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by on October 27th, 2009

Marvelous Macarons

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 recipeOOKS

This is my first attempt at making French Style Macarons — will I make them again?

call these M&M Macarons for two reasons. First they are decorated with these beautiful pink and purple M&M’s and the second is they are marvelousssss…

he 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from

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I have started participating in The Daring Kitchen baking challenges. I think this will be a lot of fun and will push me to try things I’ve never baked before. Once a month someone sponsors a challenge. Everyone is given the same recipe and you have a month to make it and post it to your blog. After catering for 20 years and being married for 40 years I can’t believe I have never made French Style Macarons so this is going to be an attempt to go out of my comfort zone. Whether it fails or succeeds, the results are posted here.

I was in NYC in September on our anniversary trip with some friends who were also celebrating their 25th anniversary. Our last night’s dinner was at Gramercy Tavern and one of the amuse bouche desserts (we had 4) we were served were tiny little raspberry French Macarons. They were fabulous. So, I guess after this challenge I will know if am a failure or not at making Macarons.

Three days before I’m suppose to be making these, I have my egg whites sitting at room temperature. From everything I have read on macaron tips aging of the whites is really suppose to make a difference in the finished product.

Here I’m sitting at the computer, knots in my stomach trying to get up enough nerve to start these cookies. Oh, how I want them to turn out the first time. I don’t deal very well with failures. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. (I ended up making four batches.)

I put it off a little longer, decided to go work out and get rid of some of the anxiety that is building in this challenge.  And, I thought I was fearless 🙂

RESULTS:

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Here are all my ingredients. I measured everything in grams hope for good results.

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I think they look too swirly. (I am definitely making 2 more batches to see if I can get them right) I don’t like the peaks. They turned out too dry looking on top, weren’t domed at all. I will try two more times and will show results at end of this post.

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Macarons

2 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar (225 g, 8 oz.)
2 c. Almond flour:  (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
2 Tbsp. Granulated sugar:  (25 g , .88 oz.)
5 Egg whites: (Have at room temperature)

Directions:

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.

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.

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.

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.

Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).

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.

Cool on a rack before filling.

Chocolate Ganache

9 oz. bittersweet chocolate

1 c. heavy cream

1 Tbsp. espresso

Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully. Pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Add the espresso. Allow the ganache to chill. When ready to  frost macarons, take out of refrigerator and whip it until spreading consistency.

Now here are my other attempts and tips and things I have learned from this challenge.

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We have “feet”. See that little separation at the bottom, the way it sticks out. That is called feet. BUT. See the swirl pattern and how it got too brown.  I don’t like the looks of these. So, on the the last batch.

I decided to add some cocoa to the almond meal this time for chocolate and I added a little espresso powder to the chocolate granache I had left over from the M&M ones. 

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 In the oven and they are looking smooth.

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 See those feet. I’m so proud of these. I may actually try them again sometime.

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Now, what I have learned.  First, I watched a few YouTube videos on making macarons. Two were in French and my husband came in from golfing while I was watching them and said “when did you learn to speak French”. I couldn’t understand a word they were saying but I wanted to see their technique.

1. I was piping all wrong. I was piping in a spiral pattern like when I make choux puffs. Wrong. The videos show just putting the tip down and pushing out a round circle and if you have a little tip, the person just kind of flicked it over the top.

2. I didn’t like the first method of baking at 200 for 5 minutes then raising it to 375°. I think that is why the green ones got too brown on top. The chocolate batch were baked at 300° for 20 minutes then out of the oven. There is a method that starts our at 400°(+) degrees from the beginning and then you lower it after 5 minutes and then lower it again after so many minutes.

3. Also, in the folding in of the dry ingredients — one of the French guys really worked his mixture a lot more than just folding in the dry ingredients.

4. To help loosen from parchment paper (I used silpat) they slid the parchment off the sheet after they removed it from the oven, sprayed the hot sheet with water and then slid the parchment with the macarons back on the sheet. That build up a little steam and let the macarons let of of the papeer.

5. I would never make mine over 1″. I used a sheet of paper and traced 1″ circles on it and slid that under the silpat (or parchment) and that gave you a pattern to pipe into.

6. Next time I would definitely sift my ingredients (I don’t have a sifter). I tried using the food processor like some of the sites suggested and I don’t think it got fine enough.

7. I’m also going to try letting them air dry an hour or so before baking. Several sites recommend that technique.

Glad this challenge is over. I don’t think I will be so nervous about trying the next one.

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5 comments to Marvelous Macarons

  • lovely macarons and great tips!i guess i piped mine incorrectly as well. i especially love seeing the progression from your first to last batches. would love to see the links to the videos that you mentioned.

  • Well done on your macarons. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the recipe – will stick with my Italian version – but I had dined at Gramercy Tavern with my husband last year on a trip to the US so figured I would give it a shot. I think most people had problems with this recipe. So great work. Definitely try the Italian meringue version next. It’s soooo much easier!

  • barry

    Interesting to see your progress with the piping.. comment on the chou buns.. they should also be piped the same way..forget the blender bit unless adding flavours.. you MUST sieve the ingredients to obtain a fine powder mixture…better to use 1/2 Icing sugar & 1/2 Granulated…As Julie says the Italian meringue method is much superior.. using the granulated for the boiled sugar mix…it is always advisable to leave the piped macaroons before cooking for 30 minutes to allow the ‘crust’ to form.

  • Your macs look amazing! I love how you played with the challenge, they came out beautifully =D. Wonderful job with this challenge!

  • Maria

    Looks amazing. Ricky volunteers to be your taste tester any day! Great job! Marvilleux
    probably spelled wrong. Last french class of any worth was in the 5th grade.

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