Learning how to Macaron, or should I say Macaronnage

Over the weekend I had three (3!) hours sans kiddies where I went to learn the art of French macarons. I have never tried making them but have always wanted to. Instead of spending hours and days trying to figure out this finicky cookie by myself, I opted to learn from a pro, a real French person, in fact.
 The class was at a bakery called French Made Baking, where everyone who works there actually speaks French. 
 It was good fun being surrounded by all these beautiful cookies.
 And oddly therapeutic, learning something new, doing something I love, with no kiddies to interrupt.
 There were also other delicious looking baked goods, of course.
We learned all the tricks to making macarons using two different methods, French and Italian meringue.
So what is the difference? Well you can see it right there, Italian meringue macarons are higher, the 'feet' of the macaron is straight, the biscuit is more dense, and they have a better texture compared to French macarons. They are also more finicky and labour intensive to make, involves boiling sugar syrup. A good macaron has a a crunchy crust on the outside and is marzipan-like on the inside. 

 After a demonstration, we got to work, using the easier method, French macaron.
I was a wee bit nervous when mixing the batter, this step is called macaronnage, it can make or break a macaron with a few less or a few extra folds.
 My batch had some visible air bubbles, but I was reassured that it was okay.
Here they are out of the oven! Looking good. A big sigh of relief.
 Matching tops and bottoms by shape and size.
 Time to ganache.
Here are some of the finished ones!
Then came the best part, eating them! But wait, they are not done yet, you have to let them age in the fridge for two days. What? I have to wait two days before devouring them?! Apparently, when a macaron is aged properly, all the flavours will meld together, and they will not pull apart. If you do try to pull it apart after it's been aged, this is what it will look like, the crunch top will come off, leaving chunks of paste behind.
Next we learned how to make macarons using the Italian meringue method.

The batter is thicker and more stiff.
So if you want to eat the best macarons in the world, and you don't want to make them, where do you go?
 Pierre Herme in Paris, that's where.
Will need to remember that one, for when we are in Paris... ...someday.
Thank you, my dear husband, for holding down the fort while I was out. You are much appreciated!