Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How about some 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.

Oh wow! Macarons! For the life of me, I did not expect this. To be frank I'm really not that much into macarons (I think they are a bit too sweet) which is probably why you only see them making a rare appearance in this blog. I remembered the very first time I made macarons. Of course prior to actually venturing into it, I did a whole lot of research and finally picked a recipe posted by none other than the Queen of Macarons - Helen of Tartelette. I used the Italian method which is suppose to give a more stable macaron. Not sure what I did wrong but every single one cracked, even though the tops were shiny! It took a long while before I dared to try again! The next time round I used David Lebowitz's recipe and I didn't even age the egg whites, which is suppose to be a "no-no". Lo and behold, my macarons developed feet and they didn't crack. I was so excited. I remember running out from the kitchen, exclaiming, feet - feet! Any one other than my hubby would have certainly thought that a mad woman had ascended upon them. I guess only bakers can appreciate the excitment of seeing "feet". Would you believe me if I told you I still get this excitment plus the fact that I will stare ardently into my oven for the first 10 minutes just to see the macarons rise up.



For this particular challenge, I made two different batches over separate weekends. The first was a Hazelnut Espresso Chocolate Macaron sandwiched with a bittersweet chocolate ganache which had been flavoured with orange liquor. I sprinkled the top of each macaron with cocoa nibs. Huh - talk about chocolate overdose and it does sounds delish right?? Well they were! The espresso and bitterness of the chocolate counter-balanced the sugar just nicely! Pair these with a cup of espresso coffee and you'll be in 7th heaven!

The next batch was Almond Lemon-Mint Macaron sandwiched with chai flavoured chocolate ganache. I coloured the macarons in baby blue and even did some swirls on some of them, just for the sake of experimenting. These were delicious as well and the lemon-mint paired quite well with the chai flavour. I wasn't sure at first!

In all, this month's challenge has been another fun adventure. To check out other beautiful creations, go visit my fellow bakers at 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





French Macarons

Ingredients

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)



Directions:

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: About two dozen filled macarons



47 comments:

5 Star Foodie said...

Love the different gorgeous colors!

homeladychef said...

Well Done Jo! you have inspired me to make my own macarons. Thanks for sharing! ;)

Mary said...

Truly lovely macarons!

Trissa said...

Amazing pictures and great job - I especially loved the way you decorated the macarons with the swirls!

Ellie said...

Love all the flavours and combos!! Your pictures are so beautiful. Macarons are perfect!! Did I see 2 glasses of tiramisu at the background? :P

Palidor said...

Wow, Jo, those are so lovely! My mom brought back a pamphlet from a macaron shop in Paris. You know what? Yours look WAY nicer and tastier than what that shop in Paris was selling.

Ramya Kiran said...

Wow, super cool jo. Congrats on completing the challenge. Macarons look perfect! I wish i could do this challenge. Unfortunately my kitchen is under renovation. Great work!

Romy said...

Love the swirls on top - very modern and abstract. I've never seen a macaron like that before, they are beautiful! Thanks for the kind comment on my blog!

Wic said...

this Macaroons look delicious, the Pictures are divine. I love the colors.
love what you did with the challenge

shez said...

I did so much research before my very first batch of macaron, and oh! The excitement at FEET! Your poor husband must have been just as confused as my family were...

I find macaron really sweet as well - very clever to pair them with lovely bitter and rich flavours to balance it out. And oh! The vivid blue-ness of your second batch! Just lovely :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Great job! Your macarons are beautiful, perfect and so tempting!

Cheers,

Rosa

Olga said...

for someone who's not really into macaroons, yours turned out beautiful! A bit jealous :)

Kitchenlander said...

The baby blue ones are soooo cute!!
I tried them myself, but the miserably browned :(
Great job on the challenge!

Kitchenlander said...

The baby blue ones are soooo cute!!
I tried them myself, but the miserably browned :(
Great job on the challenge!

zorra said...

Wow, these look just perfect, and I love how you flavoured them.

Sugar Chef said...

So happy you persisted in making macarons, feet can be so exciting, I understand. These came out perfect and your flavor combinations sound wonderful, especially the espresso ones.

Rose said...

OH MY GOSH! Your macarons are PERFECT! I love the swirls! Photography is amazing as well :D

natalia said...

Wow ! These are wonderful !!! I'll try to improve my skills!!

Lauren said...

Gorgeous macs. I love the colours & flavours you made, and your photos are stunning!

Linda said...

So beautiful! I love the colors. I just stuck with the natural color, as this was my first time, but can't wait to try some pinks, blues and yellows!

Erica from Cooking for Seven said...

Ah, congrats for creating such lovely macarons! The hazelnut espresso macarons look especially appetizing. I may need try these again to see if I can get those lovely little "feet".

The Sisters said...

The chocolate ones look fantastic and love the swirl on the other ones!

pinkstripes said...

Gorgeous macarons! They look perfect.

peasepudding said...

such beautiful macarons and what stunning photography, awesome!

Jill said...

What an AWESOME job you did! The blue ones are so pretty and they all look delicious! :)

bake in paris said...

Beautiful macarons! Love love love the blue mint macarons. They are all pretty and perfect in shape.

Regards
Kris

Zita said...

lemon mint... that sound super delish :)

The Little Teochew said...

WOW. What a feast for the eyes. Those blue ones are breathtakingly beautiful. Full marks!

nikki said...

A fabulous and colorful display of macarons!

Rylan said...

Is today macarons day? I love these! you're are stunning!

Andreas said...

Well done.
I like the sepia coloured picture.

Celeste said...

Your macs are gorgeous!!!

Maya said...

These are perfect!!!!! Yet to make mine , you have inspired me :)

Ingrid said...

Jo you did a fantastic job on the macarons and your photos of them!
~ingrid

Hannah said...

Your macs are just flawless, truly inspiring!

TeenieCakes said...

Your macarons are little works of art! The almond lemon-mint sounds especially tastey!

I know what you mean about the elation of "feet" -- I watched the oven too after some initial failed attempts =)

Tartelette said...

Loe the blue color! So calming and refreshing at the same time!

Lisa said...

WOW WOW WOW..your macarons are gorgeous perfection! I also used cocoa nibs, but they didn't look as beautiful as yours..and don't even get me started on the minty lemony ones. Stunning!

Nico said...

Love your pictures. Very nice post.

Namratha said...

Wow, these are gorgeous macs! Loved the swirl of color on top...nicely done!

Jo said...

Hi all, thanks for dropping by and loved reading your comments.

Homeladychef, hope you do try macarons one day.

Hi Ellie, spot on - those are little shots of tiramisu in the background. Couldn't resist making some that day. :P

Hi Palidor, I'm sure the original Parisian ones are much better.

Hi Ramya, hope your kitchen's done now. Would love to renovate mine if I have the $.

faithy, the amateur baker said...

Hi Jo! Love the swirls on your macarons and the colors!! Gorgeous!

pigpigscorner said...

aww they are so pretty! I love the blue ones!

Mrs Erg├╝l said...

Wow! Yours are very professionally done! Do you think I can take a lesson with you as I have failed for the 4th time!

Eat4Fun said...

Wow! Terrific looking macarons! Looks like a pro made them. Also, thank you for commenting on my efforts, sorry I was slow in responding in kind.

Benette said...

Do you sell your bakes?
Am very interested in purchasing your macarons.
If you're up for it =)

Email me thanks

Benette said...

Do you sell your bakes?
Am very interested in purchasing your macarons.
If you're up for it =)

Email me thanks

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