Three Cheese Macaroni

Comfort Food: Lasagna

BBQ Grilled Cheese

Pork Sandwiches

French Macarons: A Love/Hate Relationship

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I am a member of a blog-site called The Daring Kitchen. It's a lot of fun for people who love to cook or bake, because it challenges you to make things you wouldn't normally whip up. This month, the challenge was to make French Macarons. See the recipe here. They are not as easy as they may look. In fact - it took me a couple tries and they still could have used some work.

Below is my posting for this month's challenge. If you decide to try making them yourself - let me know how it goes!

The first time I made the macarons was shortly after the challenge came out. I had never heard of such a thing - and everyone kept telling me "no, you have to use coconut".
I gave up, for about two weeks. Mostly because I didn't have the time, but secondly because I was so annoyed with the whole thing. I did exactly what the recipe said - with a terrible outcome. The cookies were sticky and tasted like burnt popcorn. How can people think these are any good?
Today, I decided to try again. I read up on some tips and tricks [thanks to all of you!] and decided to give it another shot. I also bought a non-stick baking sheet, so luck was on my side.

The Process
I wanted to have my own flare with the recipe, so I added pumpkin pie spice to my 'white' macarons. To bake them, I used three cookie sheets upside down and put my oven at 250*.
After six minutes, I took them out, cranked the oven to 375*, and put them back in again for another 7 minutes. I opened the oven door and screamed at my husband 'come look! it's working!'. He came running down the down the stairs as if something bad was happening - but no, my macarons had feet!

The Outcome
I made pumpkin pie filling with cream cheese, canned pumpkin and a mix of sugar and spices. I absolutely love Halloween, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity! The macaron tasted good, but something was missing in it's looks. I decided to take it one step further and make chocolate macarons. If it worked once, it'll work again, I thought!

One More Time
My chocolate macarons didn't get the feet that the white ones did. I used sifted cocoa. I'm assuming something with the moisture occurred - that's beyond my patience to understand at this point. I also got another idea as I was making the chocolate cookies - so I sent my husband to Walmart to get some food coloring. He came back with neon colors. I was hoping for regular food coloring, but once I used it - I was glad they were neon! I decided to make a filling with cream cheese, lime juice and neon green food coloring. It tasted like key-lime pie!

In Closing
I enjoyed making macarons. It proved that something can turn out disastrous the first time, but be great the second time. I enjoy reading other people's posts about what worked and/or didn't work for them. The main recipe almost never works just right on the first try! Looking forward to the next challenge!

The Recipe

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. Ami's note: My yield was much smaller than this. I produced about two dozen filled macaroons.


Lana said...

I see that you use a silicone silpat. What do you think of it? Is it much better than just spraying the pan? My mom has one, but I haven't purchased one yet.

October 29, 2009 at 3:58 PM
Alise said...

Yes! It's awesome - then you don't have the nasty burnt spray on your pan. I would recommend buying one.

October 29, 2009 at 4:44 PM

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