Sunday, July 24, 2011

An amazing baking adventure

I'm sure that the title must have caught your eye, but you are going to have to read the whole thing to see where this adventure is going......

One of the hardest challenges in baking is the French macaron. These are delicate meringue dome shaped cookies that form little feet if baked correctly. Then they are sandwiched together with a delectable filling. Usually, these are expensive in the market, because they are so tricky to make.

What makes this cookie difficult is that there are so many variables that can affect it - oven temp, humidity etc.

What the hell was I thinking you might ask? Well, my goal is to get better at baking and the best way to do that is to take on the toughest challenges possible.

Fortunately for me, David Lebovitz is a great teacher - his website has the best macaron recipe. It definitely worked really well.

Here's batch #1

There are a couple of things that I have learnt though:

1. Use 2 baking sheets - that way the cookies don't get too hot too quickly and dry out without forming the foot.

2. Size matters - If the cookies are too big, then it will cause cracking and no foot.

3. Pipe the entire mix onto baking sheets. Letting the batter sit didn't seriously affect foot formation, but I think the freshest batch looks the best.

4. Sift the ground almond meal, cocoa powder, powdered sugar mixture - I didn't have the dutch processed, so I used the natural + 1/4 tsp baking soda

5. Make sure that the egg whites are really stiff!

The reason I trust David's recipe is that I did this on two completely different days and I got similar results. Clearly, this is a testament that anyone can do it.

Here's Batch #2:

I really encourage you all to try it and prove to your friends how awesome of a baker you are.

After you make the chocolate ganache filling and sandwich the cookies, angels sing:

In the mean time, I'll take the certificate of "sort-of-decent" baker.


1 comment:

  1. You did a great job!! They look really good! I've never made them before. Actually, I don't think I've even tasted one before either. Weird, isn't it. I really want to taste one before I make a batch. Guess I need to go to a bakery, eh. :)