The Daring Bakers’ October Challenge: 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.

When I found out what the challenge for this month was, I was happy, finally I will be able to try making French or almond macaroons macarons, I really wanted to do this even before the challenge but I kept on putting it off and now, I’m “forced” to do it especially since I missed last month’s challenge for vols-au-vent. But still the timing is off for me, I have so many things I needed to do that I haven’t done yet, wish I have more time in my hands to do it all.

Going back to the challenge, I failed..terribly… arrrgh! I only have myself to blame I shouldn’t have done this the same day as the reveal date so I will still have time to try again and correct  my mistakes :).   I just printed the recipe and went on with it.

The recipe seems easy because there are only few ingredients but I know better, this is not going to be easy for me. I find meringue quite tricky to make and I don’t have lots of experience making it. In the beginning, I thought I was doing fine until the second baking..instead of having “feet“, my cookies oozed out unevenly, I tried to rotate the pan midway through baking thinking it would even out but that did not happen..

I can’t figure out why my cookies turned out that way, I was sure I followed the recipe to the letter then I found out that I baked it at 350 degrees instead of 375, it was too late to remedy it (there’s no more batter left to bake and no more almonds to make more batter). But that’s not all, I added way too much liquid  flavoring than what is allowed (it should only be 3 drops, no more than that and I added a teaspoon of half vanilla, half purple yam) in the recipe (that’s what I get for not reading the host’s notes thoroughly).

I’m not sure if that’s the only cause of my sad-looking cookies but whatever it is, it all doesn’t matter now anyway, but for sure I will try making these macarons again (when I’m not that busy any more), definitely!

For the filling, I planned on using 2 kinds which I already have in the fridge: chocolate ganache or dulce de leche but I decided to make kaya ( Malaysian coconut and egg jam) using the leftover yolks from the recipe and use it instead; it’s really yummy!

I’m so embarrased to post this but I don’t want to be out of the Daring Bakers, so here’s my failed French Macaroons Macarons:

french_almond_macaroons_with_kaya_filling
These are my vanilla and purple yam (it turned green and dark) macarons

almond french_almond_macaroons_ground_almonds

I can’t find almond meal or flour so I used these and ground it fine with some confectioner’s sugar

french_almond_macaroons_3

after the par baking or the drying

french_almond_macaroons_2
I ate too many of these cookies, they may not be pretty but they’re so yummy!

RECIPE FOR FRENCH OR ALMOND MACAROONS
recipe from Claudia Fleming

Preparation time: Not taking into account the amount of time it takes for you to bring your egg whites to room temperature, the whole baking process, including making the batter, piping and baking will probably take you about an hour to an hour and a half. How long it takes to make your filling is dependent on what you choose to make.

Actual baking time: 12 minutes total, plus a few minutes to get your oven from 200°F to 375°F.

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 (ouch!)

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

FOR THE FILLING, I made my version of kaya ( coconut milk-egg jam)

I cooked 2 cups of pure coconut milk with the yolks from the macaroons (5 egg yolks), 1 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pandan essence until it’s thick. To test for doneness, it should fall off relutantly from the spoon or if it coats the back of a spoon, you know it’s ready. It’s up to you how you want your kaya consistency; cook it a bit longer if you want it really  thick. Cool completely before using.

If you have time please visit the other Daring Bakers and their beautiful macaroons macarons at the Daring Kitchen.

Thanks for reading and Have a nice day! Smile :)

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