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.
Most macaroons I’ve known contain coconut, but these aren’t your typical Italian macaroon. They are French-style Macarons. Instead of coconut, the ‘cookie’ part of this macaron contains almond flour, sugar and egg whites. They come out as a more chewy cookie with a nice outer layer of crispness. I used the same frosting recipe that I made for September’s Daring Baker’s Challenge here, to fill these little things up. The result, delicious! I thought they were best after they sat in the fridge for a few hours, but eaten at room temperature, that way the buttercream had time to set. Otherwise, when you bit into them right after being filled, the buttercream seemed to ooze right out.
I’ll be honest with you and tell you that it took me two tries to make this cookie. The first time I didn’t get the ‘feet’, that you should see in the picture, on the bottom of my cookie. The reason was because I measured the ingredients by weight instead of measuring cups, last time I do that. So I was pretty excited to see my ‘feet’ on this second batch of cookies.
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.