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Tuesday
Oct272009

Daring Bakers - French Macarons - Lemon with White Chocolate Filling and Chocolate with Nutella Filling

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.

Being part of a group like The Daring Bakers certainly makes you stretch. The monthly challenges make you bake things you never would have otherwise.  That's certainly true of this month's challenge.  Although French macarons are wildly popular right now and are so pretty, I probably never would have put them on my "to do" list.  Beside, they are famous for being difficult to master and unpredictable.  And they sure did not disappoint.   

Macarons are little almond cookies that are made with egg whites and have a filling that you sandwich between two of the cookies.  If you want to see what the perfect macaron looks like, the famous Beverly Hills bake shop, Paulette's Macarons, is the place to go.  They make perfect macarons in a rainbow of colors, incredible flavors and snazzy packaging.  And they ship.  

In this challenge, we had the choice of any flavors and fillings we wanted to use, so I chose to do a lemon macaron filled with a white chocolate lemon filling and a chocolate macaron filled with Nutella.  

When doing the research for making the macarons, it became apparent that there was disagreement as to the best method.  Do you age the egg whites overnight or just bring them to room temperature?  Do you let the batter sit after you mix it up or after the cookies are piped?  Do you bake them at one temperature or bake them at a high temperature for a few minutes and then lower the temperature? Do you use powdered food coloring or is liquid food coloring okay?

Yeah.

I read macaron posts from all the usual suspects for baking expertise - David Leibovitz, Helen of Tartelette, and Aran of Canelle et Vanille.   I made my decisions and jumped right in.  One of the defining features of a perfect macaron is the little "feet" on the cookie.  If you make them right, they rise up and create the distinctive "foot" but this is no easy accomplishment.  My lemon cookies ended up with some feet but my chocolate ones. . . well, they had no feet.

I did age the egg whites.  I separated the eggs the night before and left the whites out all night at room temperature.  This dries the whites out a little bit and helps the texture of the cookies.  I also used powdered food coloring instead of the liquid because extra moisture in the batter can prevent the cookies from baking correctly and because Helen said so.  I ordered the powdered food coloring from Country Kitchen SweetArt, a great online place to shop for baking and confectionary supplies.  (The powdered food coloring is not an item I was able to find locally.)  I even bought some of these cute little pearlized sugar pearls.  They have them in so many colors - they're really fun.

Another tip I discovered when making these macrons is how to lift them from the parchment.  They stick a little and I read about some other tips on how to get them off, like sprinkling a little water on the parchment. But really, using my large Santoku knife did the trick.  It was much better than a spatula.  Just wipe your knife off after every few cookies. 

And my final tip - what to do with all those egg yolks you have leftover? Refrigerate them and make a nice vanilla ice cream or homemade pasta the next day.

 

Macarons

for a printer friendly recipe, click here

Lemon Macarons

Ingredients:

  • 2.25 cups  (8 ounces) confectioner's sugar
  • 2 cups (6.7 ounces) Almond Flour*
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 egg whites (have them at room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon very finely grated lemon zest 

for the white chocolate lemon filling:

  • 8 ounces white chocolate, melted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

for the chocolate macrons:

  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • nutella 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Combine the confectioner's sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl.  

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. **

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.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (e.g., 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.

Pipe one-inch-sized mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners or parchment paper.  Let them sit for about 20 minutes before baking.

Bake the macarons for 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375 degrees. 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.   (I did 6 minutes, but I think my oven is a little hot).   Cool on a rack before filling.

Yield:  10 dozen.  (Note: My yield was less than this.)

*Almond Flour is not generally a hard to find item.  If your grocery store carries Bob's Red Mill organic products, you can usually find it there.  Also, most health food stores carry this product.  

**Stiff peaks is when you remove the beater and the egg white peak stands straight up.

 

for the White Chocolate Lemon Filling:

Mix together until smooth and then let set until thickened up.  When macarons are cooled, sandwich about a teaspoon between two cookies. 

for the Chocolate Macarons with Nutella Filling

Follow directions for Lemon Macarons, but leave out lemon zest and substitute about 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder.

When cool, place a layer of Nutella between two cookies.

 

 

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Reader Comments (15)

Very gorgeous and certainly would stretch me. Now can I confess that I am the only food blogger in the world that doesn't swoon over macarons. However, don't you feel proud mastering these?

October 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAngela@Spinachtiger

Love the colors! I've never made macarons, but always loved to read about them from everyone's blogs, including your usual suspects :) Nice choice of flavors and fillings!

October 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

WOW these look amazing! Much better than my lumpy macs :) I love nutella too - makes me want to go eat some right this second!

October 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGaby

Your macarons are very pretty! Very well done!

Cheers,

Rosa

October 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRosa

Great combination
I love this flavors and your macarons looks amazing !!

October 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpontch

You are brave to have tried these. They would be a stretch for me too, although one day I have got to try them. They look so beautiful and I'll bet they taste great too.

October 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterciaochowlinda

What lovely colors! What an excellent job!

October 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarter @ The Kitchenette

Great lemon flavour for your macarons. I struggled a little with a new recipes - will go back to my original version next time!

October 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulia @ Mélanger

Your macarons turned out beautifully! The lemon ones are so pretty! Well done!

Great minds must think alike, because I made chocolate macarons filled with Nutella and lemon ones as well.

October 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusan @ SGCC

Absolutely fabulous photos! Macaroons are just way out of my league. They look so good I'd love to have one right now, a chocolate one please.

October 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterredkathy

Love how you were thorough with your research and it paid off. Fantastic!

October 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAran

I love the bright yellow color of the lemon macarons! The combination of lemon and white chocolate sounds so refreshing--good job! :)

October 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJill

Great job! Your macarons look absolutely lovely! And fantastic flavor choices, too!

October 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenni

Your macarons are very pretty! Very well done!I love the bright yellow color of the lemon macarons! The combination of lemon and white chocolate sounds so refreshing--good job!

October 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commentervitamin c

Bonjour
I browsed your site by mistake when i was looking for techniques to create exercise category for
my visitors who are learning french online...thanks for that post, i added your site to my favorites and will definetly check it out later
Regards

October 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

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