After the cooking class at The Crafty Kitchen, I was all pumped up to try out my skills in the kitchen. And just few days later I was invited to participate in the macarons & cookies class at NHI along with few other food bloggers of Oman.
NHI is a leading institute in Oman offering courses in the fields of Travel, Hospitality and Catering. The Gulf Chef School at NHI provides several programs in professional cookery with the duration ranging from 4 to 12 months. If you are interested in doing courses in these fields, look up NHI’s website for more details! (www.nhioman.com)
The class was held last Saturday morning from 9-12 pm under the guidance of Chef Ramesh who is the Executive Pastry Chef at NHI. He is a very talented personality with tremendous passion for baking and his techniques exhibit skills honed after years of practice. Chef Ramesh is also very friendly and a great support during his classes.
The training kitchen is big, neat and has about 7-8 cooking stations for the students. We gathered around our tutor who had already begun the class at a gallop.
The session began with a brief introduction of the day’s agenda and a quick narration of the macaron recipe. First all the ingredients had to be weighed out and taken back to our cooking stations.
We spent quite a good amount of time whisking egg whites and sugar till it ballooned into a beautifully fluffed meringue. I think that was the hardest part because we did the whisking manually and none of us could match Chef Ramesh’s insane speed.
It didn’t take long for my hand to get tired and then the whisking machine came to my rescue. Next we sifted flour and almond powder which was added to the meringue and folded to readiness. Right about now is the time to add any food colouring to the concoction before it was poured into the piping bag. Unfortunately we didn’t get any color additives as this was a basic class for macarons.
I had my friend Daley come with me to this baking class and help out with the photography and a bit of whisking too. Chef Ramesh then showed us how to load up a piping bag and measure out the macaron halves on a baking sheet.
After we were done creating our little circles, we left the tray aside for 30 mins so the macarons could dry.
Meanwhile we began working on the chocolate chip cookies recipe.
Using our fingers we mashed sugar and soft butter together till it blended perfectly. Subsequently we added egg, vanilla essence, baking powder and all purpose flour to this mix which soon started giving out a sweet mouthwatering aroma.
This is my favourite part of the recipe – adding the chocolate chips! We gave the mix a final stir and constructed our desired cookie shapes with flour dusted hands (or else this would turn out to be a sticky job!)
I made few large cookies and few small sized ones.
A little past 30 minutes, we sent our macarons tray into the oven at 160 degrees for about 14 minutes.
Tadaa, fresh macarons! Most of my macarons had come out well but there were a few cracked ones too.
My only disappointed was that we did not learn to make any of the flavoured cream fillings for the macarons. I went home and sandwiched some nutella between the baked macarons. Taste wise, I was so proud of what I had created; the macarons were soft and delightful.
Now it was time for the cookies to be baked. 12 minutes at 180 degrees and soon the kitchen was smelling like sweet concoction again.
The cookies turned out great with a lovely texture and delectable taste.
Overall, the class was well executed within the time duration and Chef Ramesh was extremely helpful at our every step. I came away with excellent tips and the class definitely managed to de-mystify the art of macaron baking. I have made cookies in the past but now I prefer Chef Ramesh’s recipe as it is much easier.
It was a fun and interactive class with most of us getting excellent results and the best part – I got to take all of my baked goodies home! Happy nomnom.
Photography by Daley Mathias
Training Center: National Hospitality Institute
Location: Wadi Kabir, Oman
Contact number: +968 24813141