Macaron Parchment Paper – MacShapes #Giveaway

I know this may sound funny but I’ve never used a stencil to help me pipe out macarons. Even as a total wobbly beginner, when I started out making them 10 years ago, I didn’t.

Over the years, I’ve just become used to piping out macaron batter freehand. Granted, each tray’s shells are not always completely uniformed in size.  Out of 3 trays, I’ll often just get one or two strays that I love to put aside, scoosh out some extra filling on top and enjoy as a taster before putting them all in the box to mature in the fridge for 24 hours.

piping out macarons on to MacShapes baking paper

 Then the other day, I heard about this new pre-printed macaron parchment paper guide called MacShapes.

piping out green macarons on a stencil parchment paper guide

For novice macaron bakers in particular, this parchment paper is definitely a great confidence booster, as it’s such a helpful guide to get you started.  There’s no need for tracing out stencils by hand.  They’re pre-printed with food-grade ink.  An extra luxury is the baking paper’s quality.

green macarons piped before baking

Normally I stagger my rows in order to get the most shells on the one baking sheet.  With the MacShapes paper, I wasn’t used to piping them out at speed in straight lines but it was useful with a guide.  OK, even although I aimed right in the centre, I could have added a bit more batter: it spread out as usual and didn’t quite reach the outer circle.  In the photo they look uneven but I can tell you that it was quick to pair up the couples afterwards, as all the macaron shells were uniform in size.
green macaron batter MacShapes baking paper
Oh, what lovely bottoms and feet!  As you can see by the photo below, the result got the macaron addict thumbs up.  MacShapes parchment paper is super quality.
MacShapes are available for purchase at MacShapes.com. You can also find them on Facebook and join their mailing list to get their latest news and deals.  With a parchment paper guide and a straight-forward macaron recipe from the Mad About Macarons book, there’s no excuse to make that first plunge if you’re scared to make that first move.
In the meantime, MacShapes MacShapes are running this Giveaway on Mad About Macarons!
baked macaron shells with perfect feet

The MacShapes Giveaway

The lovely people at MacShapes have kindly offered a roll each to TEN lucky winners residing in the USA or Canada.

The Giveaway ends Sunday 1 June 2014  (Midnight in Paris)

The GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

Update, 2nd June 2014:

Congratulations to Susan, Karen, Judy, Donna, Mardi, Lake Lili, Chantal, Rieko, Camiella and Christopher – the ten Giveaway winners were selected using the Random Integer Generator on Random.com and will receive a roll of macaron parchment paper from MacShapes.  An email has been sent to them today.

pairing green macaron shells before filling

What flavour will make me fulfilled? Now that’s another question…

How to Enter

Two ways:

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me if you’re a beginner or if you have ever used stencils to guide you in macaron making – and, why not what flavour you’d love to see for this macaron?

2. Share the Giveaway from the MaM Facebook page (and/or on Twitter) and return to this page leaving a comment to let me know you did it.

 Giveaway Rules

1. Open to US and Canadian residents only.

2. Last entries accepted until Sunday 1 June (midnight in Paris; GMT +1)

2. The 10 winners will be selected at random (using www.random.org) and notified by email on Monday 2 June 2014.

Don’t forget there will be 10 lucky winners. Good luck!

 

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Disclaimer: MacShapes supplied me with their pre-printed macaron parchment paper to review . I was not compensated for writing this post and the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Normandy Summer Sea Festival, Veules-les-Roses

This week Paris has been drenched with April Showers in May.  Just to be confusing, in France it’s supposed to be March showers. Good for the shrubs perhaps but even greater for the travel companies, as we’ve been instead turning our thoughts to the summer holidays.

I realised that I’d forgotten to share the rest of a Normandy short break we made last summer. Remember the visit to the watercress beds in Veules-les-Roses?  It’s not surprising that this Normandy village, with the smallest river in Europe, was voted as 6th most preferred village in France by the French in 2013. The locals also host a Watercress Festival on 20 April.  It’s a date to note for 2015 but it’s not too late to mark this fun festival in your diaries for this summer.

Normandy tractors decorated for the festival

La Fête de la mer, or Festival of the Sea, takes place on 15 August. It’s a popular date as the 15 August is always a national holiday in France (and this year it falls on a Friday, making a ‘pont’ bridge for the long weekend). For those of you who prefer to take off earlier, then on 14-15 June there’s the Rose Festival for budding weekenders and on  5-7 July 2014, Veules-les-Roses will run the Linen festival for the very first time.

veules-les-roses sea carnival boats in the Normandy village

The sea festival kicks off with a religious ceremony at the Church of Saint-Martin in the village centre. Then, driven by decorated tractors and jeeps, boats carrying light-hearted, proud youngsters clad in nautical stripes and sailor’s berets form a procession through the main street.

carnival of boats in Normandy

We follow them to the beach, so popular with Russian artists at the end of the 19th Century, inspired by the likes of Monet and Eugène Boudin.

It’s a procession with a difference.  Yes, the boats are going to sea with the Mayor and a couple of priests.

mayor and priests walking on the beach, Normandy

They give their benediction to protect the boats and throw a wreath in memory of all sailors lost at sea.

blessing of the boats and benediction in Normandy, festival of the sea, Veules-les-Roses

Time for some reflection.

bonnet de marin or sailor's beret at the sea festival in Normandy

At the end of the procession, the town hall laid on a splash of Normandy cider, before most visitors headed off for their oyster picnics on the beach or grabbed a table at the numerous seafront restaurants for a plate of local fish and seafood with a view of the cliffs. We already had a super gastronomic meal at Les Galets the night before; this time we found a more light-hearted table at Le Petit Veulais crêperie.  Luckily we booked a few hours beforehand!

normandy oysters

Eye-aye, Captain.  I see their prizewinning oysters (gold medal winners 2013 and 2014 at the Concours Général Agricole) on the horizon, plus watercress beds, rosebeds, oyster beds, seabeds. For sleeping beds, we loved staying a few years before at l’Hôtel Douce France when Julie was just a baby.  This time we stayed in the neighbouring market town of St Valery-en-Caux and thoroughly recommend the Hotel du Casino which is great value.

A great dose of fresh sea air is guaranteed: overlooking the harbour with excited seagulls and tinkering boats for extra ambience, all included.