Wish I was there . .
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29 October 2009

Better Late Than Never

The October 2009 Daring Baker 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.

I have to admit that I failed this month. I just couldn't seem to get it together - was it the heat that kept turning the meringue to liquid, the ground hazelnut flour (what a pain that is to make), the overly sweet coffee icing? The result was not a macaron, but a flat, not so good cookie; or as my kids said, "It's okay but not very good." Seriously, that is how bad it was - the kids turned down cookies. To see how it should be done, visit the other Daring Bakers and maybe by next month I have my baking mojo back (or at least it might be cooler).


Audax said...

The kids wouldn't eat them - I'm sure you'll get them perfect when your mojo comes back. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

Lisa said...

Your kids didn't eat them? Send them to me! I'll devour them, they look awesome! Well done!

Merisi said...


that type of meringue is practically impossible to make when the humidity is as high as in Florida.

I would try to make them with Italian meringue, which is more humidity resistant (I would still crank up the air conditioner to the max and leave the cookies overnight in the spent oven, which makes them firm up a little more). Here is a recipe:
(never mind that it is for a different use, i.e. butter cream).

Another point: almonds are dryer than hazelnuts, plus they can be ground into finer flour. To get the smooth consistency of a true macaron you need to use finely ground almond flour, made with blanched (skin-less) almonds. You would need to use a nut grinder to get it as fine as it should be (been there, done that, used my Cuisinart, grinding the almonds with sugar as Julia Child suggested, but the result is like using grits instead of farina flour). Trader Joe and health food stores sell almond flour (sometimes called almond meal, but that is usually made from almonds with skin, not the type you want for macarons), or order it online. Worth the effort!

I cannot tell you how wonderful it feels to simply walk into any grocery store and reach for the ground almonds, nuts, whatever. I enjoy it to the fullest, remembering how it was almost impossible to get these necessities back in DC.

I could mail you a bagful, if you'd like me to!