Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Daring Bakers October: French 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.
 Sandwiched with chocolate ganache
Yum! Almost-pink macarons with almost-cinnamon plum-flavoured chocolate ganache

When this recipe was revealed a month ago, I had no idea what a macaron really was, other than a fancy cookie that seemed to be pervading the blogs I usually browse. I can't think of anything else I've cooked or baked in the past where I had no idea what the outcome was supposed to taste or feel like.

That being said, it was a pretty successful cookie-making after all! The almond-meringue base was chewy, sweet and nutty, and the chocolate ganache was smooth and not overly sweet.

letting the macs dry before cooking
Next time, I will draw circles to pipe the batter into. It didn't occur to me until later that if I was going to sandwich the cookies together with a filling, they'd better be the same size...and shape. The cookies are in the drying stage here, prior to baking. This helps form a shell on the outside, and contribute to the elusive "feet" ... I think.

Macarons, as I learned, are notoriously difficult to perfect because there are so many variables. I guess that is true in most baking, but I think it's exacerbated in macarons because of all the finicky steps.
my ziploc piping bag
My mess of a make-shift piping bag. Hoping to have a proper bag by next time, I like this piping thing!

The challenge definitely pushed me beyond my comfort zone. In the process of making my first macarons, I made my first: meringue (by hand, took almost 20 minutes), almond flour, and ganache. As well, I piped for the first time since I got to sneak behind the scenes at Dairy Queen back in high school.
Cooling, and stick to the parchment
Little feet! They're a bit flatter than they're supposed to be, but they've got little teeny feet, so that's a start. They stuck to the parchment so I stuck them in the freezer for a while to cool off.

I had intended to try making the cookies again before the reveal date, partly because there was another method I wanted to try out, and partly because my flash was dead. I haven't yet, but I think I want this cookie in my arsenal!
Stacked Halves
You can see the feet a bit better this time. I think the thinness was at least partly due to my meringue. I got tired after 15 minutes of mixing by hand, and at that point I realized that I might already have the required stiff peaks. In retrospect I don't think I did.


  1. Yeai, you got feet!
    I can't believe you mixed the merengue by hand: you must have huge mussels now :)

  2. Use a round cutter dipped in powdered sugar and mark it on the cookie sheet so that you have uniform sizes.

  3. ooh! good idea. I think I am going to make them smaller next time, so maybe I'll use a shot glass rimmed with sugar