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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October Daring Bakers' Challenge - Macarons

Choc-mint macaron

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.

Oh yes. Macarons. Seemingly the holy grail of the biscuit world. I've been wanting to try my hand at making them for some time now but had never quite got around to it. Fear? Possibly. I wasn't about to let a biscuit scare me off though, no matter how pretty and elegant it was.

Although it's not so apparent here in Perth, macarons have become the cupcake of the biscuit world - they are everywhere right now. Perhaps not literally everywhere, though that would be pretty awesome. Would prevent many trip and fall injuries too, with all that soft meringueness.

(Speaking of "literally", I enjoyed the new Jamie Oliver show last night, but when will someone teach him the meaning of the word? I don't mind so much if he's saying "now you just literally add some salt" as this is just being a little redundant, but when he says something like "in New York you can literally have the world on your plate" then I start to get irritated.)

Now, the recipe given for this month's challenge apparently caused many issues for many Daring Bakers. I was not willing to undergo such issues so I cheated and used Trissa's tried and true recipe. Seriously, if you want to make macarons, this is the way to go.

Kahlua macarons

Trissa's Conor-proof Macaron Recipe
Taken from Trissalicious

250 g almond meal
300 g icing sugar (not icing mixture)
200 g caster sugar
200 g egg whites (roughly 6 eggs)

1. In a food processor grind the almond meal and icing sugar for around 5 minutes until very finely ground.
2. Place the egg whites in an electric mixer and whip the whites until soft peaks.
3. Add the sugar, 50 grams at a time while the egg whites are being beaten.
4. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks.
5. Fold the ground almond meal mixture into the egg white mixture in three additions until fully amalgamated.
6. Pipe on to baking trays which have been lined with baking paper. Note: If you are using food colouring, add it now.
7. Let the macarons dry for around 30 minutes until the “shells” are dry.

Hmmm, perhaps you should pipe the green mix last, or at least clean..

8. Bake in a pre heated fan forced oven (150c) for 15 minutes, waiting very impatiently to see if your macarons will develop pretty "feet" or if they'll be the ugly stepsisters!

They have feet! They have feet!!!

Seeing these babies with their pretty little feet was reminiscent of the joy of having my puff pastry actually rise in last month's challenge. I have a couple of friends who have recently given birth (congratulations J&G and K&A!!!), and I think that this is my equivalent. Plus I get to eat these afterwards.

After making the actual macarons, it's time to get ganaching. Here's the basic recipe:


400 g chocolate
200 mL cream

1. Chop up the chocolate into very small pieces and place in a bowl.
2. Scald the cream then pour into the bowl with the chocolate.
3. Let it sit for a minute or so then mix it up well until a creamy consistency. If you still have chunks of chocolate, melt it over a double boiler or just zap it in the microwave very briefly until it is all melted.
4. Let the ganache set before using. You can speed this up in the fridge.

I did three different types of ganache. In one dark chocolate mix I added Kahlua (using a bit less cream to account for the extra liquid), in another dark chocolate mix I added mint flavouring, and the third was a plain white chocolate ganache.

Two Kahlua macarons, a choc-mint one and a little white choc one up the back

Thanks to Ami S for hosting this month's challenge, and a big big thanks to Trissa for being the Macaron Queen! Her macaron brilliance is so bright I think I need to wear some of Rilsta's patented macaron sunglasses :D


Evelyne@Cheap Ethnic Eatz October 27, 2009 at 10:27 PM  

Oh they turned out awesome...so jealous...ok will try this fail proof recipe and report!

George@CulinaryTravels October 27, 2009 at 11:06 PM  

Beautiful macarons. Gorgeous flavour combinations too.

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 27, 2009 at 11:31 PM  

They are simply gorgeous. Literally. ;-) Nice work. I would like to bake macarons with you someday!

Stephcookie October 28, 2009 at 6:01 AM  

They turned out perfect! I agree, Trissa is the macaron queen! I love choc mint, I totally want to try doing that flavour sometime :)

Carly October 28, 2009 at 6:34 AM  

They look great! I will have to try Trissa's recipe sometime.

How do you add the colouring when piping? After the warnings about only 3 drops of colouring in the daring bakers recipe I was too scared to add colouring.

Panamahat October 28, 2009 at 6:38 AM  

Wow! I don't suppose they post well, do they? *sighs wistfully*

Rubber Ninja October 28, 2009 at 7:39 AM  

Yuuuummmm! Choc-mint!They look so perfect too :)

Going to have to try Trissa's receipe next. Ms Fleming's was a fail fail fail *sigh*

Iron Chef Shellie October 28, 2009 at 8:06 AM  

Oh babe! Well done!!!
Macarons are such a biatch to make too. Choc mint... this makes me want to get on the first plane to Perth to come over and try them!

I shall be trying these myself one day =)

Lauren October 28, 2009 at 8:24 AM  

Wow - those are gorgeous! They look so professional! Love all of the flavours =D.

Conor @ HoldtheBeef October 28, 2009 at 8:32 AM  

Evelyne - thank you! Please do, I wish you feet-making success!

George@CulinaryTravels - thanks very much :)

Mardi - hehe, thanks :) Perhaps after we rendezvous at the farmers market we can have a baking session. You can also teach me how to look like a Lao master! :D

Stephcookie - thank you! Such a good combo, it's hard to go past chocmint when I'm trying to choose a gelato flavour (ooh except bacio is always tempting too!)

Carly - thank you! I was scared too, but I just added enough of the thick gel colouring to get that colour, and it turned out fine. In fact, they turned out better than the non-coloured ones!

Panamahat - I don't suppose that they would, my dear :( Will keep trying to invent a magical teleporter.

Rubber Ninja - thanks! :D Yep, can totally recommend this recipe, I'm glad I was naughty and didn't attempt the other.

Iron Chef Shellie - thank you!!! :D I was so scared about it, still can't believe they actually worked. Will probably be the only time they do, haha. I'll get the sofabed ready for you ;)

Lauren - thanks very much!!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella October 28, 2009 at 9:39 AM  

Haha Conor proof recipe! You did a great job, they look fantastic! :D

Rilsta October 28, 2009 at 11:40 AM  

What a fabulous job you have done!! hehe, thanks for the macaron sunglasses mention. I'm feeling slightly embarrassed now with all the fabulous DBC macarons out there... I guess it should signal me giving them another go with this recipe! :)

I love your alien green/kermit green choc mint one! They look uniformly round too!

Trissa October 28, 2009 at 1:53 PM  

Awww Conor! You're too kind. But I agree it is a good recipe. You did a great job on the macs. I think my favorite is the chocolate mint but probably because I don't drink. I suspect many would prefer the kahlua!!

Julia @ Mélanger October 28, 2009 at 2:03 PM  

Well done. Just lovely flavour combinations!

Anonymous October 28, 2009 at 6:14 PM  

They turned out perfect, great feet! I think I will be trying the recipe you used on my next attempt!

kitchenero October 28, 2009 at 10:52 PM  

Fantastic idea for halloween! Just paint two bloody vampire bites on top of those UFOs and we're on the Twilight train!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef October 28, 2009 at 11:07 PM  

Lorraine - just as well it was! ;) Thank you!

Rilsta - thanks!! I love those sunglasses :D I think the uniform roundness may have been helped by using a cookie press to pipe my mix instead of a normal piping bag..? Maybe it's an 'Alien Kermit' green. I mean, he is a talking frog after all so it's entirely possible he's an alien.

Trissa - ahh my pleasure! Thank you! How many macarons do you have to make before you're entitled to refer to them as "macs"? I'm not sure I'm on nickname basis with them yet ;)

Julie - thank you very much!

madeinthepresenceofnut - thanks! It's all about the feet, baby. Please do, if it worked for me it must be good :)

kitchenero - hmmmm I like your idea but the Twilight train mysteriously magicked them all away already (not sure where they've gone, but in unrelated news my jeans seem to have shrunk)

Tasty Eats At Home October 29, 2009 at 5:02 AM  

Wow, your macarons look AMAZING! So puffy and GREEN! And they have feet! I need to get off my scared-y duff and make these.

Pam October 29, 2009 at 9:51 AM  

Nicely done. My daughter loves mint/chocolate together, she would be so happy if I made these for her.

Betty @ The Hungry Girl October 29, 2009 at 2:16 PM  

These look so perfect! Congrats!! Haha and yes you can eat your babies! ;)

Chef Shari October 29, 2009 at 7:03 PM  

I love the choco mint combo, wouldn't these be great for St Patrick's Day! Now that I have gotten past my pastry demons, should I move unto macarons?

boroca October 30, 2009 at 7:55 AM  

They were absolutely fabulous! Thankyou for sharing with us :)

Annette @ Wellness WA October 30, 2009 at 2:55 PM  

This is actually amazing!

Agnes October 30, 2009 at 6:19 PM  

Well done, it's amazing that you did so well for your first time. I still haven't plucked up the courage to try making macarons yet, I suspect I will fail badly. :)

Dharm October 31, 2009 at 7:28 AM  

Your macs look brilliant! Love the green colouring too! Superb effort...

Karine October 31, 2009 at 9:13 AM  

You did an amazing work with your macarons! :)

Conor @ HoldtheBeef October 31, 2009 at 2:54 PM  

Tasty Eats At Home - Thanks! Yes you should! Take Halloween as the impetus to fight your fear! :D

Pam - thank you! Your daughter is a clever girl, it is such a good classic combination!

Betty - aw thanks! Yep, call me the baby muncher, nom nom.

Chef Shari - I didn't even think of St Pat's implications, good thinking 99! You totally should, and after macarons you could go for the hat-trick and make a croquembouche!

boroca - thank you! My pleasure! Thanks for the picnic :)

Annette - cheers :D

Agnes - Thanks :) Noooo I foresee you will have amazing delicious success and be the toast of your family and friends!

Dharm - Thank you! Green, green the winning team (as we used to say in primary school) :)

Karine - thanks so much!

Audax October 31, 2009 at 3:06 PM  

Stunning looking macarons especially the green ones. Lovely work and beautiful photos. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge November 2, 2009 at 7:37 AM  

Conor proof recipe indeed! They look like perfection!

Can you clarify, all step sisters have ugly feet? wow, Cinderella has a whole new meaning to me now!


Belle@Ooh, Look November 2, 2009 at 9:03 AM  

Trissa's wonderful, isn't she, and you've done her proud with your macaron effort. They look fantastic, and I'm drooling at the Kahlua one.

Conor @ HoldtheBeef November 3, 2009 at 4:50 PM  

Audax - thanks so much!

Maria - Aw thanks! Yes, it's good to get my hands on Conor-proof recipes occasionally, it takes the pressure off a little! And umm.... perhaps not ALL step sisters....just ones that don't read my blog ;)

Belle - she sure is! Thanks so much, that's very sweet of you :D

Chef Fresco November 3, 2009 at 9:18 PM  

Oh wow, I am impressed! So many delicious varities! Looks like they came out perfectly.

Conor @ HoldtheBeef November 4, 2009 at 12:37 PM  

Thanks Chef Fresco! I hope I haven't done my dash for macaron success :)

3 hungry tummies November 11, 2009 at 4:00 PM  

Perfectly formed little devils! good work!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef November 13, 2009 at 8:39 AM  

3 hungry tummies - aw thanks! Little devils indeed :)

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