Hello and welcome to my blog! I can’t think of a better way to start this new endeavor than by sharing my incredible experience at a recent cooking class I took. Chef Jasmin, the owner of Bells Pastries, invited me to attend one of her French macaron baking classes, and I jumped at the chance, because who doesn’t love a great macaron???
To give you a little background about Chef Jasmin, she has over a decade of professional experience under her belt. Her impressive repertoire ranges from fine dining to spa cuisine to pastries and desserts. Jasmin also competed in the Food Network series Chopped, which you can read more about in Seattle Magazine. Suffice to say she definitely knows her stuff!
The French macaron baking class was held at Le Reve Bakery in Upper Queen Anne. I have not tried the baked treats here yet, but our class had the good fortune to catch the bakers making croissants and pain au chocolat, and I will definitely be coming back. It is literally a 24 hr labor of love, and you can tell how much they truly care about their products. But I digress…
Upon arriving at the class, I was greeted by Chef Jasmin and my other classmates, along with some refreshing mimosas and a spread of yummy h’orderves. After we had a chance to mingle a little, nosh on some snacks and team up into pairs we went to work.
The first thing that I thought was special about this class was that Chef Jasmin took the time to walk us through all of the ingredients in her French macaron recipe. She showed us high-quality, low-cost ingredients that we could easily pick up at our local Trader Joe’s, Costco and health food market. She went out of her way to explain how the quality affects the outcome of the macarons, and how we can save by buying in bulk. Jasmin also gave us tips on how to extend the life of our items.
We then washed our hands, donned our aprons and started making our fabulous French macarons. Here is a shot of the base ingredients already perfectly portioned out for us. The Rose flavor was to die for!
I was in charge of sifting the dry ingredients while my partner was on the burner creating the base of the meringue.
After the both of us were done with our respective tasks, we went to work mixing them together to create a beautiful, light and fluffy meringue that would eventually make the PERFECT French macaron shell. Doesn’t it look so pretty?
After the meringue reached the ideal consistency, we mixed in a food color gel of our choice. I chose pink since my buttercream filling flavor would be Rose.
We then piped out little 2″ circles of the French macaron shell meringue onto silicon baking mats. At this point, Chef Jasmin imparted another pearl of wisdom by suggesting that we purchase our mats at Bed Bath and Beyond using the 20% off coupon! I loved how throughout the whole class she kept sharing ways for us to make high-quality baked goods at affordable prices.
Every classmate chose their color and piped out 24 shells, making a dozen macarons each. We then let all the shells settle while we took a little break.
BTW best break ever! Chef Jasmin pre-made some macaron ice cream sandwiches and seriously they were some of the best macarons I’ve ever tasted.
With our stomachs full and the shells hardened enough for the oven, we then proceeded to bake all of the exteriors. Once all seven dozen (Jasmin made her own as well) were baked we set them on cooling racks and started the filling. To be honest, I never realized that French macaron filling was buttercream. We each made our own batch so that every dozen of macarons would have a different flavor filling. When some of our buttercreams didn’t blend properly, Chef Jasmin was back at it again with the awesome tips and taught us how to correct buttercream that has separated.
With the buttercream finished and the French macaron shells cooled we each grabbed our cookies, placed generous amounts of filling in them and obsessively photographed our finished products!
Check out this #macaronporn
I truly enjoyed taking this class and plan on taking another class either for a fun girls night or date night. I think this would also be a fun activity to do if you are planning a bridal or baby shower.
The class was $85 per person, but there are often Groupons available so make sure to check Bells Pastries Facebook page for updates. The price includes a welcome, happy hour with drinks and h’orderves, 3 hours in a semi-private class and a dozen French macarons. Plus you get to keep the recipe so that you can make the macarons at home whenever you like.
I was so impressed with how amazing the French macarons turned out. Seriously, for someone who is clueless when it comes to baking from scratch, these were the tastiest cookies I have (almost) ever tasted. They were so much better than a lot of the ones I’ve paid $3 – $4 for.
Chef Jasmin was such a pleasure to learn from. She was warm and inviting and very thorough in all of her explanation. You could tell that she cares about each student and has a deep love for cooking.
She not only teaches classes but offers private chef services and custom orders. If you’d like to learn more about her services, check out her site www.bellspastries.com.
I hope you guys liked my first post! Please feel free to leave a comment below if you know of other amazing cooking classes in Seattle or have something to add.
Neighborhood: Upper Queen Anne
Price Point: $$$