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10.27.2009

Daring Bakers ...Hazlenut Macaroons with Spicy Chocolate Ganache and Strawberry or "Vampire Kiss"

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.
OR I attempted this months Daring Baker Challenge three times. I am not a macaroon novice, and have made them a few times before. I'm not an expert either, but this recipe and technique just wasn't for me. The following is just my experience and is meant to be constructive and analytical. The first go round I grounded my own almonds and added dried hibiscus for color and flavor. Disaster. The second go round I used store purchased hazelnut meal, as almond meal couldn't be found in several stores, and no flavor ingredient, just color. As you see from the first picture , they didn't turn out and really stuck to the parchment. I found the baking time was not sufficient and to low at first, then to high. I followed the recipe and instructions to a tee. I have used parchment several times when baking macaroons and never had issues. The third time I decided to use my tried and true recipe from the Macaroon Queen , Tartelette ,herself. I figure this is fair because I made the actual challenge recipe twice before with disastrous results. Success. Not perfect, but pretty good. I compared the ratios and technique.
Helen's calls for drying for 1 hour, which I feel is essential. That's how I was taught at my classed in the French Pastry School as well. I noticed I kept getting tips when piping, but reading Helen's articles, that can be resolved with a bit more folding.I was to cautious and didn't want to over fold. The recipe I used from Desserts Magazine tutorial by Tartelette.It is now only available by subscription (Issue #2). However this recipe from Helen is basically the same, except for the flavorings. Here is a PDF of the whole tutorial someone made public.

Notice the difference in a comparison Chart of both recipes:
Daring Bakers/ Claudia Fleming’s
5 egg whites
Granulated Sugar (2 tbsp/25 g)
Confectioners Sugar (2 .25 cups/225 g)
Almond Flour/meal (2 cups/190 g)

Helen’s ( Tartelette) Recipe
3 egg whites (100 g)
Granulated Sugar ( 50 g)
Confectioners Sugar (200 g)
Almond Flour/meal (110 g)

Notice the significant difference in ratios and technique. I really don't think Claudia Flemming's technique works for most ovens as its to tricky with the different stages and temps. As this was my first time using dry powdered food colors , I was timid, Next time I will use more. Up to 1 tablespoon is recommended.
As this week, I am participating in the Great Hallow Tweet, Halloween Blog Hop, I was attempting a Vampire like theme. See side link to see others who are participating.


I sprinkled some black sanding sugar. I should have been more aggressive with my dry food color.

I was so happy to see feet!

A ganache infused with a Thai Chili and Cinnamon was piped onto the shells.

Then some Strawberry Jam......

My little Vampire kisses.

Love at first bite.

Be sure to visit the other Daring Bakers. Thank you Ami for giving us a challenge we all have been dying for. While the given recipe didn't work for me, it was a great challenge to compare. I really feel weights/metric make a big difference in the art of pastry. Its more exact and can really alter the results.I notice the Macaroons taste even better after storing in the fridge for a few days and allowing to come to room temperature. The flavors really meld .

Here is the Daring Baker Challenge Recipe:

Recipe Source: I’ve tried many, many recipes, and have discovered that my favorite macaroon recipe comes from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern. They have given me the most consistent results and so, for everyone’s delectation, I present to you an adaptation of Ms. Fleming’s recipe
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!)
IngredientsConfectioners’ (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.
Yield: 10 dozen. Ami's note: My yield was much smaller than this. I produced about two dozen filled macaroons.

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39 comments:

Memória said...

Cool!!! I love these versions! You incorporated some very interesting, delectable combinations. Good job on this challenge.

Nina Timm said...

You truly deserve the title "Daring Baker". I am just too scared to try macaroons!!!! Love the Thai chili in there!!!

kellypea said...

Courtney, you are just WAY too creative. Vampire kisses!!!! Nice job on these. Way to persist and provide analysis. I did my research, chose the path less traveled by and will punish myself next weekend with what I should have done this weekend. I bow to your awesomeness.

La Pastry Chef said...

Your macarons look beautiful. Love the black sugar rim on the Martini glass too!

Amy I. said...

Wow! Love the Halloween theme, how apropos and creative! Also enjoyed reading your analysis comparing the 2 recipes. Thanks for sharing!

MeetaK said...

courtney these look perfect halloween treats to me! a great post comparing the two!

tobias cooks! said...

thai chili and cinnamon, wow, what a combination. I just love it.

Y said...

An interesting read, comparing the two recipes. I didn't manage to try the given recipe, but now I'm curious (though I might give it a miss considering everyone else's track record). Beautiful macarons - love the very appropriate theme you used! :)

maybelle's mom said...

I love the trick treat post on this one. i definitely think Helen's recipe is the way to go. And, your pictures do look hawt.

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Awesomeness! You are just incredible. 3 tries??? Love the vampire kisses! Greta job on the challenge!

RecipeGirl said...

GORGEOUS job with these, my dear! I can't believe you tried them three times. I'd have given up!!

Macarons have to be next on my list of things to make.

Your blog looks so cute decorated for Halloween.

Jessica said...

These looks beautiful and are so festive. I absolutely love them. I have never made macarons. I need to try!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Very well done! Your macarons are gorgeous and I really like your choice of flavorings!

Cheers,

Rosa

Tracy @ Sugarcrafter said...

Gorgeous! I couldn't get the recipe to work for me either, no matter how hard I tried. I'm glad I'm not alone! :-)

George@CulinaryTravels said...

These look perfect. 3 tries, wow!! Great job.

Tartelette said...

Love the Halloween theme you have going on! Glad I could be of help in achieving sucess with macarons. Nothing is worst than to stare at a baking tray of failed boogers.

Love them all!

RJ Flamingo said...

These look awesome, Courtney! I love that "They're Alive!". The Vampire Kisses with those flavorings, are just perfect for The #GreatHallowTweet! You are a treasure!

Barbara Bakes said...

Such perfect little vampire kisses! Too fun!

Basht said...

those look amazing. good on ya for continuing to try

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

Love the 'vampire's kiss'...WOW!! Great flavour combination! BTW, to add to the comparison, David Lebovitz recipe that I used had 2 tbsps granular sugar per egg white...hmmmm!!

Wic said...

just adore this macaroons

Beth said...

Haha - "It's alive! It has feet!" - Love this!

sunita said...

Your macarons look great; yes,the appearance of "feet" is sheer happiness :-)

Bellini Valli said...

These are perfect little bites for the vampire in all of us Courtney.

culinography said...

Vampire kisses? Brilliant! These are fab!!

Cynthia said...

I like your comment: it's alive! It has feet! :)

Proud Italian Cook said...

I love your halloween blog! but those macarons are beautiful. You have so much patience, 3 times? I'm impressed. You truely are a daring baker!

anna said...

These look so tasty! I had exactly the same complaints as you did regarding the recipe - I've found the best way to get ruffly little macarons is to allow a nice sturdy skin to form. Also, my oven doesn't go as low as the failrecipe calls for.

Jamie said...

Ooh now these will make for a happy Halloween! 3 tries is honorable but you ended up with delicious, beautiful little kisses! I love those flavors! Fab job, Courtney!

Jen said...

Hi Courtey- my macarons didn't work out using the challenge recipe either and I switched to the Tartelette recipe too!

I can't say I love these cookies either, but they were definitely challenging.

Megan said...

Your flavors sound amazing. I cant wait to try these again, only using Tartletts recipe. They are a fun cookie! I had issues with them sticking to my wax paper too. I didn't think any thing would stick to it, but I was sire wrong.
Love the decorations for Halloween! :)

Esi said...

I agree, weighing ingredients makes such a difference, but even the two temps in the Claudia Fleming were confusing. I am so glad you finally got something that worked though, they sound great!

Michelle Dargen said...

Thank you for the other recipe. I will definitely try it. I feel like a complete macaroon loser! lol I can't wait to try this new recipe. This may sound horrible but I'm glad other people were having trouble with the DB recipe...that way I have an excuse. LOL

The Caked Crusader said...

I think you're being tough on yourself - these look ace!
You're so exotic with your choices - hibiscus!!!

Chez Us said...

Incredibly creative flavors, I love the Thai chili - perfect for Halloween. As well your site is adorable for the holiday, I cannot wait to see what you have in store for rest of the year! ;)

Natalie, aka "Sheltie Girl" said...

You so totally rock! Awesome flavors and macarons along with the Halloween theme photographs. Absolutely wonderful!

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Dharm said...

Its Alive! Its Alive!! Love the post and love the macs! Glad I came back to check on your post!

linda said...

Scary macarons ;) Love how you used the Haloween theme! I used Tartelette's recipe too and it worked much better.

Gabi said...

Lovely Macarons!