October 27, 2009

Daring Bakers tackle French Macarons

This month's Daring Baker's challenge, French Macarons, brought things full circle for me.   I initially started this blog to chronicle the trials and tribulations that go with making these little cookies.  Frequent readers of this blog know that macarons have been an obsession of mine as of late and I've made them numerous times; some ended in success, some not worth mentioning.  For the past few weeks I've taken a bit of a hiatus from macaron making because it seemed like they were the only things I was baking.  I'll admit, these treats are so finicky that I was fanatical about getting a consistent result.  But I guess that's what makes macarons so coveted and addictive to make..you don't always get it right, but when you do, you're on cloud nine. 

I didn't have any luck using the recipe we were provided for the challenge, from Claudia Fleming's The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern.  Based on feedback I read from fellow Daring Bakers they didn't have much success neither, so that gave me some comfort.  The batter seemed too airy and the tops never dried, even after sitting out for almost 45 minutes.  When I took them out of the oven the tops were crinkly and sunken and there wasn't any feet on the bottom.  Maybe it was the ratio of egg whites to tant-pour-tant, maybe it was my technique.   Who knows...but the big wheels must keep on turning. 

Since I wanted to complete the challenge despite the setback I ended up modifying a  macaron recipe from Helen of Tartelette.  Random story: I actually met her in San Francisco one Sunday afternoon in late September.  She was in town for the BlogHer convention and I ran in to her  when she was checking out Miette Confiserie in Hayes Valley.  I had just gone for brunch with my friends at Stacks nearby and wandered in to Miette afterwards for a sweet treat.  I noticed a petite woman in the shop taking pics with her camera and recognized her immediately  from her blog pic .  Like a weirdo groupie I blurted out, "Don't you have a food blog?  It's one of my favorites!" and proceeded to introduce myself and shake her hand.  She smiled, nodded politely and then went about her business.  I think I probably freaked her out a bit with my enthusiasm.  Oh well....still, I thought it was cool to meet someone who's blog I admire so much.

The flavors I made this time were pistachio, chocolate, raspberry, mango and rosewater.  I filled them with swiss meringue buttercream flavored to match the shell, except for chocolate, which had bittersweet ganache inside.   I've made all these flavors before except for rosewater which had the same shells as the raspberry ones.  My friend Christine gave me a bottle of rosewater for my birthday in the hopes that I would make some macarons for her  She got her wish!  I myself don't care for the flavor; tastes more like soap than a cookie, but to each his own..LOL!

I tried making a raspberry confiture filling reminiscent of the kind you'd find inside a macaron from Ladurée or Gerard Mulot.  They fill most of their fruit flavored macarons with jam, rather than a buttercream, which I tend to prefer since the tartness of the jam cuts in to the sweetness of the shell.  Cooked  some raspberry puree with liquid pectin and gelatin but unfortunately the jam didn't set to the proper consistency.  Although the raspberry filling didn't work out I was quite happy with how the chocolate macarons turned out.  I ended up adding a few grams of cocoa powder to the recipe and didn't get the wrinkled tops and brownie-like texture that I was getting before.  Hope I get the same results next time!

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.    


  1. Absolutely the most beautiful macarons I have seen. bravo bravo bravo. Extremely goregous photos. Very well done. Cheers from Audax in Australia

  2. Your macarons are simply stunning! Beautiful photos, and flawless job on this challenge!

  3. Very pretty macs, gorgeous photos!

  4. Thanks so much for your kind words!

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