After seeing all the gorgeous posts over at the Daring Bakers, I'm almost ashamed to post these. However, as misshapen as they are, they are also delicious even though I did not go as far as making my own homemade frosting. They were still delightful with Sarabeth's Strawberry Raspberry Jam.
I think after reading some of the other posts on the recipe that there's a few warning signs that I know now to observe for the future.
- The consistency of the almond meal. I'd bought mine preground at the store and thought it seemed a little grainy but figured that it would work itself out when I sifted it. I'm guessing now it did not.
- The unexpected death of my sifter about 1/4 of the way through the recipe definitely did not help.
- The suspicion that I did not beat my egg whites into hard peaks as I wasn't quite sure how far was too far after reading the warnings that it was imperative to not overbeat the eggs.
- Possibility that the eggs weren't room temperature...according to Inga Garten on the Food Network, she leaves her eggs out overnight to bring them to room temp.
Now I started out by being careful. I took my egg whites out and left them on the counter for 2 hours. I hovered over the mixer being careful to observe them going from froth to whipped. I had a small minor moment of despair when I tried to pipe directly onto the cookie pan before I gave up and piped into a small round cookie cutter but overcame that.
Still, flat tasty cookies.
So I think I would try this again, but I read a few tips over at the daring bakers that makes me think there could be light at the end of the tunnel. Among them, were:
I have made macarons many times before and I always use 3+ day old counter-dried egg whites and 1 tsp of egg white powder which really stabilises the egg whites. I always grind the almond meal with the icing sugar in a processor to obtain very fine meal and shift it THREE times this gives the smoothest shells and also I dry the piped shells for about one hour also.
These are not the quickest cookies to make although they're not terribly bad. Maybe 1 1/2 hours not including the "why are they spreading" meltdown you'll have if you follow my original lead.
Daring Bakers Macaroon Cookies
Adapted from Claudia Fleming
Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)
1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (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.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). 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.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.