Before I began cooking regularly, everything in the kitchen intimidated me. I remember the first time I tackled yeast bread, something I'd long been afraid of. Then, there was my first layer cake. Despite a few lumps in the frosting, I put the cake together beautifully. Those were the successes! Then there are the things I have yet to tackle...my first attempt at homemade pudding was a disaster. I can't pipe frosting onto cupcakes for the life of me. Macarons were another one of those feared baking experiments.
I've often seen the French cookie sandwiches in bakeries and cookbooks, but I've always heard horror stories about how difficult they were to make. Though I like a good challenge in the kitchen, macaroons were one I wasn't willing to attempt, in part because I'd never had one and known what I was missing out on! Then I had the opportunity to attend a Macaron Making Class at the Kitchen Conservatory in Clayton, specially organized for St. Louis food bloggers. Taught by Amrita Rawat, another St. Louis food blogger, I was eager to try my hand at a new kind of baked good.
Over the course of the three-hour class, we learned the ins and outs of baking macarons. Amrita taught us the necessary do’s (DO use a kitchen scale to measure your ingredients) and don’ts (DON’T overbeat your egg whites) as we followed her step by step through the intensive process.
After walking through the beating, mixing, piping, baking, and assembling, we had two complete batches of the French delicacy: dark chocolate filled with ganache and topped with sea salt along with regular filled with raspberry jam.
Though the process is rather particular, it is absolutely something the average person can master in his or her own kitchen. Amrita is self-taught and she’s now selling her macarons at Straub’s Market in Clayton. If you’d rather enjoy the finished product and bypass the baking, I highly recommend you stop by and try some! For those of you that want to achieve the feat of making your own, check out her blog post here. With flavors like Pumpkin Spice and Inverted S’Mores, you’re sure to find one that strikes your fancy!
Tell me, what kitchen experiment have you been too intimidated to try? Or what fear have you overcome and found success? St. Louis has a great variety of cooking classes available, found everywhere from the Kitchen Conservatory to Whole Foods to Schnucks! Take advantage of these unique opportunities and embrace a new skill!