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Daring Bakers October 2009|(Big ol’) French Macaron (fail)

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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.

The official posting date is past for October’s Daring Bakers challenge, but the new challenge wasn’t up yet and we had eggs that needed using and I figured “why not?” So I made the October challenge – French Macarons. And these cookies…were bad.

Now it could be because I just didn’t make them very well. As per my usual, I did pare down the recipe (I’m here on my own right now and I wasn’t going to make 2-4 dozen cookies for myself – I’m still working off my Abu Dhabi baby fat), so it’s possible that I made some mistake(s) along the way. But the thing about these cookies is…well, they hurt my teeth. They’re really sugary. I can’t believe I’m saying this because I love the sugar as much (if not more) than the next girl. But these are just too sweet. Did I mention they make my teeth hurt? I’m not kidding. I bite into them and “ouch.”

There are lots and lots and lots of beautiful cookies from this challenge, so I encourage trying them. Plus maybe you really like meringue (my old roomie Julia makes meringues so lovely I had to give her the stand mixer when she moved out), so trusting my experience on this one really isn’t a good idea. Make the cookies and let me know how they turn out.

Cheers.

French Macaroons

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.

Yield: 10 dozen.

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