Monday, February 23, 2009

The Macaron Diaries: February 23rd, 2009

Dear Diary,

The macarons were a hit. All of them. The successful, the near miss and the close to catastrophic.

I started out with chocolate, from David Liebovitz recipe. It made a fair amount of cookies, and this being my first batch ever I was excited to see the development of a foot during the baking process.

I was hoping for a bigger deeper foot, so I considered my process and what I might change. I hadn't let these sit on the counter after folding for more than 10 minutes.

The flavor, however, was sublime. Two cookies were sandwiched around a thick chocolate ganache filling. Someone mentioned that they were like light weight miniature brownies. Yeah, they were good.

The next set were the almond. I thought maybe I hadn't whipped the eggs enough in the previous batch, and unfortunately this time I whipped them too much. The batter flowed like slow moving magma. However, I think the batter was flowing more like a'a than pahoehoe and those peeks did not sink into the cookie for the smooth top I was looking for. I did let them sit for about a half an hour before baking though.

They did generate nice little feet with consistency from cookie to cookie. The peeks made it difficult for them to sit in a peaceful and orderly fashion. Ornery little suckers.

The recipe I used for the salted caramel filling came from A La Cuisine. The caramel was way too thin and runny. Next time I am going to use a recipe for salted caramel candies, hopefully a much thicker caramel that will stay put and not run down the sides. Despite the filling and structural issues, this was by far the favorite macaron. The flavor of this one was immense and intriguing. Sweet, salt, almond, burnt sugar. Nom.

Structurally the most perfect were the raspberry. This recipe I gleaned from Cake on the Brain. By this point I had learned a couple things. The first being about the folding. I needed to fold the ingredients longer so the batter ran more like a smooth liquidy lava, but not runny and thin. Cakebrain says she leaves the piped macarons on the counter before baking until the outside of the macaron is completely dry, not even sticky to the touch. I let them sit there while I caught up with back Tivo'd ER episodes. Carter is back in Chicago, wants to return to work in the ER and is on a dialysis machine for some reason. I totally wanted to offer him some macarons.

The feet on these suckers were awesome! Big and deep. If the previous cookies had feet at all, which they did, they were the feet of mere mortals whereas the raspberry cookies had Shaquille O'Neil feet. Yay!

And the extra folding I did to the raspberry batter gave me a smoother batter for piping. The looks more like the classic and hoped for Laduree macarons. The flavor in these was a little uninspiring. I probably won't make this flavor again, but I am just thrilled with the architecture.

Ultimately, what thrilled me the most is that all my guests wanted doggy bags to take macarons with them. L from Rosso Wine Shop ate several...she ate several. And wanted some to go. There was even discussion of some of my macarons making an appearance at a dessert wine tasting. An idea I am incredibly enthusiastic about. She was especially enamored of the caramel fleur de sel macarons despite the runniness of the caramel. I will have to perfect this filling...J & J took a doggy bag with them for J's brother's birthday. I swear, there were tears in my eyes.

There are potential plans to make these again for an upcoming birthday. I am going to have to spend some time researching recipes for salted caramel and thinking about the correct whipping to folding ratios to make the cookies flat and smooth a la Laduree.


Loving Annie said...

They are gorgeous - I want to try them all !

sygyzy said...

Congrats, I've made them about 3 times and they are such an undertaking (IMO). I alawys make mine about 2.5 inches across which is to say, way too big :( I am not a fan of the tiny quarter sized ones either. Definitely let them sit out to dry before you pop them in the oven.

Food, she thought. said...

annie: i will save you one of each!

sygyzy: i am going to make another batch this weekend...I plan to make them much bigger, as you say, so each one seems like a serving. Luckily I over-made the chocolate ganache!

tgirl said...

It's all about Macaroons. I made a really old fashioned recipe for an Oscar party on Sunday and they were scarfed down. Yummy!!

Kristine G. said...

Too pretty to eat! I love how your so ambitious. THREE flavors. Wow. I would've just started with one. :)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE macarons and I'm totally obsessed with them. You've got a great blog - great writing and photos. And of course, I appreciate your macaron diaries!!

Anonymous said...

Hi I saw it on a french instruction video the chef lightly tap the bottom of the cookie sheet after squeezing the batter. I had no idea what he was saying but I assume he is explaining that it would get rid of the the little horn.