Daring Baker’s Challenge October 2009 – Macaroons

27 Oct

The month of October was my very first Daring Baker’s Challenge and I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to be a part of this for the very first time.

Because I live in the Southern hemisphere, it took me a day to realise that I wasn’t going to find out what the challenge was till the second day of October. Anyway, to cut the long story short… I did eventually find out. It was macaroons. I was apprehensive, firstly, because I had never made macaroons before and secondly, macaroons have a reputation of going terribly wrong – and so they did….

I knew I was going to be learning lots from this challenge

My first attempt was a failed attempt – as you can see from the pictures below. Firstly… they didn’t have feet!! ARK!!! And secondly, they were holey and slightly airy in texture.

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Above is a picture of them before they went into the oven. (After reading some advise from audex and mytartelette, I learnt that this “nipple” shaped macaroon is not the correct shape of an unbaked macaroon at all. This meant the texture of the mixture is wrong due to incorrect mixing techniques and therefore, producing macaroons that look like this – see below. SOB! I was devastated. They look like butter cookies instead of macaroons.)

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I proceeded to fill the failed macaroons with dark chocolate and orange ganache anyway. They tasted pretty good but they really didn’t look like what a macaroon should.

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I was determined to try AGAIN! Afterall, I had to now live up to being a “Daring” Baker!!

My second attempt –

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I hear angels burst into song and see confetti pouring down from the ceiling as I opened the oven door. The macaroons were shiny and they had feet! They weren’t perfect but I was happy. I sandwiched them with white chocolate and orange ganache this time round.

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My final attempt (after maybe about 7 other attempts over the past month) was to ensure that I could perfect the macaroon. I really really wanted to get it right. I eventually figured out that my oven was too hot and it was cooking the crust but not the inside of the macaroon, therefore giving it a wrinkly top. I turn the oven down to 135 °C and bake them in the oven for 20 – 25 mins and they turned out looking like these…..

PINK

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Despite having eaten unsuccessful macaroons to death (to the extent that the roof of my mouth was chapped and sore), I think I nailed it. I have learnt so much. Thanks for the challenge.

Here’s the recipe from Ami S :

Ingredients for the macaroons:

  • 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)

Method:

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.

Ingredients for the White chocolate and orange ganache:

  • 225 grams white chocolate (chopped into small pieces)
  • 150 ml cream
  • 20 grams glucose
  • zest of 1 orange
  • splash of orange essense

Method:

  1. Place the cream and glucose in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the white chocolate to the cream mixture.
  3. Stir till the chocolate is melted.
  4. Add the orange zest and orange essence and stir till mixture in.
  5. Place the saucepan in a bowl of ice water and stir the ganache till you get a pipeable consistency.

Assembly:

Pipe the ganache onto one macaroon and sandwich it between another.

NOTE: There were somethings that I did differently from the above recipe the second time round which made the macaroons work.

  1. I added all the almond meal and icing sugar to the egg whites all at once and for the first 12 strokes, I mixed in fast, breaking some air bubbles out from the whites.
  2. I also did not fold the mixture for more than 50 strokes in total – ok… maybe I folded 60 strokes.
  3. After piping on the silicon mat, I banged the mat on the table surface to get rid of excess air bubbles and I allowed the mixture to sit on the bench for about 30 minutes for them to form a skin before putting them in for the first bake.

These were advise which I found from Helen of Tartelette’s blog. She’s amazing…

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7 Responses to “Daring Baker’s Challenge October 2009 – Macaroons”

  1. Lauren October 28, 2009 at 12:35 PM #

    Love the colours! Your macs look stunning =D. Fabulous job on your first challenge!!

  2. Simon October 28, 2009 at 1:34 PM #

    Nice work with the final result. Looks like the persistence paid off 🙂

  3. jo October 28, 2009 at 3:09 PM #

    Congrats on being a DBaker. And your perserverance paid off .. your macs have feet and such gorgeous looking ones at that. Well done!

  4. squeaky mouse October 29, 2009 at 3:35 AM #

    wow, your macarons look fabulous, well done!

  5. Jo October 30, 2009 at 7:15 PM #

    OMG, I’m so proud of you. I could never do that. Pink rounds of crunchy gooey delight, so beautiful I could tear…

  6. Linda October 31, 2009 at 8:11 AM #

    Your fancy delights are wonderful. Well done to a first class baker.

  7. Jenny October 31, 2009 at 10:18 AM #

    Just found your blog on the DB blogroll and though I should say hi! Your macarons look great, mine were an absolute FAIL but I am excited to find out the next challenge – 48 hours to go!

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