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Daring Bakers: Macaroons

October 27, 2009

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For the October Daring Bakers challenge we made macaroons.  Not the coconuty kind, but the traditional French kind that are supposed to be light and fluffy, with chocolate or the like sandwiched between them.  I had a lot of fun with this challenge, although you could say I had a “macaroon FAIL.”  They were supposed to look something like this:

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(Photo by James Carrier)

Mine were quite different, obviously.  You’ll notice the macaroons in the above picture are light and fluffy, and they have “feet,” which are the extra-crusty parts of the cookie next to the filling.  Mine not only don’t have feet, but they are also flat and gummy.  Oops.

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There are a number of places where I could have gone wrong:

1.  I had to grind my own almond flour.  Perhaps I didn’t grind it fine enough.

2.  I didn’t make the full recipe and things got hazy when I was trying to figure out the almond flour to egg white ratio.  I had to grind the almonds with powdered sugar to avoid ending up with almond butter, so I really don’t know exactly how much almond flour I used.  Hmmmm.

3.  Maybe I over-folded the egg whites and almond flour.  Conversely, perhaps I didn’t fold enough.

4.  As long as we’re talking about egg whites, maybe my egg white peaks weren’t stiff enough.  Whatever that means.

5.  My oven temperature is unpredictable, at best.  Even with an oven thermometer and fiddling with the temperature dial, it was never quite right.

The moral of the story is that who can say what went wrong?  I have no idea. Or perhaps I have too many ideas for what could have gone wrong.

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In spite of not really turning out, these macaroons sure were tasty, and maybe when I have more time I’ll do some more experimenting and see if I can indeed bake the perfect macaroon.  When that day happens, you will most definitely hear about it!

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