The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose French Macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.
It's funny how you can feel like you're catching a cold, but then if you unglue yourself from the lazy-boy chair and start a project time flies and there you are with beautiful macaroons. French macarons do not have coconut in them like the macaroons that I am familiar with, but are made from a nut flour like almonds. The challenge was to make them and fill them but I have to say that it was just too sweet and I preferred them plain.
It's too late in the day to have Grandma try one. She brushes her teeth at 4:30 and then refuses to take in any more calories for the day. It's quite early but what can you do. She requested a nutella filling. I wanted to make an orange buttercream for the filling but ended up with some strange orange marmalade concoction with butter in it. Not sure what happened there. It tastes ok.
I wonder if there is a way to make them less sweet but still have the same texture. This was a really good project but tougher than I expected.
The other day my grandma called me down her to place to make pancakes for breakfast. She wanted to show me how to do them so that when I am alone I know how. Cute! I was surprised that she didn't know that I could make pancakes but it was adorable at the same time. She probably still sees me as the little girl in the kitchen with her. Nearly every time we cook together she tells the story of how she used to put flour on my nose and I would leave it there all day. I never would eat what we made until my mom came home from work and I could show her what I did. I like to surprise Grandma with treats like these even though the whole family is freaking out about cholesterol.
Here is what you need to know:
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)
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.