Tuesday, October 27, 2009

DB: Macaroons


The 2009 October Daring Bakers' challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macaroons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.
Thank you Ami for hosting this month's challenge. We really had a good time learning to make these delicious cookies. They were easy to make, and come with endless flavor possibilities for both the cookie and the filling. I will definitely be making these again!

Our first batch had a chocolate ganache filling and the second had a whipped white chocolate espresso ganache for the filling. Both were fantastic. I didn’t try to vary the flavor and color of the cookies because I  wanted to be sure that I could make them successfully before experimenting.

On the first attempt the batter seemed too thick; the resulting cookies had feet but didn't have a smooth and shiny surface. Even though they didn't look like Ami's picture, the cookies still tasted great. On the second and third batch I used the recipe on Syrup & Tang, which was simpler, since all the ingredients are based on the weight of the egg whites. Whenever I have extra egg whites I toss them into a cup and put them in the refrigerator until I have a need for them, and almost always forget how many egg whites are in the cup. The Syrup & Tang recipe solved that problem because it is based on a ratio of egg whites to the other ingredients so all you have to do is weigh egg whites and add the proper amount of sugar, almond meal and confectioner's sugar. This method resulted in cookies that had a smooth shiny crust and a chewy center, which is exactly how a macaroon should look and taste.

Macaroons with white chocolate espresso ganache filling.


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  (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 to add 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.
Macaroons with semi-sweet chocolate ganache filling.

If you want to try the Syrup and Tang method just follow this link.