On my first trip to Paris, I was so excited to each french macarons. The beautiful little cookies that infiltrate your Instagram feed regularly are such a quintessential french experience and I enjoyed quite a few without any guilt whatsoever. Calories just don’t matter to me when there are cultural experiences on the line.
I remember distinctly the disappointment I felt when I dropped one of these precious treats on the street just in front of Sacre Coeur. My friend Emily was so outraged that I decided not to eat it that she plucked it up off the ground and ate it herself. Sassy girl.
Last year, a few years after my first trip to Paris, I was lucky enough to take my mother on a big three-and-a-half-week trip to Europe, concluding in Paris. While we were excited to be in the city of lights, after travel for about 3 weeks, we were a bit tired and certainly tired of each other.
Luckily, I had booked certain activities before we left the US, otherwise we probably wouldn’t have done much at all in Paris. (We still didn’t do much other than shopping, which is our classic stress activity. Don’t judge.)
The very first morning we woke up in Paris, it was off to the subway and away to a macron cooking class.
We arrived at the cooking class a bit groggy and crabby, but we got chit-chatting with the other tourists in the class and relaxed a bit with the relief of talking to english-speakers other than each other.
Soon, we were tying brown aprons around our waists and getting ready to put our chefs hats on (not literally, unfortunately).
Our instructor was an American expat and he was awesome and he showed us how to do everything while also ensuring that we didn’t mess up the process and end up with sad little macarons in the end.
He put on the song “A’int to Proud to Beg” by the Temptations to help us keep rhythm as we piped out the dough that would become the little crunchy caps of the macarons. There are four distinct steps to this process in order to ensure that your cookies are round and not wonky: down, squeeze, stop, up, so the music helped us keep to a beat for each of the four steps.
We worked away for three hours, while the other class made 4 different french pastries. We just made macarons. They are such fussy little cookies and easy to mess up, so they take a while to get right.
I walked away from the class with a newfound respect for macarons and the patience that the french have for their pastries. I had loved macarons previously, but when we went to Lauduree the next day and I shelled out more Euros than I really wanted to for their perfect, amazing macarons, I knew why the damn things are so pricey. I happily paid someone else to make them for me and save me the effort.
I haven’t made macarons since we took the class but I do like to order them for my mom on birthdays or mothers day. I order them on Etsy, but I know that if I really needed to, I have what it takes to make them myself.
Have you ever taken a cooking class? Tell me what you learned to make in the comments!