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.
I have to say, I was honestly considering skipping this month's recipe. I, as always, waited until
the last Sunday before the posting date to make these. And, I only filled them ten minutes ago.
No, I'm serious. :D
These actually are not that time consuming, especially compared to last month's vols-au-vent.
The batter is fairly easy to make, and the only challenging part is piping the circles. But, that
isn't too hard either when you use a template.
The batter, which consists of beaten egg whites, confectioners' sugar, almond flour (you can see from the picture at the bottom that mine wasn't quite sifted enough), and regular granulated sugar. We were given the freedom to choose our own flavorings and fillings (although we had to make at least one filling, preferably from scratch). I chose chocolate, a classic. I added two teaspoons of cocoa powder to the batter and it worked great, because the ganache I used to fill them has a very strong chocolate taste.

The piped batter. It was actually fairly hard to get the circles, even using the template. You can sort of tell from the picture. :)

The baked macaroons. I'm so proud of my little feet! I got three trays of piped macaroons, but the last tray didn't work because I used a hot baking sheet (stupid, I know). So I got a total of nineteen sandwiches (more if we hadn't tasted them straight out of the oven). I really recommend you try this recipe; we loved it!

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.

I used Dorie Greenspan's chocolate ganache recipe from The Book to fill them. Enjoy!

P.S. My apologies for how the words appear before the second picture; I have tried everything but I can't get them to change.

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