If you are into baking and if you like to bake with others, you should host a baking party. Since a lot of people are fond of French Macarons, I would suggest making it a Macaron Baking Party. Yes, it is a lot of work and yes, things can go wrong, but believe me, it is soooo much fun! If you follow my advice, I can grant you that your party will be a success. I learned from trial and error. So let me try to lay it out for you:
1. Be sure to know your macaron recipe, practice it several times before you host the party. I like this one, it is not as sweet as you often find, but with great results. Have one batch of plain macaron shells ready to be filled and decorated before your guests arrive. Believe me, if you want to start the party with baking macarons from scratch, it will take far too long before you finally can settle down and enjoy them. This way your guests can already start with decorating early on and also takes off the pressure for the first batch to be perfect.
2. Print the macaron recipe plus all the filling recipes you want to make. Your guests will be happy to take the recipes back home and try on their own. Also be sure to print piping templates (circles of the macarons) to make piping easier and all the same size. Here you will find a printable for regular size macarons. For heart shaped macarons, check out these. Print each twice and put under parchment paper before piping (see picture in the middle).
3. Ask your guests to bring along plastic boxes to take home macarons. They do get excited if you involve them early on. They may also bring along some of the ingredients (except for the egg whites perhaps) such as decorations, almonds, icing sugar, etc.
4. Have at least two fillings ready before your guests arrive. I have successfully filled macarons with strawberry cream, Nutella, caramel sauce, raspberry cream, lemon curd, chocolate ganache, and apricot jam. Obviously any jam works and many more fillings. Feel free to go wild.
5. Each guest should have something to do. If you don’t have enough space and equipment for all your guests to actually make macarons, set up other areas where they can a) make fillings (as this often requires working at the stove like for lemon curd), b) decorate macarons or c) make nice little boxes to give away the macarons as a special gift (see large picture above). A printable pdf of the boxes can be found here. The pictures give you some ideas of how else macarons can be decorated. Some of my guests actually preferred decorating to actually making macarons.
6. Have lots of beverages ready and savory snacks. You will be surprised to see how often you will catch yourself licking your fingers or eating some sweet leftovers. The best part is when you can finally munch macarons, so savory snacks are a good balance for that.
7. As a fancy decorating idea, have a look at this blog entry which explains how marbled macarons are done. Basically you put some food color on whipping cream and then dip the macarons in it. Below shows you a picture of a macaron which has not been dabbed yet of the whipping cream.
8. And finally: have fun! Throw on some French dresses, put French chansons on LPs and enjoy some baking time with your friends!
PS: My first baking party was on the hottest and most humid day of the year. The macarons cracked and didn’t turn out that great except for one batch, but hey, we did have fun anyway!
I am also taking this to the link party Fiesta Friday.