November 23, 2011 § 18 Comments
Whew, enough catch-up posts from me. Now on to some serious crafting around here, as it should be!
I am in love with French macarons. Aren’t we all? They’re delicious. Divine! And so darling. Torontonians aren’t quite blessed to have the luxury of indulging in Ladurée on any given day. But what we do have is a handful of gourmet bakeries that serve these pretty pastel treats. I thought it was imperative to reward myself with three last Friday, after completing my crafts for spring issues next year. Three teeny tiny macarons for $9 is definitely not a daily splurge! And I inhaled them too quickly.
Immediately followed was the urge to craft fake macarons for this blog. If I can’t buy them often, at least I can pretend to always have them!
These are so simple and quick to make, in hindsight. But it took me two days of experimentation to figure out the right technique to make them. My challenge were the macaron “feet”. Macarons are such a simple shape, but no two circular discs would ever do! They’re not that simple. Without feet, they’d look like whoopie pies. And whoopie pies and macarons are from absolutely different leagues.
I’ve seen some faux macarons online made of molded clay. There are molds available that let you make your own polymer and paper clay macarons at home. Tempting! But I thought: $5 for a mold, anywhere between $10-30 for expensive paper clay in an assortment of colors (if I want to make plenty), shipping, handling, duty (and shipping duties in Canada are sky high)…it can be costly!
There has got to be a way to make macaron ornaments for nearly nothing! I figured how you can make dozens for about $5.
Can I say these faux French macarons are Parisian? Because I made them entirely out of plaster of Paris. And all quickly done by hand, as you would bake them. No need to spend your money on a mold, and ordering online and all the shipping fees, etc. All you need is plaster, a bit of paint, ribbon, and any 1-1/2″ circular object with an edge.
These instructions make 12 shells (6 macarons):
1. Take two sheets of cardboard. Draw 2-1/4″ circles, spaced evenly. I suggest doing 6 per sheet.
2. In a disposable cup, using a disposable spoon, mix 1/2 cup plaster + 1/4 cup water + dollop of paint.
3. Quickly spoon mixture onto carboard, staying inside the circles. Tap the cardboard against table to even out surface. This is where it is easier to do 6 in a sheet, so you can spoon and tap the first 6, then move on to the next 6. Dispose of any leftover mix, disposable spoon, and cup or clean thoroughly until there are no traces of cured plaster. You cannot mix new plaster with partly-cured/cured plaster, otherwise the combination will cease quickly.
4. Let the plaster stand and dry for about 5 minutes. When the surface is dry, but the inside is still soft, etch the surface of the plaster using a 1-1/2″ circular object with an edge (I used a hose clamp). Do not go all the way through.
5. Let the plaster dry until you can peel it off the cardboard easily. If the plaster is too dry at this stage, it will stick to the cardboard. Set discs aside to dry completely. Break off the edges of the plaster. The edges should be rough, as these will give the look of the macaron “feet”.
6. In clean cup with clean spoon, mix 1/2 cup plaster + 1/4 cup water + dollop of paint.
7. For each disc, quickly spoon a small dollop of mixture on the centre of the disc. Tap to even out surface, until plaster mixture reaches the edges. You must work quickly with each individual disc.
8. Let dry completely.
9. Cut ribbon in 5″ lengths.
10. In clean cup with clean spoon, mix 1/4 cup plaster + 1/8 cup water + dollop of paint.
11. With disc facing bottom side up, fold ribbon in half and place on disc. Quick spoon plaster mixture over ribbon.
12. Quickly place second disc while plaster is wet, sandwiching wet plaster in between. Let dry.
Et voila — faux macarons!