Daring Bakers: Macarons

You win some, and you lose some. I lost this one.

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.

I was really hoping I'd be able to master this challenge. I'm absolutely fascincated by macarons (which are made with almond flour and are not to be confused with macaroons, which are those coconut cookies). They come in so many different colors and flavors. I figured the possibilites were endless, and I'd be able to make something really spectacular for this challenge.

Then I learned that the color and flavor has to be added in powder form because the macarons cannot contain too much moisture. I did a little research and kept up with the Daring Bakers' forum discussion to try to figure out how I could add color and flavor to my macarons.

It seems that I shouldn't even have bothered, considering that I couldn't get the plain almond-flavored macarons to come out right. In addition to trying to make the plain macarons, the other flavors I attempted were pistachio with a pistachio white chocolate ganache, pumpkin spice latte (which should have had a cinnamon whipped cream filling), and cinnamon mocha (meant to have a chocolate ganache filling). I didn't even make the fillings for the last two flavors because the cookies came out looking like flat wafers.

The plain macarons tasted great, and I filled them with chocolate ganache, but they never grew feet. And macarons are supposed to have feet. Compare my pictures to those of the Daring Bakers who had success with this challenge, and you'll immediately see what I'm talking about. (Oh, and in case you're wondering, I did make mini macarons, just like I make mini everything else. These were a little smaller than a penny.)

The pistachio ones, which I flavored with pistachio pudding powder were pretty tasty as well but a bit on the soft side.

While this challenge didn't go so well, I plan to try out some other macaron recipes in the future to see if I can find a recipe and system that works for me.

I made Francois Payard's chocolate macarons a while ago and loved them, but this was before I knew that macarons were supposed to have feet. Now I realize those didn't come out right either.

So how about you... have you made macarons? Were you successful?

If you want to see my most successful Daring Bakers' Challenge, check out last month's!