Tuesday, 27 October 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.

October 2009 Daring Bakers

I now officially have a baking nemesis.

Is it a bit melodramatic to turn an entire (delicious) subset of biscuits into your nemesis? I feel after four failed batches that I'm entitled. I love to eat macarons but, boy howdy, do they not want to be baked by me.

October 2009 Daring Bakers

I was excited when I saw this month's challenge as I'd made two batches of macarons previously with about half a batch of successful biscuits and I was looking forward to beautiful macarons with well-defined feet. I carefully measured and weighed and ground and folded and heated and baked . . . all to no avail.

October 2009 Daring Bakers

So I tried again and had the same results. It's not that they are bad as such. They just aren't macarons.

Reading through the DB forums, I feel like other people had issues with this recipe and I think it was a combination of that, my impatience (even though I tried really really hard!) and our FrankenOven. One day, my precious. One day perfect macarons will be mine. (It doesn't help that the amazing Zumbo macarons are just one post down. Way to sabotage yourself, me!)

My Spiced Chocolate Ganache was DAMN tasty though! Hooray!

October 2009 Daring Bakers

Equipment required:
• Electric mixer, preferably a stand mixer with a whisk attachment
• Rubber spatula
• Baking sheets
• Parchment paper or nonstick liners
• Pastry bag (can be disposable)
• Plain half-inch pastry bag tip
• Sifter or sieve
• If you don’t have a pastry bag and/or tips, you can use a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off
• Oven
• Cooling rack
• Thin-bladed spatula for removing the macaroons from the baking sheets
• Food processor or nut grinder, if grinding your own nuts (ouch!)

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.

Yield: 10 dozen.


essie said...

i know they didn't turn out exactly the way you wanted them to, but they were suuuuper delicious, and the ganache was perfect in every way.

steph said...

I'm really intimidated by macarons, I think you are super for trying them (and they do look pretty delicious. How essential is that egg?)

Audax said...

I think you very well for the 1st attempt and a little more practice will make perfect. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

Anonymous said...

Nemesis is right! I was so ticked after my first batch didn't work, it was like ego to the max. Have you tried another recipe, like Tartelette's? I think hers is more forgiving.

s-j said...

@essie - thank you! they were delicious but there was also the taste of defeat. *tear*

@steph - the egg is pretty essential as they are a meringue but here's some people who made vegan ones:
1, 2 and 3.

@audax - Thank you! I am determined to make more but I need some time to heal before I try again

@sarah - I've tried the David Leibovitz one and that was more successful. I think I'll try Tartelette's next.

Simon said...

Spiced ganache? Bet that would have tasted interesting :)

What spice did you use?

Lauren said...

That ganache sounds dreamy! I gotta get my hands on some =D.

s-j said...

@simon & lauren -
my spiced ganache is
1/2 cup cream
120g chocolate
a spoonful of butter

melt and then eat!