Macaroons – Daring Bakers October Challenge

27 Oct

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.

Macaroons. They are much-loved in my house. When I say they I mean Ladoree. For this reason this was my most difficult challenge to date. So much so that I kept putting off making them. I was very nervous about making them and making a mess of them and that’s exactly what I did. In my head I kept thinking they surely can’t be as hard as everyone says to make. They consist of four ingredients: egg whites, almonds, icing sugar and granulated sugar.

I decided on two flavours: Chocolate shells with mint chocolate ganache and berry shells with white chocolate ganache. My first batch were going well until I put them in the oven at too high a heat!!!! I read the farenheight for the celsius temperature. Major fuck up. Excuse my language but there’s no other way of putting it! I was incredibly disheartened and delayed making them yet again. In the mean time though I did do copious amounts of reading about macaroons. Tartlette makes truly wonderful macaroons and describes the process very well. The main thing to remember when making macaroons is the preparation that goes into them. You need to have at least day old room temperature egg whites, the almonds must be ground very finely and I sieved mine twice to make it finer. The batter must be not over whipped or under whipped. You need to know your oven. I fell mine should be cooked at a lower temp for longer. You should place a few sheets of baking of baking paper so they don’t stick and burn.

My second batch (chocolate shells), which I made last night came out better, except they weren’t thick enough. Although every one said pipe them in one inch circles they never said how high they should be, so these lacked in height and so did not form the famous ‘feet’ which is a little raised skirt or frill underneath the shell of each macaron.

So began the third batch (red berry shells). To add this flavour I used flavoured tea and ground them (himself got a job) in a pestal and mortar. I piped them higher and they almost formed feet. As I said previously I feel the oven temperature was too high but I was sticking to the challenge recipe, I would not recommend this recipe if you are trying these for the first time. I will be following a different recipe when i make them again.

Feet Fighting to Form

Feet Fighting to Form

Then comes the ganache…oh dear…the white chocolate was oh it was damn tasty but not thick enough for my liking. The dark mint chocolate ganache was looking great and then disaster!!! It split!!!! For those of you that don’t know, ganache is a combination of chocolate and cream. You simmer the cream gently and pour if over the chocolate to get the fat of the chocolate to mix with the water of the cream whilst stirring. My cream was clearly too hot and the fat from the chocolate rose to the top. I read that if you beat the mixture at a low speed for a few minutes it should blend them nicely back together. I did this but it still wasn’t great but I had no cream left.

Dodgy Macaroons

Dodgy Macaroons

Tough challenge this month and I would like to thank Audax for all his tips. I will be making these again once i get my head around everything that’s needed. Lists will be made and better photos will be taken. I had no interest in taking photos of macaroon shaped objects! Although, himself claims they were in his words ‘damn tasty, especially the berry ones’. He is my number one taster and I always trust his opinions. He is also a very patient man and full of encouragement and for that I thank him greatly. He also always helps cleaning up the huge mess i always make of the kichen, and for that I also thank him!


8 Responses to “Macaroons – Daring Bakers October Challenge”

  1. Audax Artifex October 27, 2009 at 1:50 pm #

    I think you got about 70% there if you use Helen’s recipe I think you will get 100%. Great effort and you are one Daring Baker. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

  2. sarah October 27, 2009 at 5:12 pm #

    So elusive! Yes, thank goodness for Audax. But how many batches can we make before we get sick of these things?? 🙂

  3. Lauren October 27, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    Very daring of you =D. The macs look wonderful! I love their individuality!

  4. deeba October 28, 2009 at 2:17 am #

    Well done…love the persistence. I can promise it’ll pay off one day. These are certainly fiddly creatures & you just have to work out which recipe works for you.I did 6 batches one morning, a white at a time, before I finally found feet!!

  5. Conor @ HoldtheBeef October 28, 2009 at 10:28 am #

    Oh no, mixing the Fahrenheit for Celsius! That’s totally something I would do!

    Despite the issues, they do indeed look like tasty little suckers 🙂 And yep, I can recommend the recipe I ended up using!

  6. swerit October 28, 2009 at 10:30 am #

    I guess as long as we keep on trying we’re doing what we should be with the darking kitchen!! good luck for next time

  7. Karen October 28, 2009 at 11:51 am #

    Oh yes it certainly helps having a patient man around who cleans up the kitchen mess and does the dishes!

    Good on you for trying. I’ve no doubt your next batches would be perfect 🙂

  8. stacielk October 28, 2009 at 5:00 pm #

    Ohhh the chocolate with mint macaroons sound soooo good. I may have to give those flavors a try this holiday season! Yum!

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