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Bakewell Bakery offers hands-on macaron classes

  Nancy Hill, left, and Maryann Wild, both of Lansing,
  work together to fill macarons during a hands-on
  macaron class held at Bakewell Bakery in Flossmoor.

  (Photos by Carrie Steinweg/H-F Chronicle)

If you find yourself intimidated by baking, it may seem extremely daunting to think of tackling something complex, like a macaron — those delicate and colorful sweet meringue-based, ganache-filled sandwich confections that have been a longtime favorite in France and Italy.

  Pat Ledsham, pastry
  chef and co-owner of
  Bakewell Bakery in
  Flossmoor, mixes
  chocolate ganache to
  fill macarons in a
  hands-on class being
  offered on Saturday
  afternoons at the bakery.


Flossmoor’s Bakewell Bakery is currently offering a hands-on macaron class where you can learn from an expert and get a boost of confidence in the kitchen.

The small class sizes are designed to provide some one-on-one instruction as you create your own delicate desserts from scratch and learn how easily you can adapt the flavors and colors to suit your tastes.

The classes have been hugely popular and are selling out fast. A few open slots remain for classes in March and April. The $65 class includes beverages and samples of some pre-made macarons. The macarons made in class need to freeze for several days before they can be eaten and each participant brings home a large box full of multiple flavors of the homemade treats.


Nancy Hill of Lansing attended the class with her sister and a friend. Hill said she came across the class posted on Facebook and decided it would be a fun thing for the three of them to do together.

“I had never been here, so we came in to sign up and had to have some tea and a treat,” she said as the group of seven bakers took a break while the macaron shells baked.

Tina Shamel of Highland, Ind. and her daughter, Victoria, took the class together.

  Victoria Shamel of
  Highland, Indiana fills
  macarons during a
  hands-on class held
  at Bakewell Bakery.


“I find it challenging and it’s better to have a hands-on lesson,” said Tina. “It makes a difference to see it being done. I’ve never made them before and it kind of scared me. They are very detailed and you have to be very precise.”

Attendees in the class learn the Italian method of macaron making and together mix batter, pipe the shells, prepare the ganache and assemble the cookies. There are also lots of inside tips on making perfect macarons, like using a baking template to size the shells accurately, where to find the best ingredients and how to make various flavors of ganache using jams or Kool-Aid powder.

Pastry Chef Pat Ledsham owns the bakery with her husband, Alan Ledsham, a native of Cheshire, England. Much of what is made in the bakery comes from longtime Ledsham family recipes.

“Our most popular item is our sausage rolls. We team up with Slagel Farm. We provide our family recipe spices and they use their sausage meat to produce our bulk meat and our bangers sausage, which is also available in our shop so customers can take it home and cook it themselves,” Ledsham said.

“One of our other best sellers is our English shortbread. It’s another family recipe and we sell about 200 to 250 bags a week. We sell tons of scones from another family recipe three generations old.”

The best-selling scone flavor is the cranberry orange, a “traditional” scone.  A bacon-and-herb-cheese scone, that is sometimes offered as the “scone of the day,” has also become a popular item.

Baking British specialties with high quality ingredients is something that sets Bakewell apart. Ledsham said that in their scones she uses farm-fresh, cage-free eggs from Locavore Farm in Grant Park.

“It really makes a difference in taste and texture,” she said.

It’s not just locals who are discovering the delectable handmade pastries prepared at Bakewell. A crew from WGN-TV’s “Chicago’s Best” was also recently at the store filming for an upcoming episode slated to air on March 12.

When it comes to making macarons, Ledsham said, “you’re only limited by your imagination.” Using a basic butter cream, you can add flavors to create such masterpieces as s’mores, mojito or Snickers macarons. She recommends taking the class with a friend or family member so you have a partner to make macarons with at home after the experience.

The macaron classes take place on Saturdays from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Each participant also receives a list of all ingredients and her contact information, if help is needed in preparing macarons at home after the class.

Interested persons can register by calling 708-991-7462. A list of available dates is at

  Shells for raspberry macarons cool off after being
  removed from the oven at Bakewell Bakery during
  a hands-on macaron class.


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