Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Daring Baker's French Macaroons

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I am taking a quick break from the Great European Adventure blogs so I can fulfill my Daring Baker's Challenge. Let me begin by warning any would be macaroon bakers, this is a terrible recipe to attempt in Memphis during the "rainy season" which apparently is right now. I mean unending rain, it is miserable. Macaroons are supposed to be light and airy with an ethereal crunch to them. That is hard to achieve when the relative humidity hovers at 99.9%. I am going to crank up the heat in my house and see if I can dry out the air a bit.

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.

We were given free reign as far as flavoring the macaroons and filling them with whatever we cared to. I love almond and chocolate. So I opted for a little Halloween combo cookie. I used a little orange powdered food coloring in the cookie batter and sandwiched them with chocolate buttercream. Delicious and perfect for Halloween week.

It is crucial that your ingredients be at room temperature, and eggs whip up beautifully in a copper bowl if you happen to have one. Be watchful, over-beaten egg whites will lead to disaster. I upped the time on the first bake designed to dry them out a little from 5 to 8 minutes due to the humidity. The original recipe is supposed to make 10 dozen, the first tester's yield was 2 dozen filled, which is close to my yield, but I did try to make them a little on the small side. I baked them for a full 10 minutes, and after cooling on a rack, I put them back into the oven (turned off) to dry the bottoms a little. Normally these would rise into fluffy little pillows, but this is the result in high humidity. The taste is still great.

Macaroons are the rage in bakeries everywhere, so with just a few ingredients and a little patience you can recreate them right in your home. Fabulous!

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