Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Macarons 2 Ways

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. Macarons were definitely a challenge. After reading and re-reading other people's trials, tribulations, tips and successes I made two batches with pretty good results.

The first batch were plain Almond Macarons with White Chocolate-Blueberry Ganache. I found them overwhelmingly sweet and could only eat one every few hours, which may make this the perfect dessert for me. Nevermind that I spaced the timing out by eating one with breakfast and one after dinner.

I was a little more adventurous with the second batch and attempted to create Coconut-Almond Macarons by processing then drying coconut. The coconut still felt kind of oily, so I didn't add much to the macronage and as as result the flavor was barely there. To make up for it I added the leftover coconut and some coconut extract to the Lime Curd I used for the filling. These macarons were less sweet (yay!), but I need to keep trying fillings as Coconut-Lime Curd was too oozy to hold the shape.

To summarize all the tips for your attempts, the keys to success are supposed to be: aging your egg whites a few days to remove some of the liquid, having them at room temperature, beating the whites to soft peaks adding sugar and beating the mixture to very stiff peaks again before adding the confectionery sugar/almond flour, deflating the mixture satisfactorily and then layering your baking pans and cooking on their bottom side. Be careful with that last step, baking pans are no longer easy to remove from the oven when used upside down.

Once I finish eating the new dozen, which I'm happy to share if you live nearby, I'm all ready to go on a macaron tour of NY to try some professional ones for comparison's sake. Who's in?

Claudia Fleming’s Macarons
(reduced to use 2 egg whites thanks to Audax Artifex…this makes approximately 12 macarons)

.75 cup and 2.5 tspns Confectionery Sugar
.75 cup and 2.5 tspns Almond Flour (I used Trader Joe’s almond meal and sifted a few times)
2.5 tspns Granulated Sugar (superfine/castor is ideal)
2 Egg Whites (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.

Piped and Ready (Batch 1)

Finished without too much sticking to the parchment paper!

The guts! They have feet, which is another sign of some success.
A trio of super-sweet treats!Batch 2


  1. Wonderful you got such excellent results, beautiful work. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

  2. Again, I will reiterate. I will be your fearless macaroon research assistant!

  3. Yummmmm! Yes I'm more than willing to provide the services of my mouth for housing any discarded macarons :) I need to try some of this fancy stuff you're doing!! Impressive.

  4. Thank you, Audax!

    Leslie... Let's schedule it. YUM. Maybe we should find some after Sunday's pasta and wine class. Do you think the cafe would still be open?

    Lara - With my schedule they are pick up only... I'll keep them in mind for the next gathering we are both at! I need more practice. Thank you for the compliment.

  5. So cute! Your macs look amazing!