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Archive for October 27th, 2009

Another month has come and gone, and the kitchen has not seen much action in October.  With training at work and a week’s vacation in France, I managed to barely scrape out this months Daring Baker’s challenge from the Daring Kitchen.

Macarons were the name of the game.  I was a little disappointed because I’ve made them a couple times before, and the point of this blog is to learn new things.  But in making them again, I’ve come to find that I could definitely spend more time perfecting these delicious french cookies.

Originally, I thought it would be a lot of fun to make the macarons during my visit to France.  My sister, whom I was visiting, didn’t think it sounded like a good idea.  And once there, I agreed with her because her kitchen is tiny (and, ahem, quite messy).

Therefore, I made the macarons the day after I got home from France.  I thought they would be a nice little gift for the coworkers who covered my shifts while I was away.  I had brought a couple bags of almond powder back with me and used them in addition to the few bags I already had.  And I made sure to study (consume) macarons while in France.

I’ve made vanilla macarons and pistachio macarons before.  I have numerous french patisserie cookbooks that I’ve brought back from my many trips to France and translated a few recipes.  It’s quite a bit of work.  And ironically enough, the best recipe I have for macarons is the one from Martha Stewart.  I used that recipe along with the recipe on the Daring Kitchen site to make a variety of macarons.

I basically just doubled the recipe and split the batter evenly to make pistachio, chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and pumpkin macarons.  The vanilla ones turned out to have the truest consistency to a french macaron, probably because it involved the least amount of folding and mixing.  The other variations had additional ingredients added like pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice, instant espresso powder, pistachios, and cocoa powder.  I had to mix those batches more thoroughly to incorporate those flavors, therefore causing some of the egg whites that I had folded in to deflate.

I also had a lot of trouble with the baking.  Some of the vanilla shells didn’t harden up so I had to bake them longer, the pumpkin shells never got a hard outer texture, and I simply forgot the chocolate shells which burned terribly and were inedible.

None of my shells obtained “feet,” as they call it.  Maybe it was the tray I baked them on.  Maybe I over-beat the egg whites.  I don’t know.  But I definitely need to try making these again, when I’m not jetlagged and rushed.

I filled the macarons with frosting flavored appropriately to the shells.  At least they tasted good, except the burnt chocolate ones.

Grade: C


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