Learning to bake is like learning to walk: you have to keep at it even when you inevitably end up face down in a pile of flour. Dust yourself off and get to it with today's Groupon: for $22, you get a macaron-baking workshop at DessertTruck Works (a $45 value).
A thriving purveyor of scrumptious confections and winner of the Time Out New York Readers' Choice Award for Best Mobile Food in 2008, DessertTruck Works reveals the sweet secrets of the mysterious macaron during hands-on workshops taught by its own professional pastry chefs. Aspiring puff buffs learn the almondy treats inside and out, mixing and baking the dough and then filling and assembling finished flavor blocks under the guidance of an expert. Novices need not fear, as the 90-minute class walks students through each step with clear, detailed instruction. Much like third-graders who eat their book reports, workshoppers show their pleasure with the fruits of their labor by devouring them. Complimentary coffee, tea, or water accompanies the sugary postclass feast.
Cathcart & Reddy
Jerome Chang, the mastermind behind the much-lauded DessertTruck, gave his desserts a grounded home at Cathcart & Reddy, a café on the Lower East Side that sells many of the truck’s wares while expanding its purview. Run by Chang and two pastry chefs, all credited in their New York magazine listing as Le Cirque school alumni, the truck was nominated for two Vendy Awards and received heavy attention in a New York Times feature on dessert trucks for gourmet sweets that include chocolate bread pudding, vanilla crème brûlée, and french macaroons. The café also sells pressed sandwiches with mellifluous fillings such as goat cheese with caramelized almonds, thyme, and apricot jam, or domestic serrano ham with manchego, roasted garlic, and pine nuts.
When not slinging sweets behind the counter, staffers can be found in the kitchen, baking new batches of desserts or hosting workshops for aspiring chefs. Scheduled every few days throughout each month, the classes teach patrons kitchen secrets such as how to craft perfect soufflés and macaroons or gauge a cook’s feelings by the color of his chef’s hat.