I wanted to try something different this Friday and I checked out MeetUp to see what was happening in town. I noticed a baking group, called ‘The Mixing Bowl HK’. I was intrigued by it.
I checked it out (here is its website and Facebook page) and it turns out that Victor and Kyle are really passionate about baking. Their signature ‘dish’ is bread, but I was more curious to learn how to bake macarons. Given that I don’t bake at all (but I’m one of the lucky ones with an oven in Hong Kong) I figured, why don’t start with one of the most difficult items to make?
But luckily enough, Kyle made it all sound very simple. So when I arrived at 7pm and met the other four ‘expert bakers’ for the evening, he had already prepared the table, measured our ingredients and shared the first set of tips with us.
We immediately got started, beating egg whites, adding sugar, beating it more – and then for the fun part, we added food colour.
Of course, you could have added real flavour like cocoa powder or matcha powder too. But Kyle reminded us that we were all beginners, so we would start with a basic macaron that’s sweet and colourful. Then we could add different ganache fillings to add flavour to it. Ok, this sounded simple and logical.
In with the colour! That was really fun. The colours looked amazing in our mixing bowls.
A little more sugar and fine, grounded almonds were added to the mix – Kyle kept checking that we folded it all together carefully and that our mixture was still light but not too liquid. He did a great job keeping our inexperienced baker nerves under control!
Then, we filled the macaron dough into piping bags… just look how colorful they are!
Finally we got to pipe the macarons on to the baking trays. That was the most difficult part for me.
I could not get my macarons to have a clean, neat and even top. All of mine have a tiny little peak from where I pulled the dough away. I guess it all comes with practice!
We let the macarons cool and rest, heated the baking trays and then popped our little darlings into the oven.
At this point of the evening, we all kept our fingers crossed – and we started chatting. Kyle had baked a lovely banana bread (I really should visit his other baking classes next time), made us proper English tea and then Victor turned up as well. We just all chatted and relaxed, like a Friday evening with friends. What a lovely way to learn about how to bake macaroons – all very easy-going (but Kyle made sure we followed the recipe exactly), relaxed and unpretentious.
Finally, the moment of truth arrived. The oven was turned off, the macaroons had a few more seconds in the warmth and then we pulled them out. Some looked perfect (not mine), others were a little more cookie-shaped (properly the egg white was overbeaten) and others looked like a batch of macaroons made by first-time macaroon bakers that really tried hard (like me).
After they cooled down, we Kyle and Victor gave us ganache they had already prepared earlier (otherwise we’d been at the Mixing Bowl HK until midnight!). We had matcha green tea, salted caramel and dark chocolate to choose from.
Off we went – we added the ganache, stuck two macaroon shelves (it was like a puzzle, you had to find two matching ones) together and then admired our macaroons.
Victor gave us a little box to carry them home. It was really a nice, very sweet, experience.
Would I go there again? Yes of course. It was fun, I learnt something new and I really enjoyed myself. Kyle was a great teacher.
The Mixing Bowl
Flat 137, 5/F, Kai Wah Building, No. 135-137, Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan