Zoë Bakes Deep Dive: Macaron Macaroon
A Q&A with Ginger Elizabeth Hahn, chocolatier and owner of Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates.
Macarons are one of my favorite pastries to make and eat. They also pose a challenge to even the most skilled baker, so having an expert guide you in the process is a real advantage. I first learned how to make macarons at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) when I was studying baking and pastry. Pierre Hermé came to campus and did a special demonstration, including this quintessentially French cookie. They were like magic how they puffed into a crisp, delicate, perfectly flat on top, and elegantly footed on the bottom, shell. The fillings were equally as important, but only after mastering the shell that sandwiches them. I left the CIA and only made macarons a few times professionally, but never really featured them on a menu. Practice makes perfect and I just never put in the time.
In 2022 I was determined to stretch my techniques and really dive into a skill that I wished I was more comfortable with. I saw a macaron class come up at the Valrhona School in Brooklyn, New York and I went for it. My teacher was Ginger Elizabeth, who is famous for her namesake macaron and chocolate shop in California. She has made millions of these special cookies over her career. I came away from the three-day class a much better baker, super excited to make macarons at home and with a new friend. Ginger’s love of her craft is absolutely infectious. She is a serious craftsperson and also full of delight and whimsy. Ginger is one of the most generous teachers, sharing her decades of knowledge and I could have spent a full week watching and learning from her. She has been kind enough to share some of that with us here, plus a beautiful recipe for Raspberry Rose Macarons from her beautiful book, The Macaron Cookbook, which would make a lovely Valentine’s Day gift.
You too can take Ginger’s class online and learn the tips and techniques she has perfected over the years. Sign up here for the Macaron course. I highly recommend the Valrhona classes for people who are seriously interested in pastry and chocolate techniques. Some of the in-person classes are for professionals only and some are open to enthusiasts. Valrhona also offers many classes online, which is a more affordable option.
Season 2 Episode 4: Macaron Macaroon
You may remember in season 2 episode 4 that I prepare delicate chocolate macarons for a bakers’ gathering with fellow cookbook author and friend, Sarah Kieffer. Don’t miss the recipes from the episode:
Spring Cake Baking with Brian Hart Hoffman
Join me and Brian Hart Hoffman, editor of Bake From Scratch, for some spring cake baking! This weekend of cake-baking will equip you with techniques and tips to bake better layer cakes, Bundt cakes, vertical cakes, and stunning one-layer cakes. From the layers to the frosting, we’ll cover properly creaming butter and sugar to build volume, baking even layers, tips for cooling and assembly, and, of course, decorating. You’ll also walk away knowing how to make American, Italian, and German buttercreams.
You have two ways to join: in person and virtually. All attendees will receive a recording of all baking class sessions.