French Macarons From A Kit? Ooh, La La!
Imagine learning to bake fanciful French macarons in the comfort of your own kitchen with guidance from an expert who happens to bear more than a passing resemblance to none other than Anna Kendrick.
You can — with the French Macaron Kit by Food La La. The San Francisco culinary business was founded by Lindsay Kinder, whose disarming charm, self-deprecation, and pony-tailed, petite presence will indeed remind you of that Hollywood star.
After toiling for five years in a corporate job selling insurance, she chucked it all to go live in France. There, she spent months studying cooking and baking, and of course, eating a lot of macarons.
It inspired her to launch her first product, the macaron kit. At $97, it’s as festive as a party in a box, with shiny black and rose-gold colored bags that hold nearly everything you need to make about two dozen macarons. You just have to add your own butter, eggs and splash of milk or cream.
The kit is complete with pre-measured dry mixes to make the macaron and buttercream filling, along with piping bags, gel food coloring, dazzling sprinkles, edible metallic paint plus a paint brush, a handy macaron template to guide your piping onto the baking sheet, and even a couple of snazzy gift boxes if you can part with your macarons after you’ve decorated them.
Also included is one-year access to a virtual class led by Kinder. This series of short videos go over every step of the process, as Kinder demonstrates everything from mixing to baking to decorating them.
Why does it pay to “age” your egg whites for at least a few hours? What is the proper consistency for your macaron batter? Why do the piped macarons need to dry before being baked in the oven? You’ll find all that info and more in the videos.
What I loved is that Kinder is not above revealing her own mistakes. She’ll be the first to admit that when she first started making macarons, it took many attempts to get them just right. Even when she demonstrates how to artfully fill a gift box with macarons, she rewinds the video to show how she accidentally dents one in the process. It’s a good reminder of just how fragile these dainty sandwich cookies are, and an earnest gesture that assures it’s not the end of the world if you do mess up.
As much as I love macarons, I confess that this was my first time making them. It will take the better part of an entire afternoon to make them with this kit, of which I was sent a sample to try out. Fun and educational, the kit is also rewarding, of course, because of the sweet treats you get at the end of all your work.
You could simply follow the recipe cards included in the kit, but it’s so much better to watch the videos as you go along to really get the gist of everything.
Admittedly, I am not the world’s greatest at piping, so a few of my macarons didn’t bake up perfectly circular, rather more verging on egg-shaped. But I was thrilled that they did rise well, creating the so-called “feet,” the characteristic little ruffled edge on the bottom.
For some reason, a few of the included sprinkles melted during baking, leaving a few tiny divots on my macaron shells. But I camouflaged them rather slyly by dabbing a little buttercream in the depressions and sticking another sprinkle on top to cover.
As Kinder explains, the macarons are best not right after baking, but after a day in the fridge so that shell and filling can coalesce, creating a chewier texture.
The next day, they are indeed wonderfully chewy, and very sweet, and not to mention, quite impressive looking assembled on a plate for an afternoon pick-me-up alongside tea or coffee. All in all, I think my first stab at macarons came out pretty darn well.
The kit makes a fine gift for yourself or anyone who enjoys baking. It’s also an ideal present for Mother’s Day that will bestow upon mom an assuredly sweet time.
Carolyn! We are quite literally drooling over this “first attempt” of yours. Are you sure you haven’t made these babies before!? BRAVO BRAVO!!
Thank you for all this warm, fuzzy, and sweet small business love!! 🙂
Hi Lindsay: I swear I have not made them before. Thanks to your kit, though, I no longer feel intimidated by the process. Congrats to you on the success of your company and for creating such a fun baking kit.