A small thing before the run down. I, left? forgot? let’s not get technical here, my camera at home which meant that my phone would have to do. What you say? A phone? But those can take wonderful pictures! Yea, not the Nexus 5. It takes terrible pictures… just…just terrible pictures. But that’s what I had so that’s what you’ll see. I’ll try not to let this happen again 🙂
Make It Sweet
On 183 and Burnet Rd nestled between Pluckers and Tabu, ooh la la, rest a shop that sells things of the sweet baking variety. From baby stroller cake pans to white chocolate and back to cupcake baking cups, if it’s sweet, they probably have it. Or not, what do I know about pastry cooking? And that’s about all I could find on these guys. Seriously, add an about page! 🙂
As anyone who reads this little blog should be painfully aware by now, The Lady and I like to try new things. One of this months new thing was baking. She bought me some gift cards for our 2 year and I picked the class. What classes did I have to choose from? Ohhhhh soooo many! I’ll be honest and say that I stopped counting after 30, but it looks like there are about 50 different classes. If you want the full list, head over here. To be honest, I wanted to do either the Whoopie Pie or the Cake Balls, but both classes were full for the month.(The classes change a bit month to month and can fill up quickly, so be sure to register early). The cost per classes ranges from 45$-75$. Most where 45$, which isn’t to shabby for a 3+ hour class that includes materials.
With no Whoopie Pie in my future, I settled on French Macarons I – The Basic. Settled I say! Little did I know that a single Macron can go for 4 dollars a cookie. Don’t believe me? Here’s a Macron shop in NYC where a box of 6 is 22$! So settled is probably the wrong word to use!
Signing up for the class proved to be slightly difficult as their online store didn’t have a place for me to put in gift card information, but I was able to do it over the phone just fine. Now, because of my profession I view websites with an overly critical eye and I have to say that their site could use a little help here and there. But! It’s perfectly navigable and get’s the job done. This is a post about the class though, so let’s get to it.
The Lady and I arrived about 10 minutes before our 6pm class. We headed in where a woman greeted us and showed us to our corner. Satisfied with our table corner we walked around the store which is split into two huge rooms. One for class and one for the shop. Around the class was an assortment of what I can only assume is normal cooking equipment. No one else seemed perturbed by the large bowl with a sharp blades so I can assume this wonders beast is normal or everyone else is hiding some deep dark secret…
By the front window was a large multi-layered rack that had various things that could be made in the different classes.
We took a quick look at the store, but we didn’t really have enough time to walk around because it was time to start learning!
I want you to meet our teacher, Heidi.
She’s a special person whom is by her own admission, is accident prom. One could say that such a person would favor a job a little less burny, but carry on she does. And she does it for you, or rather The Lady and I for that 3 hour block. In actuality she is quite awesome and the little stories that she’d tell while teaching made the experience all the more enjoyable. Thank you special person Heidi. 🙂
Since the class was part 1 of two 2, Heidi here did a more watch and learn than hands on. Though make no mistake, we still got our hands dirty. If you want a fully hands on you’ll have to take the second class, which you could technically do before taking part one… but then bad things might happen to your food. Macarons are hard. So very hard. Even more so when you consider that they only have 4 ingredients, Powdered/Granulated Sugar, Flour, and Egg Whites. Apparently experience French Chefs fail 50 percent of the time. That fail, what they call a fail is what I would call a success.
Each person in the class received a sheet of paper with the recipe. I won’t go through the step by step, but basically you mix powdered sugar with flour, whip some egg white, add granulated sugar, pinch out the putty like substance onto a sheet and finally bake. So easy!
Now that the batter was prepare, it was our turn to do some stuff! Basically we pinched out the batter onto some cooking sheet which would then be placed into the oven.
Next we execute the highly technical technique which Heidi refer to as, ‘The Angry Chef”. Now this part required some precise hand movements so follow along closes. First you take the pan. With me so far? Good. Now you slam it onto the table. Not once, twice, nor thrice! You do this many times until your little balls of batter lay flat and disc shaped. Again, very complicated stuff. Also oddly soothing. And ear shattering. It was a smorgasbord of sense experiences.
Slamming complete, our trays where whisked away into an over to do their oven thing. In the mean time Heidi showed us how to make some of the fillings. She started with a White Chocolate Ganache which sounds fancy, but it’s just white Chocolate mixed with heavy cream. Then she moved onto a caramel something, which again was just caramel and heavy cream. Finally she rounded up the filling section with probably the most complicated one. First you had to find your keys. Then you had to get in your car and drive all the way to HEB… or CostCo… maybe a gas station. Once you arrive, you should proceed to the peanut butter isle. See here is where you might get confused, you’re in the peanut butter isle, but you’re actually here for the jelly. Once you find the finest Smucker’s Jelly, or whatever jelly you like. You drive home. Whew, it’s exhausting just thinking about it!
Once the little patty shell things were done cooking, it was time to add the filling.
I want to make a special note that the red bag in the center of the above picture. Yea that’s jelly. If you look at the brown wafers on the bottom, you can see said jelly.
So what does a Macaroon look like when all is said and done?
It really is a lot of work for something so small.
The Dessert-Wrap Up
Three grueling hours later, The Lady and I emerged from the class room, each with a box full of 14 macarons, and a huge smile on our face. Heidi made the class truly a delight and we look forward to taking many more!
So if you have the time and curiosity, head over to their site, pick a class, and go and make something sweet!
Thanks for reading!