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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daring Bakers' Macarons



It has been said many times how difficult and unpredictable it is to bake macarons. The same recipe will produce different outcome when it is baked in different country, season, weather, room temperature, and especially different ovens. Some recipes call for baking temperature of 190 C, which I would never even think of trying considering my oven gives me best result at 150-155 C. Some specify cold egg whites, room-temperature egg whites, or even egg white powder. Some use French meringue technique, others Italian or even Spanish (last update from DB Challenge). Aren't we confused enough?



Besides knowing well how your oven works, successful baking of macarons also depends on many factors, some of which we are not aware of. One can simply bake great macaron on the first try and fail on the next. Or what I experienced before - baking successfully on 3 consecutive attempts and failing on the next 4. Everything is kept the same: ingredients, macaronage technique, baking temperature, and every single detail I could remember. Then I realized I baked in hot season before and now it is raining everyfay. Humidity counts! And humidity is different from country to country.



Tedious is the word when it comes to baking macaron since it takes time to dry up the surface before proceeding into baking. On different climate and room temperature the drying time is different. It could take as short as half an hour to as long as three and a half hours. Once I baked in Hong Kong and it took only about half an hour to dry up the surface while in Thailand it takes much much longer! So when recently I read through Daring Bakers’ October Challenge’s macaron recipe that doesn’t require drying time, I jumped in full of joy!



How about Macaron with Chestnut Filling? Have been waiting to bake this...

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. Thanks to Amy S. of Baking Without Fear.

MACARON



Preparation time: Not taking into account the amount of time it takes for you to bring your egg whites to room temperature, the whole baking process, including making the batter, piping and baking will probably take you about an hour to an hour and a half. How long it takes to make your filling is dependent on what you choose to make.
Actual baking time: 12 minutes total, plus a few minutes to get your oven from 200°F to 375°F.



Equipment required:
• Electric mixer, preferably a stand mixer with a whisk attachment
• Rubber spatula
• Baking sheets
• Parchment paper or nonstick liners
• Pastry bag (can be disposable)
• Plain half-inch pastry bag tip
• Sifter or sieve



• If you don’t have a pastry bag and/or tips, you can use a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off
• Oven
• Cooling rack
• Thin-bladed spatula for removing the macaroons from the baking sheets
• Food processor or nut grinder, if grinding your own nuts (ouch!)



Ingredients
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)



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.

48 comments:

  1. gorgeous shots and I love the idea of a chestnut filling!

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  2. I would like to try on or two of these. Look just perfect!

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  3. Wow your macarons look gorgeous!

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  4. Your macarons look just perfect!
    so beautiful and royal,
    and i love the flavors' combination!

    Great job
    Inbal
    (also a DB)

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  5. They are gorgeous. Also i love chestnut too..

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  6. Your macarons look so beautiful and perfect!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  7. These are adorable and I simply love chestnuts!

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  8. OMG! So pretty!
    When I see how amazing yours turned out (and other DB's)...I almost feel like I should not have posted mine :) But it's all about trying, right?

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  9. They look as if they came out perfect! Chestnut sound delicious!

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  10. As always - pure perfection... This month's challenge was adistaster for me :( But I'm not giving up and I will have perfect, little macaroons someday. Cheers! :)

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  11. Hey! I just came upon ur blog while browsing thru everyones DB Post. I have to say your macarons are stunning!!

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  12. Your macaroons look perfect. Gorgeous photos.
    Mimi

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  13. Your macarons look simply flawless, and oh, how dreamy your photos are! Beautiful work all around.

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  14. Really beautiful macarons!!! very nice blog.

    I'll post mine tonight

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  15. mmm very nice. i love your photography, you should tamper with the margins so we can see them bigger!! i know exactly what you mean about humidity....try making them in brazil :P

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  16. They're so perfect & cute! I love the filling, and everything looks amazing!

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  17. Your macarons look absolutely perfect! Beautiful :D Lovely photos as always.

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  18. I expected perfection and that exactly what I got. Perfect in every manner. Bravo and kudos. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

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  19. Goodness - yours just look so smooth, even and perfect! ::jealousy!!!:: I expect nothing less than this kind of perfection from you ;)

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  20. Daring Baker ? Macaroon? wooow... for you this is just piece of cake, right ? :D since macaron become your 'award' signature.. LOL.

    Hi, Kris how are you doing? whats 'fruit' season in Thailand, right now ? Gosh, I missed my country so bad..still can't make to go there :(

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  21. I'm happy that I found your blog, the photos and your description are wonderful...

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  22. These look truly perfect! How do you get them so smooth?

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  23. yours are perfect. love the chestnut filling too.

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  24. Kris, your photographs of your macarons are GORGEOUS!!

    I love the idea of chesnut filling--it has such a unique flavor and I'm sure it tasted wonderful! I also liked how you explained in more detail the variety of things that can affect your macarons in making them. I think the humidity with this recipe was one of the problems I had.

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  25. Yours are the MOST PERFECT & pretty ones I've seen all day. Hope, one day, I shall be able to make macs like these! GORGEOUS!!

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  26. I need to make these for Christmas. Chestnut would be just perfect!

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  27. those are the best best macaroons i have seen so far, perrfeeeccctt

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  28. There seems to be a macaron invasion in the net these days... ;-). Yours look perfect.

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  29. Those look absolutely perfect and look at that smooth surface! Beautiful! Love your choice of filling too with the chestnut. SOunds delicious..

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  30. These are perfecttt! thanks for all your tips on making them, it makes me feel a little bit better about failing twice and having to skip the challenge. I love your pictures, and chestnuts are yum!

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  31. Your insights are spot on. Love the chestnut filling and your macarons are simply picturesque!

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  32. I love the pictures of your macarons. Great job! I wonder what's in store for November!

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  33. I seriously don't think you could make your macarons look any more PERFECT than they already are!!! Would love to try chesnut! Beautiful Kris!

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  34. Gorgeous photography, and your flavors sound so delicious!! Mmmm!!

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  35. Great job! Your macarons look absolutely perfect!

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  36. Ooh chestnut! They look perfect.

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  37. Wow! I'm in awe. Your macarons look perfect!

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  38. Wow, your macarons are perfection!I'm sure they taste fantastic!

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  39. Kris, once again, you've outdone yourself. Those are some textbook perfect macarons, and they sound delicious..LOVE chestnut(was thinking of a mont blanc tyoe of mac myself, with marron glace) and LOVE your gorgeous photos and food styling. You need to get a cookbook deal..pronto! :)

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  40. Wow you are so talented...i was almost tempted to lick my computer screen! Holy moly :)

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  41. Kris, perfect macs, and those pics are gorgeous! Mine didn't turn out like it should. I haven't tried other recipe...but seems like the one given didn't work out well for many - makes me feel a little better...hahhaha Maybe someday I'll try it again...but tedious is the right word for Macs! :P

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  42. They look utterly perfect and gorgeous and soooo edible :-)

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  43. Chestnut filling, now that's something I haven't tried before. Gorgeous macs and photos!

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  44. Have not try Macaroons before. Yours are really beautiful~~gonna bookmark this. Thanks for sharing.

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  45. Thank you all so much, guys! Macaron is a real challenge. I would say that it is an expression of uncertainty, don't you all agree? Sometimes we get good result, other times not so good. But we just can't stop making it like an addiction :-)

    Regards
    Kris

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  46. Hello Kris,
    I read your recipe here, which is great - I will try it. And then I read your profile and I have to say - the same exact thing happened to me and the baking sensation! I was a graphic designer for many years too, and now I do massage therapy (kind of like kneading bread dough, right?) and went to Paris this past summer. Now all I want to do is make croissants and macaroons - it IS like an addiction! I'm in love. I have a wonderful recipe for chocolate macaroons - it is like heaven in your mouth. I will try your recipe this weekend. Happy baking! I watch with interest!
    Regards, Susan

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  47. Wow...Luks yum
    can I know which camera lens u r using?

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