Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Foot-"less" and Fancy Free

When I saw the Daring Bakers' challenge for this month, I was really excited. Finally, something that is a bit different from a challenging cake...and it's something that I've been wanting to make! Macaroons!!! 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.

These were a bit different than I thought; I thought that macaroons by definition had coconut in them. However, according to wikipedia :-) (or the lovely explanation on the DB site if I had read it well!) they are "made either with coconut and egg white or with a coarse almond paste." So, they CAN have coconut, but don't have to have it. I'd like to try one with coconut at some point but didn't this time. I guess, technically, with my nut substitution, I didn't really made a macaroon, as I used pecans, but let's look past that. It appeared to me, after looking at the discussion board, that my attempt at macaroons had failed. I did not have any of the lovely "feet" that everyone was talking about. However, after looking at multiple pictures, I see that it doesn't HAVE to have this foot process. Maybe mine actually needed to cook longer, they did seem very dry to me. I decided to flavor my cookies with cinnamon and fill them with (store bought!) Nutella. Let me just say that these flavors perfectly complemented each other. I took the cookies to call with me and they were QUICKLY eaten. I really enjoyed the texture of the cookie. It was soft and just melted in my mouth without that grainy meringue texture. Yum! I would definitely try these again. Thanks Ami for the great challenge! I loved it. Check out more results here.

French Macarons

Ingredients
Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.) (I made pecan flour by processing 2 cups pecans with 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)

Directions:

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 (and my) note: My yield was much smaller than this. I produced about two dozen filled macaroons.

10 comments:

The Japanese Redneck said...

They look good. I guess I don't know what "foot" means.

Ramona

Elle said...

The foot thing isn't necessary, unless you are in Paris I guess. The flavor combo you chose sounds yummy! No wonder they were eaten in a flash.

Jill said...

Nutella is such a great filling--I also used it in mine. They sound delicious!

Aviva O'Byrne said...

I think they look fantastic. Cinnamon was a great idea. I made my first batch with coffee but they were a failure so I started over with plain almond for luck! Nice job!

Dharm said...

As long as they taste great, thats what counts. You only really need to worry about feet if you have a foot fetish... sorry! Couldnt resist that!! :)

Susan @ SGCC said...

Who needs feet when you have Nutella! Sounds like a great match with pecans. Well done!

Lisa said...

The heck with the feet, as long as they taste good, and your macs look delicious! It's funny, when I got your comment, I was on my way to leave you a comment..major brain wave there!

Audax said...

Stuff the feet that is for snooty French bakers. I say if they taste good great and it sounds like you loved them. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

Cate O'Malley said...

I love the idea of Nutella smooshed in between two of the cookies. Nutella just might make everything better. Delish!

Jaime said...

I was so sad I didn't get the feet, I totally want to try again. They were good, but nothing like the ones I had in Paris and I want to be able to make some like that!!!

I also filled some with nutella and thought they were fantastic too :)