher would be $20 off the regular cost is that correct?

    I’ve never tried making macarons at home before but have always wanted to…I’m a terrible baker so have always been too scared to do it. 😛

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 18, 2012 at 9:15 am Reply

      Hahhaa I knew someone was going to squeal like i did!! I was like totally crazy about Bear hahhaa I really could have taken him home!

      The classes are normally $125 per person, so with the $20 discount it’ll go down to $105 which I know isn’t much but just wanted to give them away since I really liked the macaron classes 😀

      I really doubt that you are a terrible baker! Gosh all the desserts and things you post up are pretty and I bet they taste even better! Practice makes perfect trust me, I’ve burnt, underbaked and overbaked way too many things hehe

  4. liannelow October 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm Reply

    What a wonderful experience! (: I have made macarons at home a few times! Failed the first couple of times using the french method and changed to the italian method and using my trusty Kitchenaid, there was success!! hehe

    So generous of you and Mr Bao for giving away the vouchers! Can’t wait to have some of your baked goods (again) soon! hehe x

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 18, 2012 at 9:18 am Reply

      WOO HOO 🙂 You made them and they were a success ~ I’ve only tried making them once, the day after the class and they were OK but really just OK hahaha I didn’t really like the look of them >_<
      So I think I'm gonna have to try harder next time and like you said lol use our very handy, trusty and always loving Kitchen Aid 😀

      I really enjoyed the class and thought Garry was a wonderful teacher so even though $20 off isn't much of a discount, I still wanted to give them away hehe 🙂

      When I succeed, I'll definitely bring them over and share with you! I want your homemade lunch boxes in return HAHAHA

  5. hotlyspiced October 17, 2012 at 8:27 pm Reply

    What a great giveaway. Yes, sadly, I have tried many times to make macarons and mine just haven’t been a success. I don’t know where I went wrong except perhaps my old oven is a dud. xx

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 18, 2012 at 9:20 am Reply

      Thank you Charlie 🙂 It’s a shame that you are not in Melbourne, but if you do win and are happy to travel to Melbourne you really should!

      I never thought in my wildest dream, that I’d be able to make macarons! But we did yay! They’re definitely not easy and will probably require a lot of time to perfect but I’m sure once we get the basic down it shouldn’t be too bad 😀

      Do you have a new oven now that you’ve moved houses? xox

  6. basicallypastry October 17, 2012 at 9:13 pm Reply

    Hi Daisy,
    Great blog you have here. A friend recommended your blog to me. I’ve made macarons a few times and some success and some failures. Ha Ha. Still a lot to learn. Thanks for sharing the recipe and experience.

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 18, 2012 at 9:33 am Reply

      Hello Chen Chen 🙂 Thank you for coming by my blog! So sweet of your friend to recommend it to you, I wonder if I know your friend?

      I think macarons are very temperamental little things, if you don’t get one step right then it affects the next step sigh…it’s quite annoying sigh but I’ve seen some of the things you make on your blog and you’re very talented!!!

      I’m sure with practice we’ll both be macaron masters!

  7. Baker Street (@bakerstreet29) October 17, 2012 at 9:42 pm Reply

    I’m too intimidated my macarons! It has been on my bucket list forever! These look incredible and I feel like running over now to make me a batch.

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 18, 2012 at 9:35 am Reply

      I know exactly what you mean! I was too before attending the class but now I’m feeling a lot better 🙂 Don’t give up! We just need to practice ~

  8. Faith (An Edible Mosaic) October 18, 2012 at 6:58 am Reply

    This looks like so much fun, I would love to take a mac class, and I think it’s so sweet that Mr Bao went with you! Your macs are beautiful!

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 18, 2012 at 9:36 am Reply

      Thank you Faith 🙂 it was super fun and I’m glad I dragged him along hahaha because now he’ll know HOW hard and time consuming it is to make macarons 🙂

  9. Ali October 18, 2012 at 7:26 am Reply

    Great photos and instructions! I love macarons, but have been far too scared to make them! One day, one day!

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 18, 2012 at 9:38 am Reply

      Hi Ali 🙂 Thank you ~ It was quite hard actually taking the photos and trying to also learn and follow the steps so I was glad that Mr Bao was there to give me a hand hehe 🙂

      Don’t be scared of making macarons! I was really scared to start off with too ~ and even though I’ve only tried making them once after the class, I’m sure if we practice and follow the instructions we will GET THERE!! xox

  10. Nic@diningwithastud October 18, 2012 at 9:46 am Reply

    I’ve just bookedmarked this recipe as perfect macarons. Fab job guys 😀

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 18, 2012 at 3:54 pm Reply

      Oh that’s so sweet of you! They’re not perfect!!! At least I still haven’t been able to make perfect ones at home hahaha

  11. Hannah October 18, 2012 at 9:50 am Reply

    Aw, what a fun date to have with Mr Bao! But the puppy makes me sad; I wish I could’ve said goodbye to my Jedda.

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 18, 2012 at 11:02 am Reply

      Thanks Hannah we had an amazing time and I think Mr Bao was better at piping than I am 😛

      I’m sorry about your Jedda 😦 I remember reading about it!

  12. Catherine October 18, 2012 at 10:17 am Reply

    I’m uber jealous! I want to go to a macaron class because mine are very average looking/tasting! Although everytime I make macarons, I get sick of them too haha and your blog always makes me feel like baking 🙂

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 18, 2012 at 11:01 am Reply

      Don’t be jealous Catherine 🙂 if you get the discount vouchers you should definitely try the macaron class it’s so good, we had such a good time hehe ~ you should bake more and blog about it too! You never blog about your baked goodies 😀 and how can you ever get sick of macarons hehe call me and i’ll eat them ALL for you!

  13. cltyw October 18, 2012 at 11:15 am Reply

    I had tried making it twice by myself. 1st time turn out too watery, can’t even pipe and the 2nd time too dry. The 3rd time and my last with few others bloggers and playing around in a total new kitchen doesn’t help either.
    After 3 times of failure, conclusion is I will just leave the job to the expert and concentrate on eating them. LOL

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm Reply

      Oh don’t say that! I’m sure you just need a few more times and then you’ll get them right and be the macaron master!

      I’ve made them once after the class and even though they weren’t perfect, they weren’t all a failure lol what if you come over to my place next time and we’ll make them together!!!

  14. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella October 18, 2012 at 11:51 am Reply

    What a fun class! And that price is absolutely brilliant! :O

  15. Tina @ bitemeshowme October 18, 2012 at 11:52 am Reply

    Looks fantasticccccccccccccccccccccccc 🙂

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm Reply

      Thank you 🙂 But you don’t need lessons your macarons are already PERFECT hehe

  16. theurbanmrs October 18, 2012 at 5:12 pm Reply

    What a fun class and Gary is so nice that he’s willing to share his recipe. I hope you get a chance to try his recipe at home and I’ll do the same thing, too!

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 19, 2012 at 12:04 pm Reply

      We had an amazing time at the macaron making class 🙂 I already tried Garry’s recipe at home ~ and even though my macarons weren’t perfect! I was already quite happy with it given its my first time hehe

      Hope you have fun making macarons too!

  17. thehungerpangs October 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm Reply

    For a while there, I’d kinda gotten over macarons, what with all the hits and misses. But I’m pretty sure I’m in love with them all over again now that I’ve read this post! 🙂 I’ve never tried making the shells with an Italian meringue, I’ve always used the French method. But I might try it your way next time and I’m totally going to use that salted caramel ganache recipe! Well done, Daisy, they look amazing! 😀

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 19, 2012 at 2:18 pm Reply

      Thank you!!! You’re always so kind and supportive of all my silly little baking creations LOL

      I know what you mean about macarons, I use to hate them…they were so dry and sickly sweet and that’s coming for ME hahaha but now that i’ve gone on a macaron hunt I’ve had some pretty good ones and totally hooked now HAHAHA

      I’ve never tried the French method, I’ve heard that it’s easier than the Italian? Give this recipe ago and really hope you will like macarons again!

      Can’t wait till we meet up in person! A shame we had to reschedule this Sunday always next time!

  18. Heidi - Apples Under My Bed October 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm Reply

    fun fun fun! Cannot wait to do this in a couple of weeks 🙂
    Heidi xo

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm Reply

      Yay!!! You are going to the same place 🙂 did you get the voucher too? Hehe it’s so much fun and Garry is amazing!

      • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed October 29, 2012 at 10:39 am Reply

        yes Living Social!! Can’t wait. It’s tonight! Do you eat a lot or will I need dinner first? Just trying to plan 😉
        Heidi xo

        • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 29, 2012 at 2:57 pm Reply

          I love Living Social totally addicted 😛 WOO HOO! You’re gonna have an amazing time! Best to have something to eat before hand 🙂 xox ENJOY!

  19. gourmetgetaway October 20, 2012 at 7:44 pm Reply

    WOW!! It sounds like a fantastic class and you are so generous to host this giveaway for readers. I have made macarons at home but I haven’t used this method before. I love the recipe for salted caramel, I will definitely be trying that at home ASAP! I noticed I had not added you to my blogroll so I have fixed that over sight … sorry 😦

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 21, 2012 at 10:51 am Reply

      That’s alright Julie!!! Please don’t apologise! I need to update my blog roll too hehe ~ I m sure you will be able to make these macarons at home 🙂 you’re definitely a much more talented than mr Bao and me 😀

      I really wanted to give something back to my Readers so thought this little giveaway would be nice. If you win will you come back to melb? Hahaha xox

  20. Christine (@cookingcrusade) October 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm Reply

    Your macs look great! What a fun class for you to do with your bf 🙂 Ps that Samiu is ADORABLE! They’re my fave dogs 😀

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet October 21, 2012 at 6:05 pm Reply

      Thanks Christine 🙂 they’ve very quickly become my favourite too! They’re super cute!!!

  21. The Life of Clare October 26, 2012 at 6:29 pm Reply

    I recently tried making macaron this way but found that when the egg whites were whisked for 7-8 minutes, it turned into a hot clump. Any suggestions or whati did wrong? I would love to take this class!

    • Daisy@Nevertoosweet November 2, 2012 at 11:18 am Reply

      Hello Clare 🙂 thanks for dropping by my blog ~ I was just saw this comment, I think your egg whites have clumped up maybe because you have been pouring the sugar syrup too quickly and you need to avoid pouring it onto the whisk. I hope this helps I’m sorry, I’m no expert!

  22. Juliet December 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm Reply

    I know somebody who went to that cooking school she gave me her recipe and I have had success with it both times I used it. She really liked the class too. I went recently to a class in Knoxfield and was really unhappy with my macarons from there. After I told them I was unhappy they personally made me another batch. My class was $150, I wish I had gone to the Olive Tree. I have tried the French method too, but think the Italian method is less likely to fail!!

  23. Valda Davis May 22, 2014 at 12:36 am Reply

    There is a Groupon offer at the moment for the Macaron class at the Olive Tree. $59 for one person, or $109 for two people (4 hour class).

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