Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Macarons

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

If you've been to a fancy schmancy bakery, especially one in Europe, you've seen macarons of every size, color, and flavor. They have an easily adaptable recipe that, despite it simplicity, requires exacting technique to get it just right. I've made macarons once before, and they turned out relatively successful. This time I hoped to perfect my technique and get creative . . . or not. I had some leftover salted caramel that I wanted to use in the filling, so I decided to make chocolate macarons. In adding the cocoa powder to make them "chocolatey" I must have messed up the chemistry of the cookie, so my end result, while tasty, was not really what you would call a true macaron.

Macarons (when done right) have a signature "foot" at the base of the cookie, topped with a light, slightly crunchy dome of sweet, airy cookie. Mine puffed up a bit, but failed to get the "foot" and were overall too cakey. I filled mine with a ganache made with cream and some gianduja chocolate from caillebaut that I scored on a trip to chelsea market- basically homemade nutella. Despite my best efforts, the salted caramel was too oozy to be a good filling for these cookies.

Since, as I've mentioned, these are finicky cookies, check out the following links below for some assistance.

Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)


1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.


Heather B said...

I'm sorry they didn't turn out like you wanted. I think they look delicious. Love the homemade nutella!

pinkstripes said...

I think they still look great! I want to try chocolate.