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.
French Macarons

This was definitely a challenge! First of all it was challenging trying to find time to complete the challenge, what with being sick twice and being on vacation for a week. October was a hard month. Plus, they picked a recipe that’s tricky and somewhat difficult to master. I finally had a window of opportunity to make the macarons at the end of last month, but it didn’t turn out like I’d hoped. You may have seen this tweet:

They were a complete disaster, nothing at all what they were supposed to look like. I was discouraged, but didn’t want to just give up. So I started looking at what other Daring Bakers had done to achieve their results and I realized that I had been very sloppy. I hadn’t read the recipe and instructions very clearly, and I should have been thorough enough to do a little research on my own. French macarons are tricky enough even when you know what you’re doing. So I tried again, this time confident that I knew what I was doing. And you know what? It worked! They turned out beautifully.

French Macarons

Before I go any further, I should probably give you all some information on the french macaron since before this challenge I didn’t even know what they were. Usually when you think of a macaron (or macaroon), you think of a cookie made of chocolate and coconut. But the french macaron is a cookie made of meringue and almond flour and then sandwiched with a filling. A proper french macaron has a smooth texture on top and a little “foot” around the bottom. And the flavor options are endless. They are all the rage in food blogging and have been popping up in shops across America.

I chose to make a vanilla bean macaron and filled them with either chocolate ganache or vanilla buttercream. I think they are absolutely adorable and there’s the added bonus that they taste great too. They almost melt in your mouth; little bites of heaven. I took the extras in to work where they were devoured in a manner of minutes.

French Macarons

The recipe and challenge details can be be found here. However, after the failure of my first attempt I use this detailed recipe and found the tips to be extremely helpful. If you would like to try these yourself, I would recommend reading both recipes.

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