Daring Bakers - All french kisses!
Lately I've been craving Paris. The symptoms are the usual: I miss walking the Seine and Boulevard Saint Michel, entering the bookshops and buying cookbooks eventually. I badly miss my favourite bistrots and the street vendors. I even miss the parisians! I daydream of crispy croissants, pain au raisins et café au lait, hot chocolate and... macarons. The perfect way to get me to Paris without leaving home is to bring Paris to me, all packed and arranged in a colourful and full flavoured macaron!
Macarons were on my list for quite a while. For some reason, I felt a bit scared every time I'd come across Helen's recipes - bookmarked since always from Tartelette - so I never got to try them. 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. What a wonderful choice! Because I feared disaster (and after reading other fellow Daring Bakers experiences), I've decided to go with Helen's recipe with a few adjustments of my own as I wanted to use hazelnuts and toffee filling.
Hazelnut Macaron with Toffee filling
Lightly adapted from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern and Helen's Pecan Pie Macarons
180 grs confectioners’ (icing) sugar
60 grs almond flour
55 grs hazelnut flour
35 grs granulated sugar
3 egg whites (about 90 grs), at room temperature
It's important to use aged egg whites. The day before making the macarons, separate the eggs. Leave the whites on the counter (if planning to use only in 48h or longer, keep in the fridge).
Combine the confectioners’ sugar, hazelnut and almond flour in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are reduced to fine powder. Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Add a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. Mix in the remaining almond flour. Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients. [Helen's advice: Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down.The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.]
Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip or use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. Pipe small rounds of batter (2.5 cm) onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
Preheat the oven to 150ºC (300ºF). Let the piped shells rest half an hour to an hour before baking. Bake the macaroon for 15-20 minutes (depending on size). Remove the pan from the oven and let cool slightly before gently remove the shelld. Cool completely on a rack before filling.
For the filling:
50g salted butter
125 grs light brown sugar
125 grs golden syrup
125 ml double cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a saucepan, mix all the ingredients. Boil until thickened (5 minutes), stirring occasionally. Let cool before filling the macarons.
Notes: I aged my egg whites for 3 days in the fridge. I should have sifted my hazelnut and almond flour. Unfortunately I haven't and that made the batter look a bit uneven but it didn't really matter in the final result. I let the piped shells rest half an hour to an hour before baking. I think that made all the difference as the second (and final) batch worked even better than the first. I used both a silicon mat and lined baking sheet with parchment paper with good results - nothing to report, the shells lifted easily with the aid of a spatula.
Visit the Daring Bakers blogroll to see all the macarons we baked!