Colour in the kitchen: Perfecting the art of macarons

An Adelaide start-up business shows us that macarons are not only delicious, but also a great stress reliever (Image Source: @macarons_at_midnight)

By Viki Ntafillis | @viki_ntaf

Aah, macarons.

When baked properly, these confections are small morsels of lighter-than-air heaven.

But what most people don’t know is that up until that first bite, macarons can be stressful, hair-pulling, and downright frustrating to make.

Macarons need to have a precise cookie-to-filling ratio, and need to be a little chewy, but not so soft that it’s mushy.

This can be difficult to achieve for certified chefs, let alone the everyday person.

However, for Beck Shefe, owner of Adelaide small business ‘Macarons at Midnight’, this is exactly why she loves making them.

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Beck Shefe’s creations prove that macarons can come in all shapes and sizes (Image Source: Macarons at Midnight’s Instagram @macarons_at_midnight).

“Macarons are something you need to be really in the moment for; you can’t be distracted when you’re making them because they are very unforgiving.”

In addition to being a macaron connoisseur, Ms Shefe also holds a nursing degree and a post-grad in mental health nursing; both from UniSA.

Being a full-time nurse, work can get pretty hectic for Ms Shefe, so the macarons are her outlet.

“I work in a community mental health service and have been a nurse for around 15 years,” she said.

“Baking for me is a really mindful practice. It’s about being in the moment, being really focussed, and not looking into the past or the future—just being ‘in’.

“Because everything has to be the exact weight and exact timing, baking macarons is a wonderful way to clear your head.

“No matter what you’ve had going on, you can come home, bake a batch, and then whatever has happened during the day has gone.

“It’s wonderful to be able to have that time where that’s all you concentrate on.”

 

Beck Shefe, the mastermind behind ‘Macarons at Midnight’ (Image Source: Viki Ntafillis)

 

Ms Shefe said setting up market stalls was also a highlight of running her business.

“I like the atmosphere of markets, and it’s allowed me to share macarons with a whole different bunch of people,” she said.

“I love getting out, meeting people, and getting feedback on different flavours”

“Also, going to markets has shown me the real importance of buying local, meeting the makers, and considering where you’re buying from; whether it’s your groceries, clothes or homewares.

“It’s also great for the buyer as they get a truly personal experience and can get items made just for them, like my macarons suiting colour themes for birthday parties.”

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Beck’s macarons look too good to eat! (Image Source: Macarons at Midnight’s Instagram @macarons_at_midnight).

Ms Shefe said that each batch takes about two hours to make and, depending on where she is setting up her stall, she could make 6-12 batches for a market.

While this is what inspired the name of her business, Ms Shefe said coming up with the name was definitely a challenge.

“I can bake, I can make new flavours, but coming up with the name was the hardest,” she said.

“I had so many names and then I’d look on the ABN website and they’d be taken.

“I originally wanted ‘Return of the Mac’ as a flashback to the ’90s, but that was taken.”

Looking back, Ms Shefe said her macaron craze started around four years ago.

“My friend was having a kitchen tea for her wedding, so I thought I better cook up something special for it, so that’s when I started and then I just really loved it,” she said.

“There are only so many you can make for your family and friends. They’ve never said no, but I thought that I needed to expand to other people as well.

“My husband is a big support; he does all my photography and manages my Instagram.”

As for her favourite flavour, it would be impossible to just pick one.

“My favourites are lemon buttercream, just because it’s so light and underrated, and caramel; I could eat that straight out of the bowl,” Ms Shefe said.

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Macarons pair well with any beverage (Image Source: Macarons at Midnight’s Instagram @macarons_at_midnight).

Some of the other flavours on offer are milk chocolate and strawberry, cookies and cream, berry cheesecake, and even redskin.

You can catch “Macarons at Midnight” 6-9pm Friday, September 27 at My House Your House’s ‘Spring Fling’ Festival.

Ms Shefe will also be at Tea Tree Gully on October 12 at the Norwood Pipsqueak Markets, and at Gilles at the Grounds once again on October 20.

 

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