The frosting and piping adventures at Le Dolci continue on! After successfully piping frosting on a set of mini vanilla cupcakes, it was time for a little decadent chocolate fun: piping chocolate ganache onto macarons! You read right. Luscious, luxurious, airy, crispy, melt-in-your-mouth macarons. Even though Le Dolci’s studio specialty and hallmark is – and always be – cupcakes, we do lots of different sweets and the studio hosts plenty of different themed classes: cookie decorating, truffle making, fun with fondant, cake pops, and macarons, among others!
Just recently on September 30th, the studio hosted a marvelous macaron class led by the equally marvelous Mardi of Eat.Live.Travel.Write. Le Dolci secured a cozy spot on Toronto’s macaron map and macarons were daintily placed on ours. Even though I couldn’t attend the wonderful class that took place that evening (a night class + living in the suburbs don’t mix, unfortunately. Sigh.), all was not lost. We had some already-made macarons that needed to be filled, so we put the yummy vanilla buttercream frosting away (only for a little while) and took on Operation Chocolate Ganache for an afternoon of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry macaron piping and filling.
Even though I’ve made several posts about macarons on the blog already (Old Firehall Confectionery on Main Street Unionville, Daniel & Daniel in Cabbagetown, and La Bamboche on Avenue Rd. and also by Yonge & Eglinton, just to name a few), I’ll go through the nuts and bolts of what macarons are comprised of. In a nutshell, macarons are sweet and delicate Parisian confections made primarily from egg whites, icing sugar, and almond flour, with the variables being the food colourings and flavourings used for the meringue cookie shells. Then comes the filling which can take the form of a ganache, frosting, jam, or any number of other fillings you wish to sandwich between the macaron shells. Operation Macaron at Le Dolci called for chocolate ganache, so chocolate ganache it was.
Ganache is a smooth, rich, velvety mixture of cream and chocolate. Dark chocolate, semisweet, and bittersweet chocolate are the most common types of chocolate used for making ganache and the way to make it is to heat the cream until it just reaches its boiling point, and then pouring the cream over chocolate squares or chopped chocolate. Using a whisk, you then combine the chocolate and cream until the chocolate becomes nice and syrupy. The desired consistency will depend on what you’re using the ganache for, so if you’re using the ganache as a filling (for either truffles or macarons, for instance), you’ll want it nice and thick to the point where it does drip off the whisk anymore. This requires chilling, which you can easily do in the refrigerator.
Lisa heated up the cream and poured it over the chocolate, while I whisked the chocolate and cream together afterward. I chilled and whisked it until it was thick enough to be piped and Miya helped me pour the ganache into a piping bag. With the macaron shells sitting daintily on the wire rack workspace, I was ready to give those shells some delightful chocolate ganache kisses! It was sucking down saliva as I was doing it. I mean, seriously, unless you’re allergic to chocolate (the way my best friend is), I don’t know a darn person on this planet who wouldn’t salivate at the sight of thick, rich poofs of chocolate.
They looked like tiny puddles of chocolate goodness and it was such a satifying feeling sandwiching the macaron shells together. I had to be careful not to pipe too much (which would cause the chocolate ganache to squish out) or too little (you want the ganache to reach the edges because otherwise the macarons look like there’s nothing in them) and I also had to be careful how I sandwiched the shells. I wanted the top shell to “sit” on the filling, so I had to apply enough pressure to make sure the top shell “stuck” but not so much pressure that it would make the filling ooze out. The ganache gets goopy if you make try to fix a mistake of sandwiching them crooked, so I had to center them and press down on them just right. After reading about the mixing and baking process and piping them, macarons are quite the science! But a very delicious one. YUM.
I made one or two not-so-perfect ones (a little too much in one and not enough in the other), but other than that, I was so giddy with what I had done! We made a few extras and packaged them up in a little cellophane baggy and they were good to go. I ate my macaron mistakes. Oh shucks, what a terrible thing to have to do, right? 😉
Le Dolci is a private studio located at 75 Portland St., just east of Bathurst near King St. West. The studio hosts cupcake decorating classes and handles catering for both corporate and personal events. For more information on classes, schedules, rates, and more, visit their official website here and their Facebook page here.