Macarons – 5th time’s a charm (October Daring Bakers)

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


This was my first time making macarons, and it involved a steep learning curve. My first batch of macarons looked like this:

By the end of the day, I think I had them figured out.
It only took 5 batches.
Batch 1: a big runny mess (see above). The cookies didn’t hold their shape from the get-go. I think it was a combination of things – not letting the egg whites get stiff enough, not using aged egg whites (especially in Florida’s humid climate), and overmixing the batter.Batch 2: Instead of aging the whites, I nuked them in the microwave for 10 seconds, then another 8 seconds, as recommended by Helen of Tartlette. Unfortunately, the whites never got past the soft peak stage. I think there was some residual oil from the previous batter.

Batch 3.0: I overcooked the egg whites in the microwave by 2 seconds, and scrapped them before they even saw the inside of the mixer.

Batch 3.1: I got distracted by the squirt, who was in a fussy mood, and by the time I returned my attention back to the egg whites, they were most definitely at the stiff peak stage. Probably over-stiff. Here’s what cookies from an overmixed batter look like.

Batch 4: The eggs were at the perfect stiff-peak stage, the batter piped like a dream, and they maintained their shape after the drying period. Unfortunately, I turned the oven to “broil” instead of “bake,” and ended up with flat, underdone cookies. But hey, at least they had feet!

Batch 5: By this time it was 9 p.m., and I seriously debated whether or not to make another attempt. The squirt settled down after being fed, so I decided to go for it. This time, I double checked everything. I held my breath when I opened the oven….and success! There were these perfectly shaped, slightly poofy cookies with the little crusty bottom.

5th time is a charm!

The next day, I whipped up a vanilla cinnamon white ganache, and assembled the macarons. I have an almost full bag of almond meal, so some macaron experimentation may be in my future.

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.


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 macaron 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.

Vanilla Cinnamon White Chocolate Ganache

4 oz white chocolate
1/4 c heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Place white chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl. Heat heavy cream in a saucepan until scalding. Pour cream over the chocolate, and let the chocolate melt. Add vanilla and cinnamon, and stir to mix. Let cool until the ganache is a spreadable consistency.

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Sweet Comments:

  1. Five? I needed nine.
    But yours look way better.

  2. Five attempts! That’s a spirit! They look fabulous!

  3. How exciting!!! They look great!!

  4. LOL! Well for the fifth time they look pretty dang fabulous!

  5. I love that you included photos of the bad batches. These DB challenges are stinkin’ hard!!! I actually skipped this one b/c I was in the process of moving and had no kitchen to call my own. Will jump back in next month. Looks like I missed a real doozy though.

  6. I failed at least 10 times before I got it right. Well done:)

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