Make Bouchon Bakery’s Holiday Macarons

First Republic Bank
December 27, 2021

Pastry Chef Nicholas Bonamico of Bouchon Bakery demonstrates how to make gingerbread macarons with cream cheese filling. Chef Bonamico will also share holiday baking tips and favorite recipes from Chef Thomas Keller’s famed bakery in Yountville, California. In addition, Chef Keller will join Chef Bonamico to wish you a warm holiday season.

Grab your rolling pin, roll up your sleeves and get baking.

Read below for a full transcript of the conversation. 

Valerie Ulrich - Welcome everyone. Good afternoon and good evening. My name is Valerie Ulrich, Vice President of Special Events and Conferences at First Republic. Thank you for joining us today for our baking demonstration with Bouchon's pastry chef. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing our guest chef, Pastry Chef, Nicholas Bonamico. He comes to you live from Chef Thomas Keller's development kitchen. Chef Nicholas Bonamico leads the pastry team and oversees pastry production for Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, California. Chef Nick joined the pastry team in Yountville after spending the past 10 years with Bouchon Bakery and Cafe at Time Warner Center in New York, where he began his career in 2006. There Chef Nick quickly rose from chef de partie to pastry chef. He first developed his appreciation for pastry and service while working under the renowned Chef Laurent Richard at La Caravelle in New York after graduating from the The French Culinary Institute in 2001. Chef Nick is inspired by his family, particularly his father who gave him both a love of sweets and a respect for food and honoring tradition. A brief hiatus from cooking afforded Chef Nick the time to earn an undergraduate degree in history with a minor in classics from City College of New York, and a graduate degree in theology from Cambridge University. Before we start, a quick housekeeping note, you are welcome to submit questions during the demo. And to submit a question, please use the Q and A icon at the bottom of the screen. We will try to answer as many questions live during the demo. This demo is being recorded, and a playback will be available on our website in a week or two. With that, I welcome Chef Nick. Take it away, Chef.

Chef Nicholas Bonamico -Welcome everyone to Napa, California. This is our test kitchen. I'm Nick, Nick Bonamico, and this is my sous chef, Erin Lovelace.

Erin Lovelace - Hi.

Chef Nick - She's been working with me for five years now, previously you were at Per Se and worked at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee and a number of other places. So she's my source for anything southern that I need to know about, as well as just my right hand in the kitchen. Without delay, we're going to get started on the recipe, which is gingerbread macarons. So gingerbread is probably my favorite smell, much better than pumpkin spice. It's just, it's great. As soon as December rolls around, Thanksgiving's behind you finally, you can start smelling that aroma in the bakery and it's just great. So we're making those today. And it's a little bit complicated. So you're going to get a recipe, and the most important thing is to have your mise en place ready. So by mise en place is a fancy French word just meaning that everything's in its place. So everything is scaled out, your sheet pans are ready, your oven is on, which we figured out how to use this beautiful Hestan oven, which is incredible. But it's really important. So even in the kitchen we get everything ready in advance, we don't start mixing and then we're scaling something else out and getting confused. So we're going to start first with the sugar. So what it is, it's water basically and sugar, and that's going to get cooked to 248 degrees, right?

Erin - Yes.

Chef Nick - So we're going to put that in our pot back here, but it's all ready, and I use these, we call them deli containers. So whenever you get takeout, wash them out really well and they make great tools. So we put them in the pot, and make sure when you, I'm going to show you, I'm going to bring it over to the camera. So make sure when you put it in the pot, you can see that your sugar is going into the water, that you don't put the sugar in first, otherwise it can caramelize. So we put that on the stove, and we turn that to high. Now, how long does it take? Hm, it's kind of making a clicking noise, which is not very fun to listen to. Do you want to see if the back one works?

Erin -Yes. Other one?

Chef Nick - Uh uh. So quick. I'm going to let Chef Erin because she's much more technically adept than I am trying to figure that out. So basically we have the sugar going, at the same time as the sugar is going, we're going to have our egg whites. So egg whites, they have to be clean, which means you can have any egg yolks in it or any other kind of fat in it, or put them in a dirty bowl, because it'll prevent the egg whites from whipping properly. So place your egg whites in the KitchenAid, and what you're going to wait for is basically for the sugar to come to a boil, and then we're going to start the meringue. So the meringue is the base of the macaron. When we make it in the kitchen, do you remember how many grams of sugar that we put in our meringue?

Erin - For our...

Chef Nick - For the one times batch of macarons.

Erin - Oh, we put around 3750.

Chef Nick - 3750. And what is this size?

Erin - This is a very small size. This one only has us exactly 450 or a pound of...

Chef Nick - So it's a lot less sugar here.

Erin - A lot less.

Chef Nick - Here we have, it's a one and a half quart saucepan. And in the kitchen we use a much larger one, 12 quarts, and then we have an 80 quart mixer that we whip our meringue in. So the scale is completely different. Do you mind putting that away? So basically we wait for the sugar to start boiling and then we can start whipping the eggs. You don't want to whip your eggs early because then they're going to become over-whipped. And when that happens, they kind of get too flat, the macarons. You've probably seen them if you've tried to make them before. You get really, we call them the feet, which I'll show you a little bit later what I mean by that. But they get really big feet and they come out flat and they can get crinkly on top, and bad things start to happen, just like when you over whip a meringue for anything else, it's really not a very good thing to do. We have also already scaled is what we call TPT. So that stands for temps pour temps. So basically is a one-to-one ratio of two ingredients. I can already hear it, it's starting to come to a boil. And Erin's being a big help and she's going to keep an eye on it for me. In the kitchen at Bouchon Bakery when we're making these, I mean.

Erin - You can sense all of what's happening, you can hear it. You can start to get a boil, especially with our oven, everything is far away, so you have to know by hearing when things are ready.

Chef Nick - Exactly. And you get like kind of this weird supersonic hearing because it's over the den of mixers going, of bread being made, because in our kitchen we make bread at the same time as we make macarons and we make everything. In the meantime I'm going to just explain the temps pour temps, which I kind of get distracted by hearing the sugar, which is good that you're being aware of whatever's going on in the kitchen. I think we use that word a lot in the kitchen.

Erin - Yeah, awareness.

Chef Nick - It's my favorite.

Valerie - Chef, excuse me a minute. When you start talking about ingredients, can you specify the quantities that you're using right now, please?

Chef Nick - Sure. Would you mind handing me my little cheat sheet, because this is not the size that I'm used to. So for the sugar it's 450 grams, for the water it's 180 grams, and for the egg whites, for this part, for the meringue, it's 176 grams. For the next part, so you have two sets of egg whites for this. It'll be very clear when you see the recipe, and a great resource for that is our cookbook. So this macaron recipe is the same as in the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook. The only difference is, is that this is gingerbread. The base of the macaron is exactly the same. So what I mean is that all macarons are basically the same. You see pink ones, you see blue ones, you see yellow ones, and you see this and that. Basically it's the same thing with color, or maybe they put some oils in it or something to flavor it, but they're basically the same. So anyway, that's 180 grams of water, 450 grams of sugar, and 176 grams of egg whites in the KitchenAid. So the sugar is almost ready, but not quite, so we're still waiting a little bit. And what we're going to do now is I'm going to, I'll explain to you the temps pour temps finally. So it's equal parts almond flour and confectioner sugar which we call 10x.

Erin - 10x, yes. Yeah, it's mixed 10 times that sugar is refined 10 times.

Chef Nick - So it's super powdery.

Erin - Super powdery.

Chef Nick - And also a good thing to know is the, we use almond flour and not almond meal. So it's a little bit technical. And the way that you'll know the difference is because, you have a funny way of explaining it, I think, is how to tell if it's like almond meal, it feels like a little bit like that consistency of fish food.

Erin - It's like fish flakes.

Chef Nick - It's flaky, but when it's flour, it's powdery.

Erin - Powdery.

Chef Nick - And the reason to use that is you'll have a finer shell. So you won't see a lot of ripples or any kind of texture on this. You want a nice, smooth, shiny shell. So almond flour and 10x, and also, I think you can see in this camera that there's some spices. So there's ginger obviously in here.

Erin - Cinnamon. There's about equal parts of ginger to cinnamon, and then we also have cloves and all spice.

Chef Nick - And all spice this year is extremely difficult to find.

Erin - It is.

Chef Nick - I had to go to actually a supermarket to get my all spice because the people that we get our spices from, don't have any all spice, they all went to the supermarket. So that's all together here.

Valerie - Chef, I'm going to ask another question that we're hearing. A lot of people don't understand the conversion of grams to ounces. Is there any easy way, I know in a kitchen when you're cooking pastries, you use grams. I think Chef Thomas does it with all his recipes, he uses grams, right? But most people don't know how to convert them. Can you help us with that, please?

Chef Nick - Well, we're all technologically adept, and there's a free app on your phone that you can get, including several free apps, and you can just put in ounces and it'll tell you how many grams it is. And make sure that when you say ounces that you mean ounces as ounce by weight, not ounce by volume, so not fluid ounces. Because there you can have a difference. So basically everything we do at the bakery is weighed, it's not by volume. Because volume is not very accurate. Two cups of flour, two differently weighed cups of flour, are completely different. So, is that sugar ready?

Erin - Yes.

Chef Nick - Okay. So the sugar's ready, it's boiling, it's probably at about, do you want to see what temperature it is?

Erin - We are at 225 Fahrenheit.

Chef Nick - So 225 Fahrenheit. It's a little bit over boiling. So that's where we want to start whipping our whites. I usually go about high speed for this.

Valerie - Chef, how many eggs are we talking about for this recipe, please?

Chef Nick - You have 176 egg whites. So every egg has approximately 30, excuse me, 30 grams of egg whites. So an egg white and a large egg usually weighs 30 grams, and the yolk usually weighs 20 grams. So that's about, you'll need six eggs for this recipe. But you're actually going to need twice that because there's also egg whites in the next section, so you'll need about a dozen eggs. And the next question is often, what do you do with the yolks? You make pasta, and then you have your main course, and then you have your dessert, or you can make a creme anglaise, which is a beautiful sauce for, I'm sure after you have your macarons you're going to have some apple pie, a great sauce. So there's a lot of things you can do with egg whites. There's usually something you can kind of figure out with all these extra things you have. So now I can see my whites are getting a little bit stiff so I'm going to turn them down to medium, because this KitchenAid is actually really, really strong. And that's something you have to be kind of conscious of as well. And that's what you have to make these recipes over and over again because it changes. Your KitchenAid won't be like my KitchenAid. It may be better, it may be not as good, so it takes time to get to know your equipment. So really quickly, we have our other egg whites. So for that amount, we have 160, 160 grams of egg whites here that's going to get mixed with TPT. So obviously these are not clean egg whites. We're not going to be whipping these because they're some kind of strange color, but we put.

Erin - We have caramel color and also molasses, and then we put our orange oil in there as well.

Chef Nick - So orange oil, molasses, caramel color. Caramel color is actually something you'd probably have to order online, but it really gives a very rich color to your macarons that you don't really get, and it's better than brown food coloring. Brown food coloring sometimes turns things pink and it's weird ingredients, but caramel color is essentially burnt sugar that's diluted, and it gives it a very nice, it has a little flavor and it's natural, essentially.

Valerie - Chef, are your egg whites room temperature or are they cold?

Chef Nick - Excellent question. Egg whites, always room temperature. And actually when we mix, things come out very well when your eggs are at room temperature, things mix better and more readily. So at room temperature egg white will whip faster, it'll take on more volume, it's actually much easier to over whip, but the fact that it goes faster is a great thing, especially, you don't want to have to wait. Or if you're going to do something by hand, which you're not going to make this by hand, but if you want to make something by hand, room temperature will amp you up.

Valerie - Can you use boxed egg whites?

Chef Nick - You cannot. In professional baking you can buy egg whites to have what is called the whipping agent, but I think the industrial process of separating the eggs, results in egg whites that will not whip. If you bought your liquid egg whites from the shelf and tried to whip them, they would remain watery. You could use them for this part that's the base because these aren't going to be whipped. But you can't really use it to whip, it doesn't come out very well, it's there for omelets and things like that. So what temperature are we at?

Erin - We are at 233.

Chef Nick - So 233. So I'm going to turn this down a little bit. This stove is taking a little bit longer than I thought to cook the sugar. And we are going to 248 Fahrenheit. It's 120 degrees Celsius. Another thing we like to use metric in the system, the numbers are usually a lot easier to remember. 120 is a nice number, 248 is a little bit more complicated. In any case, we use metric, which becomes kind of an argument sometimes in the kitchen. It's like one person's thermometer is set to Fahrenheit, another person's, so we kind of have to be knowledgeable about both sides.

Erin - Yeah, knowledgeable of both sides.

Valerie - Can you tell us how to tell the difference when the whip is done or not over-whipped?

Chef Nick - I'm going to show you in just a minute. So 238, so we're getting very close. And it's a small amount of sugar so it'll go quickly. Well, while we're waiting for this I'm going to grab some parchment here. And I actually wanted to show you this. I didn't want to do it in advance so you can see. So parchment paper comes in all kinds of different sizes. In the bakery, we buy full sheet parchment, which means simply that it fits on a full sheet pan, which is not something that you're going to use at home unless you have a really big oven. But for our purposes, we're using half sheet pans which is super useful. If you go to any kitchen supply store that's worth going to, they're going to know what it is, the half sheet pan. Sometimes they call it a jelly roll pan or something like that, but it's just a baking pan with sides. You can do all kinds of things in here. You can bake cookies on here, you can bake a cake in here, you can bake brownies on here, you can get them in a quarter size, you can get them even smaller, but they all fit in each other, so it's really useful. So that's a half sheet pan. So I'm going to take my full sheet parchment.

Erin - So we're at 244, I think we're almost there-

Chef Nick - So we're basically there.

Erin - We’re at 248.

Chef Nick - So the egg whites are super stiff right now. I don't know if you can see that. So it's perfect. You put them back on. And I turn them to medium speed, take my sugar, and once the sugar is ready, you have to use it right away. Now this is what makes everybody nervous, is putting the syrup into the egg whites. Medium high speed, not too high because the sugar will go all over the place, and you just pour it slowly into the, you can actually hold it up, I'll hold it up a little bit so you can see, just gradually pour it in at that medium speed so it becomes nicely incorporated, and then we're going to turn the KitchenAid to high. In order to clean your pan, just fill it with water, the sugar will melt. Fill it with water, bring it to a boil, the sugar will melt. It's very easy to clean.

Valerie - Chef, at any point...

Chef Nick - Now I'm going to use.

Valerie - Oh, go ahead, sorry.

Chef Nick - This is very important, so I use my timer for three minutes. Three minutes will give you the perfect temperature. Did you have a question?

Valerie - Thank you. At any point, did you stir the sugar into the water? Was that stirred?

Chef Nick - I did not stir it because I put the water in the pot and then I pour the sugar into the water. So there's no need to dissolve it. If you stir the sugar while it's cooking, you can get crystallization, and that's going to be bad for your macarons. It's going to give the macarons a grainy texture. And in fact, sometimes we've had ruined batches because there's some article that, like the pot's not perfectly clean that we're cooking our sugar in and the whole thing crystallizes, and someone who's not experienced pours that sugar into the egg whites and then the egg whites don't whip. And when the egg whites don't whip, and it's two egg whites or three egg whites, or even six egg whites, it's not a big deal. But when it's 60 egg whites, it's a bigger deal.

Erin - That’s a bigger deal.

Chef Nick - So, while this is going, I'm just going to do a little something at the same time. I'm going to cut my parchment in half. So after this, you might want a nice sharp knife, you cut your parchment in half, and then from three full sheets of parchment you have six half sheets which we're going to use later. What we'll use those for is, it's baking the macarons. So you want your macarons all to be the same size. At work we have a big template that's laminated and it doesn't get dirty, but at home, you can go on buy a fancy Silpat, those beautiful baking mats, and they have a circle on them for piping your macarons.

Erin -You find macarons that have an indention, some type of indention

Chef Nick - Those are very nice, but they're also very expensive, and you have to clean them. And they're actually not that easy to clean, because if you don't clean them properly and then dry them properly, they end up smelling funny. So it's a whole thing. So using paper, this is biodegradable, it's very clean, I think that macarons bake beautifully on it, some people really like the Silpats for making macarons, there's nothing wrong with that. I prefer to use parchment just because the cleanup, everything is so much easier. But in order to do so, we have to make a template so we know how large to make the macarons. So you can choose your size, maybe you want mini ones, maybe you want big ones. We're going to do big ones because at Bouchon we sell big macarons, they're more fun. So what you do is I'm going to draw 12 circles equally separated on this parchment paper using a cookie cutter. And actually my meringue is done, my timer just went off. Do you want to take the whisk out and you can bring the meringue back. So what we're going to do is draw in the four corners, I think you can see.

Erin - It’s important to bang the whisk, so you want all the products in your bowl, use all of it.

Chef Nick - Yeah, don't leave any egg whites behind. So it's important that your cookies are evenly spaced on the sheet pan so that they all bake at the same time, and also that they don't touch each other. So I just do this. So, you can see, 12 circles which we'll use to pipe the macaroons. I can get that. Thank you. Do you want to hand me that bowl?

Erin - Yes.

Chef Nick - So with the egg whites, you want to make sure, with the macarons also, and the meringues or anything else, that you don't, the hardest part is staying clean, and this is one of the hardest things to stay clean with. Because once one little thing of meringue gets somewhere where it shouldn't, it's going to end up everywhere. If it gets on your sleeve, or if it gets on the handle of something, or the side of a bowl, it's going to spread. So you have to be very, very neat, which is much more easily said than done. So what we're doing now, at work I actually have two mixing bowls, so I don't have to do this, but I don't think many people at home have two KitchenAid bowls, so this is a necessary step. And you want to be really careful about taking it out that you're not losing any. But you can see how silky this meringue is, it's not lumpy, it's not grainy looking, it's really beautiful, it's like what you would imagine on a, you could actually use this for lemon merengue pie if you wanted to. In fact, we have, and we do, same meringue. If you go to Bouchon Bakery in the morning and you have our lemon tart, you'll have this meringue. So that's our meringue. And now the infamous TPT. So the TPT is mixed this way. And TPT, temps pour temps is our short way of saying the macaron base, it's shorthand. It's kind of a kitchen jargon, but it works for us. And I've been saying it for, I don't know, 15 years now, so I'm going to keep saying it. So your egg whites with all the flavorings, it has orange oil in there, it has the colorings that we're going to use, it has molasses. So we just add all that together into the bottom of the KitchenAid bowl. Make sure you're always scraping whatever container it is out, because you've gone to the trouble of measuring how many, 54 grams of molasses, and six grams of caramel color, and then a tablespoon of ginger, two and a half teaspoons of cinnamon, two and a teaspoons of cloves, and two teaspoons of ground all spice.

So you've gone through the trouble of doing all that, you want to use it all, you don't want to leave any behind. And that's another thing a lot of people make mistakes on is they don't scrape the bowl, so they don't get anywhere. And then we add the TPT to this. You need to be kind of strategic about where you're placing things. You always have a space, a place to put your spatula so you're not putting it on the counter or anything like that. So put your KitchenAid bowl back on, and then you use a paddle attachment. We're going to mix this slowly to start so we don't get a cloud of powdered sugar everywhere. With the mixer at work, you have to set it before you start it. It doesn't go up gradually like this, it's different kinds of systems. So a lot of times it gets started in third gear and then there's a cloud of flour or something in the kitchen. But you learn not to do that pretty quickly. If you do it more than twice, it's bad if you do it more than three times, you want to talk about it. So we're going to mix really well so all those flavors are combined. It's going to be a nice cohesive mass. But I haven't put in the rest of my meringue yet. That's where you have to start being careful. When it's just those raw egg whites, the almond flour and the 10x with the seasonings or the spices, you really want to mix that up. And I should mention too right now that I forget, but you you can order these macarons on Goldbelly anytime. For the gingerbread ones, they're only available at Christmas, but we have them available on Goldbelly, it's a website with lots of our products year round. So if you don't live in Yountville or in Las Vegas, or near Bouchon, you can get them there. And we love to ship everywhere. Right now, I think today, our packers at the bakery, we sent out 130 boxes of macarons to everywhere in the country. So it's a lot of macarons. Each one has six pieces in it, so you just multiply that and you have an idea about what the volume is. So after I put half my meringue in and I kind of mix it. So it's basically half mixed at this point. And then I'm going to scrape the bowl a little bit. Do you mind handing me that larger spatula?

Valerie - Chef, do you have a substitute for the.

Chef Nick - What’s that?

Valerie - Do you have a substitute for a non nut flour instead of almond flour?

Chef Nick - No. I say that with a little bit of caution, but I really don't. Because the thing is, is what you need in the, I actually grabbed a larger spatula because this bowl is a little bit too large for the spatula I was using before. So make sure your tools are the right size before you start. But the thing about almonds is, and I hesitate to say it a little bit, but I also don't hesitate to say it. Because the macaron was invented because of the almond, it has the perfect amount of fat in it and kind of solid bits that when you mix it with sugar, it creates this product that's a macaron. It has that chewy outside, or chewy inside, and the crisp exterior, and it just bakes perfectly. So it's really actually hard to substitute. Even when you try to substitute it with pistachio, you can only use a little bit of pistachio flour because it has more fat in it, or almond or hazelnuts can be interchanged, but that's also a nut. But if you tried to use ground peanuts, it doesn't work. If you try to use, I made corn flour macarons.

Erin - They were good.

Chef Nick - They were good, right? But I had to add oil.

Erin - Yes.

Chef Nick - And I only used, I think half corn meal and still half-

Erin - It was blue corn.

Chef Nick - Yeah, it was blue corn. They were really pretty. Half cornmeal and half almond, just because the almonds is what gives you what you want.

Valerie - What if you don't want to go and buy all the specific ingredients like the molasses and the caramel color, is there any pre-made sort of a mixture version that you could purchase?

Chef Nick - Well, I would argue that if you're a baker who wants to make macarons, some of those ingredients are going to be things you're going to use a lot. Molasses is just a great thing to have in the kitchen, there's not a chocolate chip cookie you can make that's going to be worth eating without molasses in it. So you can use different kinds of molasses, you could use honey instead of molasses if you don't have it at home. But this is also what gives you the flavor of gingerbread. So I think this is one of those recipes where, a lot of the times I'm kind of very casual and I'll say, "Oh, you can substitute this and that," but not in macarons. You really have to follow the recipe, oops, excuse me, or you'll end up with something different. So this is another little trick. I have a baking spray here. If you don't have baking spray, you don't have to use it. You can put a little bit of, actually the macaron mix here. What this is going to do is it's going to stick our parchment paper to our sheet pan and make it easier to pipe. So you have your template with the circles. Now I drew these circles with a Sharpie. I don't want the Sharpie to bake into the macaron so I put it Sharpie side down. Could you hand me a piping bag? So piping bag, I use disposable plastic ones. I know plastic is not something that everybody wants to use, but it's much cleaner, it's much easier to use. If you want to use a reusable one, that's fine, just make sure you wash it and dry it really well. So you cut the hole on the piping bag and you put your piping tip in it. This one is an 805, they're standard sizes. So an 805 is an 805. You put your piping tip in, you close the bag a little bit, and you push the, I'm trying to see how you can see it best. So I have my tip in there and then I pushed some of the bag into the tip so when I fill the macaron it won't fall out.

So the macaron consistency is very important. And I think you can see it here that it just starts to fall in on itself. If I have a little peak, it'll smooth out as I leave it. Because I don't want a lumpy macaron, no one wants that. So just until it starts losing the little ridges. But this is, again, something that takes a lot of practice. And there's no shame in having it not work the first time, or if it works the first time, there's really no shame in having it not work the second time because beginner's luck. It takes a long time to really learn that consistency, but if you follow the directions especially in our cookbook, which is available from the Finesse Store, it's our website, it's going to work. The recipes in there are really detailed and they're going to give you a lot of helm so you can keep looking back. Now, to pipe the macaron, I want them all to be the same size, so I'm going to pipe, and you can see. So just until I get to the edge of the lines that I made. You want to stay in the line, don't go out of the line. That's why you want a big macaron, you don't want one that's too big. Would you mind taking this and putting the cream cheese in the other KitchenAid bowl?

Erin - Yes.

Chef Nick - So do you hear that? I had an air bubble. So don't worry about it, just put a little bit more macaron in, make sure you get to the line, and it's all good. So this recipe is going to make about two dozen macarons. I'm just going to pipe one tray for you now to show you and put it in the oven. You can take that. So now the best part, nonpareils. You want red and green ones. You can put any color you want, but it's Christmas so we put red and green. And use a lot. And then to make sure they all stick, you want to tap your tray a little bit, just lightly, and it'll help all the little nonpareils stick. And now I have my oven preheated. This is a convection oven, it's preheated to 350. They're going to bake for about 12, 15 minutes, I think, in this one. So again, I use my timer here. Make sure you use the timer, don't just go by the clock or what do you think is going to be the right time. So, cream cheese icing. Very simple, cream cheese, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, it's the only cream cheese we use. If you have another cream cheese you like, that's fine, but this one makes great icing because it just comes out right every time. Again, confectioner's sugar, put the two together, this is super simple. So if you make a red velvet cake, if you make a carrot cake, if you make any of those kinds of cakes, same. So you have your cream cheese and your 10x, and then we have vanilla beans. So this is what gives it a little bit of luxury. Would you mind filling a bag with a little bit of the other cream cheese icing?

Erin - Yes.

Chef Nick - So I have some over here. So in the interest of time I'm going to have some already filled, but I'm going to show you how to make it. So we have our Tahitian vanilla beans. If you don't want to use vanilla beans, that's fine, just use a nice vanilla paste. I tend not to use extracts. The differences is, an extract is made with alcohol, so it tastes kind of alcoholic and they're usually of lower quality, the paste are just made with the filling of the vanilla beans. So what I'm doing is I'm cutting the bean down the long way and I'm scraping out the insides, and then I get all that vanilla bean goodness into the bowl. And I'm going to use two beans here because it's Christmas and you want to impress your guests with your fancy vanilla. And it really, when you use it from a bean, you will see the difference. And the extra pods, what you want to do is you want to take a container of sugar, put this inside, leave it for a few weeks, and just keep replenishing it. But use that sugar for your tea or your coffee, and you have beautiful vanilla sugar or anything you can think you'd want vanilla sugar for. So basically I have everything in the same bowl with a paddle again, and I'm going to mix it. You don't want to over whip this. If you over whip cream cheese it kind of loses its consistency.

Erin - It gets fluffy, fluffy in a weird way like your stair pockets. You want it to be fluffy but it's fluffy like they're spongy almost.

Chef Nick - Yeah, it's super weird, but it's just something you discover again. So don't over mix it. You just want to mix it until it's combined. So as you can see, and this is a good little lesson, so I mixed it, but you can see there's still a lot of dry stuff on the bottom of the bowl. So it's all your sugar. And a lot of people, frankly, they fail at baking because of this problem. Do you have a spatula? Sorry, my spatula. And you want to make sure that when you do this you scrape everything, and then you're going to mix it again so that everything is equally combined. And this is the same with cookies, anything that you use a mixer for, people, again and again they don't scrape the bowl. And that's why you have cookies that are all uneven, that don't spread correctly and you're like, "Why didn't my chocolate chip cookies come out right this time but they came out right last time? I measured everything the same way," but you didn't scrape the bowl. So the ones at the bottom were full of butter or full of sugar and they didn't have enough of the opposite because you didn't scrape. So it's great. Very important. It's a little bit of work, but you'll be happier for it. And again, it's great to have someone in the kitchen with you too to help, it makes this whole thing much less stressful and more fun. How much cream cheese icing do we use every day?

Erin - Oh, every day. Well, for a whole week it's about a 44 quarts.

Chef Nick - Yeah, 44 quarts.

Erin - We have a cream cheese Danish that's pretty popular now, about 48 during the week, and then it doubles and triples on the weekend.

Chef Nick - So this is what you want it to look like. It's just a very nice, creamy and rich, and you can see all the vanilla bean speckles in there. This is what makes it great. It's not just cream cheese icing. Anybody can put cream cheese and 10x in a bowl and mix it together, but if you go to the care of getting, well, first of all, make sure you use Philadelphia cream cheese. I feel like I'm advertising.

Erin - The other ones don't work as well.

Chef Nick -They do not work.

Erin - They definitely get more spongy if you over mix.

Chef Nick - It's weird. They're waxy tasting or something.

Erin - Definitely use Philadelphia.

Chef Nick - Don’t use low fat cream cheese, that shouldn't exist.

Erin - If you are going to make macarons, go all out.

Chef Nick - Yes. And Tahitian vanilla. You can use the Madagascar one if you can find it, but you probably won't be able to. So that's your cream cheese icing. Now I already have some in a, you can just put it over there for now. And I'm going to grab, I already have some macarons baked because I don't want to wait for them to cool down to fill them, I want to be able to show you. So the macarons bake, and then we take them out, and they look like this. So before I was talking about the feet. So if you over mix your macaron, see they have like this, I'm going to try to angle it to the camera so you can see it. See, they have this edge here, it's called the foot. You've watched, I mean, and you yourself have watched the oven to see if the foot's forming or not.

Erin - You really want to wait especially if it's your first time on our macaron station. You're like staring waiting to see what's going to happen. Sometimes volcanoes happen on top, anything can happen and a lot of times you're questioning on what went wrong. It's a lot of things that could go wrong, but most people are

Chef Nick - Exactly.

Erin - Practically looking at their foot.

Chef Nick - Anything can go wrong, it will go wrong, it's okay, just make macarons again. It's an investment in time and energy, but, I don't know, the pleasure of when they come out beautifully...

Erin - It's worth everything.

Chef Nick - So I match them. So even though I've been piping them for a long time, I'm not a robot, they don't come out evenly every time, it's okay. So I still match them. So I make sure when I fill them they're the same size. And you're going to pair them up.

Erin - And you do want to make sure they're cool all the way. because if you're like antsy and you really want to get them going, they won't stick to the parchment. The center will want to stick.

Chef Nick - So I don't know, an hour outside of the oven at least.

Erin - Yeah, even if they feel slightly warm, I would be cautious to fill them up.

Chef Nick - Cream cheese icing. Don't be cheap with the icing, don't be cheap with the, if you want to call it frosting. Would you call it frosting or icing?

Erin - Well, we call it CC Frost. We have all these weird, Thomas Keller loves abbreviations. He has this TKO cookie which is the Thomas Keller Oreo, and then we have the TLC, which is The The Laura Cunningham. So he loves abbreviation. So the bakery calls it CC frost, so I call it cream cheese frosting because of that. But otherwise, normally I call it icing.

Chef Nick - So, make sure you have enough filling, very important. And then when you're putting them together, you kind of want to even them out as you're squeezing. Now, I have very strong thumbs, clearly, because I just broke the edge, so be delicate. And you don't want any cracks, you've worked all this time, so just very gently, squeeze them together, and you have a nice, sometimes they call them hamburgers. I want one of those hamburgers. They are a lot of weird...

Erin - A double burger, double

Chef Nick - It's really what you want, a double stuffed Oreo, basically. You want a lot of filling. The filling is the best part. I mean, the cookie is great, but the cookie's a vehicle for the filling, I mean, it just is. That beautiful, if it's a ganache.

Erin - My favorite is a ganache filling. I find sometimes buttercream can be a little sweet. But ganache.

Chef Nick - But a beautiful chocolate macaron with a chocolate ganache, it's so good. And that's it. Now, you can make them and eat them right away, really good. You can also make them, wrap them very well, and freeze them for as long as you want. As long as they're wrapped really well, and they don't get frosty, you're fine. Thaw them in the fridge, and they'll be delicious. But you want to eat them at room temperature. But they're great right away. So that's your macaron. Pretty simple in a way, because it's only a few ingredients. Its egg whites, almond flour and confectioner's sugar. But I think you have an idea that you need to have all your ingredients ready, you need to follow your recipes, and it's going to work. So just watch the video again if you forget. But the last moment, when it's full of that beautiful icing, it's just great. So those are the macarons. Like I said, you can get them on Goldbelly, and we have a lot of other stuff, we have, what did you work all day yesterday on?

Erin - Amaretti and peppermint bark.

Chef Nick - So Amaretti.

Erin - Amaretti, we're making a lot of Amaretti. 8 are going for a package, and we're doing a full speed rack, and a speed rack holds around 800 of them. So we can get a hundred packages up on the speed rack, but we're doing five of those a week right now, so everyone loves them.

Chef Nick - So everything's in the thousands.

Erin - Yeah, everything is growing exponentially.

Chef Nick - Well, we have a couple of minutes, I don't know if there are any questions that you can ask.

Valerie - Yes, Chef, there are a few. And one of the most important might be that a number of people have gone onto the Goldbelly site to order things, and there's nothing available.

Chef Nick - Okay. Well, we'll make more.

Valerie - So what do you suggest? The discount is available till December 29, when do you suggest they visit the site again to take advantage?

Chef Nick - I would visit next week. It is a very busy time, and I will say that it is extremely difficult right now with, I'm going to blame everything on supply chain issues. But in order to have enough, we can make the macarons, but it's getting them shipped that is sometimes our limitation. We'll have macarons on Goldbelly throughout the year. We're going to have our packaged products, we have beautiful toffee, caramel popcorn available all year round. So I would also visit after the holidays. I know it's not the best question. We can see about the discount code, maybe we can extend it. Because I don't want anybody to be disappointed. It is very challenging for everybody to get what they want, but our packaged goods, I think, I believe are still available. We basically box as many as FedEx can pick up.

Valerie - Okay, well, maybe we could extend the discount code or something. We'll figure it out so that, because yeah. Now, one of the things that was really important is to have the right ingredients, what good brand of a scale would you suggest that people buy for home use?

Chef Nick - What is that called, the one that I'm thinking of?

Erin - I know that we have a scale right here that's pretty popular. It looks like it's called Escali. I know a lot of bakers use this one and it has grams and ounces on it.

Valerie - How do you spell that?

Chef Nick - E-S-C-A-L-I.

Erin - And this is a good one for at home and it just takes two AA batteries, so it's not difficult. Sometimes it has like the little round battery that's black, it's kind of hard to figure out.

Chef Nick - The two things you want to look for is, is you want to look for something that can go both grams and ounces so you can just push a button and it'll tell you both. So you put your ounces on there and you want to know what that is in grams, you just push the button. That's really important. But try to find one that does every gram as well, make sure you don't buy one that goes five grams.

Erin - That gets difficult especially for a recipe like this where the moment you start you already need just five grams of orange oil.

Chef Nick - Yeah, exactly. So that's an important thing to look for. I think weighing things is getting more and more prevalent. Once you make the leap, it's a lot better.

Erin - And really, I don't believe that they're that expensive.

Chef Nick - No.

Erin - If you want to buy maybe a little bit more higher end, it'll maybe be a little bit less than $50, but that scale, I believe it's $20 or less.

Chef Nick - Yeah, it's not a huge investment.

Erin - And they last a long time. My scale is a little bit more heavy duty, that I have at home, but I've had it for maybe five to six years and it still works very well. You just don't want to, make sure you don't set a lot of heavy stuff on it, then the scaling gets kind of off when you're storing it.

Chef Nick - Be gentle with your equipment. I do need to, an ounce of surprise. We have a Christmas greeting from Chef Thomas Keller. Unfortunately he couldn't be with us today. Having restaurants around the country, sometimes you're required in other places at the last minute, that's what happened today. But Christmas is super important to him for us. It's the one day in Yountville that we're closed, and it's important to him that we have that time to share with our friends, our family, or just reflecting. So he has a special greeting for you. I want you all to know that he really wants to communicate this with you, and he loves this holiday. I think one of the best things is when he comes in, it's always on Christmas or New Year's. He comes and gets his pies, and he comes and gets his Christmas treats.

Erin - He loves the toffee. He's always getting the toffee.

Chef Nick - It's always fun to see him in on the holidays. Anyway, he has a special greeting for you. So here's Chef Thomas.

Chef Thomas Keller - Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. Thank you for joining Chef Nick for his really wonderful gingerbread macaron demonstration. I wish I was there, unfortunately I can't be. But I want to wish you all a beautiful, wonderful, safe holiday. Thank you.

Chef Nick - Thank you, Chef.

Valerie - Thank you, Chef Bonamico and Chef Keller for a special treat. We really appreciate both of you taking today with us to make a memorable experience, and for teaching us more about macarons. To our attendees, we thank you for being with us today. As a reminder, we are recording this demonstration, and the demonstration will be available on our website toward the end of next week. A follow-up recipe will be sent by email tomorrow with the instructions, as well as a link to Bouchon's website. And as a special treat, we've already mentioned that there will be discount codes for Goldbelly and Finesse for the Bouchon treats and Chef Thomas Keller's cookbooks, which will also be included in the email tomorrow. So both discounts are available until December the 29th, and we wish you a very, very happy holiday. Take care and be well. And again, thank you Chef. Thank you, Chefs.

Chef Nick - Thank you.

Erin - Thank you.