Tuesday, October 27, 2009

French 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.

Let me warn you all....this is not an "American macaroon". Like me, most of you have probably only eaten macaroons made of globs of coconut and gooey sweetened condensed milk. And they're good. But they aren't real French macaroons.


These macaroons are a cookie made of egg whites, almond flour and confectioners sugar with a filling sandwiched in between. We could choose any flavoring or coloring for the macaroons that we wanted and we were also encouraged to try different fillings. I decided to go with a cinnamon flavored macaroon and a chocolate ganache filling.

I followed the recipe exactly....well pretty much. I couldn't find almond flour in the lone grocery store in town so I had to grind my own. I had no idea how many almonds I would need in order to produce 2 cups of almond flour. Turn out one bag is only enough for 1 1/2 cups. So I had to add in 1/2 cup of all purpose flour. That was probably the kiss of death, I know.

My macaroons did not develop the "feet" that they were supposed too. Maybe the flour was the problem. Maybe its the rainy weather and the 100% humidity around here. Whatever the cause they are still really delicious. Since I've never had a real macaroon before I'm not sure if they are exactly the right texture, though. They are somewhat chewy, but I like that.

I think they are marvelous and I will definitely try them again some time. I'm dying to go to a bakery now and try a "real" macaroon to see how mine compare. For now, here is the recipe so that you can try it yourself.

Cinnamon Macaroons with Chocolate Ganache Filling


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, preferably aged)

(For this recipe you need to age your egg whites for 3 days or so. That means leaving them out on the counter at room temperature, like this.....Just remember that we Americans tend to have an obsession with refrigeration that the rest of the world does not share. Eggs are safe even if they are not kept cold. Room temperature egg whites whip up SO much better than cold ones....and "aged" egg whites that have some of their moisture evaporated out are even better.)

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 over fold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip. 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).

(Just for fun I made two HUGE macaroons, just for me!)

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.

Filling:

4 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature


Heat cream to boiling over medium heat. Add chocolate to cream. Whisk as it melts. Whisk in butter. You will have a beautiful, shiny, creamy chocolate ganache. Pipe into macaroons.
(Please refrain from licking your computer screen!)
This recipe has been linked to Tuesdays at the Table and Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays.

5 comments:

annmartina said...

I made cinnamon too. I agree. They are so yummy!

heartnsoulcooking said...

WOW!!! I love macaroons and with chocolate that's even better.
Geri

Mrs. P. said...

Oh, the flavor of almond and chocolate together. These look heavenly :)

Blessings!
Gail

darnold23 said...

The humidity will definitely affect them. Yours look delicious even still. I would love for you to join me for Crock Pot Wednesdays at Dining With Debbie. Come post a favorite slow cooker recipe and grab a new idea as well. Thanks again,

Cole said...

How did you know I wanted to lick my computer?!

Those look fabulous! I really need to try those. Thanks for the reminder that the rest of the world isn't as refridgerator obsessed as we are. :-)