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Giving Macarons to Say Thank You

I started this blog a year ago now, but I feel it should be 5 years old. I had been dreaming about it for so many years before starting it that I had written hundreds of posts in my head, before I even knew what WordPress was.

I always have a bit of trouble explaining what I do for a living. I like to do so many things and have had the luck to work in so many different fields that I myself often lose track of what I should put my energy into. When I started my blog, I knew three things for sure: I had a creative side, I wasn’t too bad with words, and I loved to cook. I wanted to unite, once and for all, all of my passions to benefit one project into which I would be able to pour hours without ever becoming bored with it.

A year later, after hours and hours spent in my kitchen and on my computer, day and night, at home and abroad, I am proud of what Food Nouveau has become. It’s far from being perfect and I’m still learning a lot every day, but it truly is the first thing I’ve ever done that feels so right. It has improved my skills immensely (design, language, and cooking), brought great opportunities, and allowed me to meet awesome people that I would’ve never encountered otherwise.

In 2011, my wish is to channel all of this new knowledge into my professional life. I’ve been a freelance graphic designer and translator for most of my career, and my clients are my biggest asset. I’ve had my share of bad clients in the past, but over this last year, I’ve been lucky enough to work with the best of the best. Perhaps all the positive energy from the pleasure I found in working on Food Nouveau radiated into my professional life as well. Whatever it is, for this year’s holidays, I wanted to find a very special way to say thank you.

Macarons, 5 ways: chocolate, pistachio, lemon, raspberry & cranberry, maple & pecan

One thing that I am close to mastering in the kitchen is the macaron. My how-to post about macarons is still, a year later, my most popular post, and I have become a bit famous (among my friends) for the colorful and flavorful macarons I turn out. I figured, instead of just sending an ordinary holiday card, why not use this excuse to bake a huge batch of macarons and send these to my clients to say “thank you”? The idea turned into an ambitious design, baking, and crafting project and I was so happy with the results that I thought it deserved a post.

I’ll walk you through my macaron project. Perhaps it’ll inspire you to bake something and wrap it in a special way to give to someone who’s particularly meaningful to you. Baking has that special quality that makes it all about the people you bake for. No one bakes a cake for him or herself! Time is precious these days, and I find that giving something you made yourself says “thank you” in a way no store-bought gift can.

I wish everybody could work not only to earn an income, but to fulfill a passion. This isn’t wishful thinking; it’s very close to being my reality. For that, I’m endlessly thankful.

Giving Homemade Macarons: A Craft Project

Early on in the project, I found a great gift box for macarons, it holds 10 1-1/4-inch little wonders. I started from there, with the idea to make 5 different flavors to package a literal rainbow of flavors.

My version of a mise-en-place for a craft project:

My "Mise en place" for the macaron craft project

I decided to package my macaron boxed in white paper bags. I designed and printed a warning to be glued to the bag to advise whoever would be taking delivery that the bag had to be treated gently and refrigerated as soon as possible. I used a beautiful reindeer stamp to decorate these labels.

Label for the bag saying: "Warning: Fragile" "Please refrigerate as soon as possible."

The reindeer stamp I used to decorate my label was modern, festive and intricate.

I printed a folded card on which I detailed the varieties included in the box and how best to enjoy the macarons. Inside the card, I wrote a personalized message to each of my clients.

A folded card with instructions about how best to enjoy the macarons on the outside and my personalized handwritten wishes on the inside.

Once the address and warning labels were printed and the cards signed, I started a small assembly line. To each bag its card, its address label and its macaron box.

To each bag its card and address label.

Then I filled the boxes with the macarons. I successfully made them all equal in size so they fit perfectly in the box. I kept them frozen until the very last minute: it kept them fresh and easier to handle.

The five macaron varieties I made are:

1. Chocolate
2. Pistachio
3. Lemon
4. Raspberry & Cranberry
5. Pecan & Maple

Don’t they look like little jewels?

A macaron box is like a jewelry box to me.

I closed the boxes, wrapped a piece of golden paper around, slid my wish cards underneath the sleeve and tied everything together with a ribbon.

My macaron gift boxes, ready to be shipped.

I cut up small rectangles of red tissue paper to place underneath the gift boxes in the bags. It held the boxes in place and added a splash of color.

One gift box per bag, with some red tissue paper for color.

I used another piece of ribbon to close the bags and tie the address labels. As a finishing touch, I stapled my business card in the back.

The bags, closed with a piece of ribbon, the address labels tied to it, and my business card stapled in the back.

Let me tell you that it was a smashing success! I sent the bags via a same-day courier to make sure the macarons would stay fresh so it didn’t take long before I got some feedback. I think I brought a smile to everybody’s face and most told me that the whole box was eaten in a matter of minutes. Mission accomplished!

Macarons, 5 ways: chocolate, pistachio, lemon, raspberry & cranberry, maple & pecan

If you want the recipes for three of the macarons featured here, go to my post: Macarons, 3 Ways: Chocolate, Pistachio, Pecan & Maple. They are my most popular flavors. If you need help in making macarons, or want more information before tackling the project for the first time, go to my post:  How to Make Macarons: A Detailed, Illustrated, Step-by-Step Recipe.


Yum

24 Responses to Giving Macarons to Say Thank You

  1. Hello,

    I absoloutly love your macaron articles! Very informative and helpful. I have aged my egg wires and today will begin baking my macaroni. It would like to ask, how long would the Unassembled shells last in an airtight container? I want to give them as Christmas presents and don’t have the freezer space to freeze them.

    Looking forward to how they turn out,

    Victoria xx

    • Hello Victoria, unassembled shells should only be stored in an airtight container for one to two days. Because they are meringue-based, the shells will naturally soften even when they’re not filled. To enjoy macarons at their best, try to make them as close to the day you plan on serving them. Good luck {homemade macarons are the best gift ever!!}, and happy holidays!

  2. hi,
    i am looking to do individual macarons for my wedding favours- i am struggling to find what dimension box i will need to have to fit 1 macaron in each individual clear plastic box.. any idea ???

  3. Hello, that’s a lovely idea! I was also looking for a way to package my macarons. May I ask did you freeze the macarons after they have been assembled? How many days can they be kept frozen? Thanks!

  4. Thank you Marie for your help.A will try, and I am sure with your explanation it will be much more easy than before.
    I will let you know about the results!!!
     

  5. Thank you for all the lovely gift ideas! I have always been addicted to making macaroons and your blog by far gives the best detailed tips and hints in making them. I <3 your blog!

  6. Marie!
    You inspire me!!! I have wanted to make macarons for so long and I am going to try, using this website as my guide. Is it possible to use refrigerated egg whites that come in a carton?
    Many thanks!

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment! I hope your first venture into the macaron world goes well :) I’m not fond of using refrigerated egg whites; while they’re very handy, they deliver varying results at best. If you want to try to improve your chances to succeed, I encourage you to use “real” egg whites (that you’ll separate and age yourself), especially if it’s your first try. Maybe you can practice with “Egg Beaters” later on – or if you do try and succeed, please come back and tell me about your experience!

    • Thank you for your comment and your shout-out on Facebook, Rachida! I love your site. With such a rich heritage, I'm sure your food is fantastic!

  7. Can I ask where you found the gift boxes for the macarons? And what are the dimensions of the box that you chose to use? I am looking to purchase something similar. Your gift box of macarons looks delectable!

    • I bought these gift boxes at Michael's, which is a pretty large craft store chain. They've got stores all over Canada and the US (see: http://www.michaels.com/). The boxes I used are the following (sold as candy boxes): http://bit.ly/hk8ZtJ. They're made by Wilton, I used the 1lb size – I'm sorry I don't have the exact dimensions as I used up all the boxes I bought for my gifts! You should be able to find them pretty easily (Wilton sells them online: http://bit.ly/hS6BUK). Good luck and thank you for writing :)

  8. These look divine. Absolutely. I wish I was one of your clients this year =)

    I wish we all could earn a living doing what we love also. Maybe you can do some posts on how you found your way to this life from your 9-5 job? That would be awesome. I love hearing/reading these stories. They inspire me.

  9. Ma chère, tu as un talent fou pour la mise en marché…et ils sont siiii bons!
    À quand la boutique? Je suis partante pour un changement de carrière!

    • Ah, produire des macarons toute la journée, jour après jour… des fois ça me séduit, des fois je me dis que ça me rendrait folle! Pour le moment, ça demeure un loisir, mais sait-on jamais :)

    • Merci François, je ne savais pas que je pouvais te compter parmi mes lecteurs! Tu auras plus de temps pour cuisiner l'an prochain, peut-être que tu t'inspireras sur mon blog? :)

    • Thank you so much! You definitely are one of my most fateful readers. I should have sent a box of macarons to you too! :) Thank you for being there and happy holidays!

    • Thank you! This is a gift that I myself would have loved to get. It made everybody happy, but most importantly, it showed them how grateful I am.

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