I have a friend who’s been obsessed with French macarons (it’s okay to pronounce it “macaroon” here in the States) since she went to Paris with her family last spring. Unfortunately it seems that macarons are one of those baked goods that are sensitive to elevation and humidity. Most macaron recipes are written to work at sea-level sorts of places with actual moisture in the air. So… basically the opposite of what we’ve got going on here in Denver.
Recently my friend and I were swapping texts about her latest batch of macarons that didn’t quite live up to her Parisian memories. I said, “It’s too bad Keegan Gerhard doesn’t have a macaron class at D Bar. They make fabulous macarons!”
D Bar Denver is my family’s “special place” for dining out. It’s downtown, so it feels exciting and special to go there. It’s polished but not fussy or snooty. When we take the kids there, they are on their best dining-out behavior — but if they have a bad day (or a bad five minutes) it’s not the sort of place where people will give us nasty looks. And the food! Kobe sliders and garlic parm fries, waffles and fried chicken sandwich, bacon mac and cheese, crispy brussels – everything is fresh and flavorful and beautifully presented. Then… there are the desserts. It would be a sad mistake to not save room for dessert at D Bar. In fact, my husband and I will split an entrée for dinner then order our own desserts! They offer staples that we would miss terribly if they were to disappear from the menu (cake and shake! ch-ch-ch-churros!) and seasonal creations that never disappoint.
A couple weeks later I was camping with my kids when I received a text from my husband to the effect of, “Hey – D Bar is hosting a macaron class. You in?” You bet I was in. (And the class filled up in fifteen minutes!)
The class took place at the restaurant’s beautiful, bright pastry bar. We sipped Prosecco while Keegan and his wife Lisa Bailey, co-founder of D Bar, walked us through a detailed demonstration of the ins and outs of French macaron baking, including tweaks to keep in mind for the altitude and dry climate and general piping skills (I’ve ordered 2 Silpat macaron mats with circles on them to help with consistency).
The second half of the class was hands-on: we worked in groups to prep our own batches of macarons. Keegan and Lisa oversaw our work and chimed in with advice on whether to add more egg white to a stiff dough and how long to whip the egg whites. I’m confident that actually getting to see and feel the consistency of the dough will make a big difference when I bake them on my own.
Keegan and Lisa couldn’t have been more generous with us throughout the class. Their professionalism and talent were matched by their humor and kindness. Everyone left with a D Bar apron and French macarons that we made in the class. We also received a cunning little 6-pack of D Bar macarons which I (reluctantly) forced myself to share with my family. I’m looking forward to having a go at homemade French macarons this weekend – fingers crossed I’ll have results worth sharing here before long.