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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Another Daring Baker Challenge: French Macaroons

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S from Baking Without Fear. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe. Before joining the Daring Bakers, I would think of a sweet, chewy coconut cookies when I hear "Macaroons" but in reality this is a classic dessert - the French Macaron - and it has nothing to do with coconut.

French macarons/macaroons are meringue "cookies" that are sandwiched with a filling - like a chocolate ganache or jam or something. I've never seen one of these in a bakery before (or maybe just never knew what they were if I had) and have never had a real macaroon, but I was excited to try this recipe because I loooove meringues and especially with chocolate. Yum!

The recipe is relatively simple. Unfortunately I had to purchase a $12 bag of almond flour (I guess I could have ground my own but almonds are pricey anyway) but after that the ingredients were easy to find - room temperature eggwhites (5) and a little sugar, plus powdered sugar and any flavoring for the meringue and fillings that you can think of. I started out by whipping the eggwhites to soft peaks and then adding the sugar. Then they were whipped to stiff peaks and I wisked the almond flour and powdered sugar together.

I think the next step must have been where I went wrong - I must have folded the flour mixture into the too roughly even though I was trying to be gentle, or maybe I took too long. I noticed the eggwhites had lots a lot of their fluffyness and this was obvious once I piped the cookies onto the parchment and silpat.

Needless to say, I sorta botched this challenge - my macaroons were flat as little chewy pancakes. However they were still tasty and I made up a quick ganache out of cream and semi-sweet chocolate chips, and peeled the flat macaroons off the parchment and made a few sandwiches. I found the silpat was worse at releasing the meringues than the parchment paper was. The Husband liked them too so at least I had one happy customer but now I will have to try the recipe again or try to find a real macaroon somewhere in the area. Thanks to Ami for a great challenge, and I'll try and do better next time! :)


  1. I struggled with this macaron recipe, too. I actually tweaked a few things because from my experience it didn't seem too accurate and was a little vague in parts - e.g. 5 egg whites (what weight?). Italian version for me next time! Much better.

  2. It was harder than it looked hey? So much to get right. At least the failed ones still taste yummy!