Monday, October 26, 2009

Macaroons Making with The Daring Bakers



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.

This is a very special post. It is my first Daring Baker's post. It was only few months back when I used to envy all the Daring Bakers showing off their completed challenges and sites like Tastespotting were flooded with array of beautiful pictures made out of same recipe. What unity and what motivation, only a passionate baker can understand. When I applied for Daring Baker at the Daring Kitchen last month, I did'nt have slightest idea about the help and encouragement I would get, the enormous volumes of learning and chance of taking my baking passion to new heights. Kudos to all those contributing to the entire food blogging fraternity. You guys rock. I would specially like to recognize a few fellows (or should I say seniors) which come right on top of my mind when I think of my food blogging journey. First inspiration Deeba at Passionate about baking - your blog is my all time favorite. Bakerella - what creations and presentations, woman I love your ideas. Vera from Baking Obsession, what a beautiful blog, extremely neat cake decoration and outstanding photography. Helen from Tartlette can be found in everyone's blogroll with great tips and excellent food shots. Finally Audax deserves a huge thanks for her great help and encouragement for this particular challenge. Lastly but certainly not the least, thanks to this month's host Ami for picking a true challenge. 





Coming back to this month's challenge, Macaroons as many of you might know are French sandwich cookies made from almond flour, egg whites and icing sugar. For me macaroons were simply coconut heap cookies until I started blogging and saw some beautiful creations and variations at Tartlette and recently at Passionate about Baking. If you want to know completely what are macaroons, there is great deal of information at Serious Eats. Very briefly they are cookies with feet (please get used to this term as they refer to frothy crisp chewy base typical of macaroons) and light crisp top and soft inside. They are sandwich with some smooth filling typically ganache or buttercream. In Riyadh,KSA where I live and back home Karachi, Pakistan I have'nt come across any bakery which sells macaroons.




When I read the challenge I was confident I will make it. Afterall if I can get chaux pastry right, whats the big deal. But I was wrong. It is certainly The most challenging thing to perfect. I tried three failed batches of reveal recipe. First one was not actually bad, and there were some feet so I did'nt bother taking any pictures. The next day I tried with oozing confidence with some tips and tricks to get it right. It was disastrous. Third one was worst of all and the batter was all runny. Frustrated, disappointed and out of ingredients I decided to give up, atleast for now. I will wait for the next challenge, I told myself. But at the back of mind something was urging me to give it another try, only last with safe recipe of Helen and Voila! It worked, almost like a magic. They are no pain well-behaved rewarding cookies. 


I have to try reveal recipe again as now I have some sort of successful experience under belt. I feel it is a great but temperamental recipe. If you are a beginner though, you should try Helen's recipe first to get a feel of what it is all about - a new baking technique learnt in either case.


Few things important to keep in mind while making macaroons:


1. Ageing egg whites - technique referred to evaporation of moisture from egg whites
2. Use large eggs around 59 grams or 2.1 ounces
3. Utensils and equipment should be grease and moisture free
4. Almond powder whether made at home or store-bought should be dry. Place it in a tray overnight in oven with light on.
5. Use stacked baking sheets to achieve uniform heat distribution in oven which helps in 'feet' formation





So here goes recipe that worked for me (Helen's ratio)


Ingredients:
Icing Sugar 1/2 cup
Almond Flour 6 tbsp + 2 2/3 tsp
Egg white 1 
Granulated sugar 4 1/4 tsp


Method:
1. Age egg whites: 24 hours prior to making, separate eggs, place egg white in deep large bowl and cover with paper towel to leave on counter top overnight.
2. Beat egg white stiff starting from low to medium speed. Stiff that when you upside down the bowl, nothing falls.
3. Add granulated sugar and beat again till stiff and glossy.
4. Mix almond flour and icing sugar and sift twice. This step will make sure that you have smooth tops.
5. Fold in flour quickly in three batches. At first it will be very coarse but as you fold, consistency will start looking like cold honey.
6. Test the right consistency, by dropping a tsp of mixture, if the trails disappear in around 30 seconds you are good to go. If no then give few more strokes. Don't overmix.
7. Pipe small 1.5 inches circles using piping bag fitted with plain tip or ziplock bag with tip snipped off on parchment paper.
8. Leave piped mounds for 1 hour. The top will be crusted.
9. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 280 F. (I used my oven intuitively)
10. Cool for 10 minutes before peeling off carefully from parchment.
11. Once cooled, frost with chocolate buttercream frosting. Fill each cookie with frosting leaving quarter inch border. Sandwich with other cookie.


ButterCream Frosting


Ingredients:
Butter 1/4 cup
Shortening 1/4 cup
Icing Sugar 2 cups
Vanilla essence 1 tsp
Cocoa Powder 3 tbsp
Milk 5-6 tbsp


Method:
1. Cream butter and shortening.
2. Add icing sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla essence and beat well.
3. Start adding milk until mixture is creamy light and fluffy.


36 comments:

  1. Congratulations on your 1st challenge!!!! I'm so glad that you tried tried tried and tried again to get perfect macarons. These are such a treat to bake and give away as presents. Yours look so nice and professional well done. Remember these are the hardest dessert to make at home you should be proud of your results. Thank you for your nice comments in the forumms. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

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  2. You did an amazing job with your first challenge. You've really captured the spirit of being a Daring Baker!

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  3. what a great 1 challenge. love the pictures and the Macaroons look divine.

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  4. Congrats on your 1st challenge! Your macarons are perfect!! Lovely pictures.

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  5. congrats on your first challenge. you mastered macarons perfectly!

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  6. thanks alot everyone, i enjoyed every bit of it :)

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  7. Wow what a perfect macarons. Beautiful pictuers.

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  8. congrats on your first challange. They are look wonderful.

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  9. You absolutely rocked your first challenge! Bravo!! They look fabulous!

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  10. Waaah Bhai!!
    Barey Log!! :)

    Nice post!! :)

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  11. Amazing 1st challenge!! Your macarons look flawless =D.

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  12. wow sono favolosi!! chissà che buoni!

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  13. They are so beautiful! Great job here!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  14. Great job and welcome to the Daring Bakers! Many challenges ahead and it sounds like you're ready for them!

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  15. You really got it! I can't wait to try again and maybe actually have some success!

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  16. Another baker named Nadia! Your macaroons look beautiful!

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  17. yay! I'm glad you finally perfected it. Like you, I had alot of difficulties initially, but now am confident with it. your macaron looks great

    linda
    eatshowandtell.com

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  18. Well done Nadia! Your photos look beautiful. And welcome to the Daring Baker's :)

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  19. You got it right at the end, that is all that matters. The rest is just practice and applying new techniques :-)

    Regards
    Kris

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  20. Hi Nadia! the feeling is mutual. =) welcome to the Daring Baker's...Congratulations on your 1st challenge!! your macs look fabulous! perfect! photos are beautiful.

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  21. You get gorgeous feet and perfectly smooth tops on your very first challenge?!? You're amazing! :) Welcome to the DB community.

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  22. Great job! Your macarons look wonderful. Welcome to the Daring Bakers!! :)

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  23. Your macarons look perfect! Great job!

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  24. I didn't want to click on yet another macaron post, but I couldn't help myself. the photo looked too beautiful. marvelous macarons.

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  25. wow, thanks everyone, i am overwhelmed :)

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  26. Nice post - dessert recipes with pictures ..Keep Posting


    Ron
    dessert recipes with pictures

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  27. mmmmhhhhhhhhh ..
    I like macarons ..
      wonderfull

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  28. Congrats on your first challenge, well done!

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  29. Your macaroons seem to have turned out wonderfully :]
    May I ask how much this recipe makes?

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  30. It WAS delicious, I got to share some of it!!
    Bakery Equipment

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  31. Great job!
    How many macarons did this recipe make? It looks like a small amount, good for trying out

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    Replies
    1. i guess it makes 30 round enough for 15 sandwiches, yes good amount to try but pay special attention to method and baking,good luck

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  32. only one egg white? Really??

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  33. Just thought I would mention that what you refer to as "coconut heaps" are actually macaroons...but the beautiful confections you made here are actually called "macarons." You'll notice the spelling in many of the comments above. They are actually two very different cookies...you can google the difference and see. Your macarons came out beautifully and I am excited to try them. I appreciate your tips! Thanks! Lindsay wants to buy one from hai and hai was so excited it was adorable

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