Thursday, October 29, 2009

Daring bakers....A little Late....An important lesson in humidity.

I had really looked forward to this month's daring bakers challenge, but was....disappointed....with my results. Disappointed enough I waffled on whether to post at all, thus the post is a little late. This month's challenge was another cookie, and it turns out my score with daring bakers cookies is as follows:

Daring bakers cookie: 2
Meredith: 0

Let me show you....
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.

See french macarons, I'd been wanting to make them forever, and now I had an excuse. Problem is, I was busy busy, so I didn't even make my attempt until Oct 26th, and that in the evening after work. I was going to try Green tea macarons with a raspberry buttercream filling.

That's some really great matcha from my old Japanese roommate and fresh raspberries from the farmers market.

Here's where full disclosure comes out. I reduced the recipe...and this may have something to do with my final results. I buy eggs at the farmers market, and they are expensive, and I just couldn't bring myself to use 5 farmers market eggs on my first attempt. Also, I was suspicious I had dinged one of the yolks into the whites, but used them anyway. Also, my husband was making beef stock in the kitchen at the time.

The eggwhites

Other ingredients

Beating Beating, Folding Folding


Finished cookies....

"But wait," you say, "those look just like the unfinished cookies! And what about the filling?!?" That my friend, is the trouble. My macarons came out as flat, chewy, lifeless cookie disks, and as such, I didn't even have the heart to fill them.

Here's what I think went wrong. 1: Yolk in the egg whites, nothing is worse for killing a nice fluffy egg white cookie cake etc. 2: Humidity. I did a little online research, and humidity is really bad for these cookies. I live in Seattle, it's October....It was POURING outside when I baked these, and inside, my husband had spent the day making fancy beef stock (ie. had a simmering pot of stock in the oven all. day.). Not a great climate for macarons.

I'll try again. But maybe not until summer when its drier.

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.

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

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