Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Playing with my Food: DBs do Macarons

Playing with my Food: Matcha Macarons for the Daring Bakers
When our hostess this month chose macarons, I had to laugh, seeing as just a few weeks ago I was making macs for Jamie's mac-a-thon. I pretty much hadn't made macarons since I became obsessed with figuring them out a couple of years ago and now here I was making them over and over again. Back when I was trying them out, I'd made a number of traditional flavors, but hadn't gotten around to making matcha-flavored macs.
Matcha has been of interest to me ever since I participated in a traditional tea ceremony on one of the several occasions I visited Japan. I don't remember all the details of it, the only part that stuck with me being how you have to turn the bowl twice clockwise with your right hand as it sits on the palm of your left hand several times throughout. It's a beautiful ceremony and an activity that merits the detour if you ever have the opportunity to see it being done or participate in it.

It didn't occur to me to use matcha as an ingredient until I tasted green tea ice cream and became fixated on green tea mochi many years after the above-mentioned ceremony. Then at Sadaharu Aoki's shop in Paris I had one of his green tea-chestnut pastries, on one of the rare occasions when I wasn't having his yuzu tart (be still my beating heart), and fell in love with the combination. Of course the sugar-daddy of them all, Pierre Hermé, also makes a green tea-chestnut macaron, but as I've never seen it in his shop I haven't tried his (keep reading).
Playing with my matcha macarons
So when came time to pick a flavor for this challenge, I decided to make matcha macarons with sweet chestnut paste filling. It's a perfect fall combination in terms of both the flavors and colors and is a perfect companion to a chilly afternoon cup of tea or coffee. Making the matcha version was uneventful, but this is the part where I'll admit that I then tried to make Pierre Hermé's chestnut macarons (to pair with a matcha buttercream) which basically consist of making an Italian meringue and adding sweetened chestnut paste to the almond/meringue batter, and the result was not macarons but sweet meringue cookies, quite puffy but without any feet whatsoever. It's quite possible that, having followed his recipe faithfully, I'm now intrigued enough to try and make chestnut macarons shells again, but I might not use sweetened chestnut puree, I might just dry and process chestnuts into a powder and add that to the shell batter instead. There's no telling what I might do really, I can be stubborn like that.

Anyway, I should have added more matcha powder to the batter but I only used one teaspoon (I couldn't remember the recommended amount) and didn't add any food coloring, resulting in very light green shells. Once the shells were ready, I decided to play with my food, and therein you see the result. It was fun actually, I have at least three ideas I couldn't execute for this post for lack of time but I think it might almost be more fun to make macaron shells just so I can play with them rather than eat them, I'm just saying...
Matcha-Chestnut Macarons
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.



Macarons 
from Claudia Fleming's The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern

Preparation time: Not taking into account the amount of time it takes for you to bring your egg whites to room temperature, the whole baking process, including making the batter, piping and baking will probably take you about an hour to an hour and a half. How long it takes to make your filling is dependent on what you choose to make.

Actual baking time: 12 minutes total, plus a few minutes to get your oven from 200°F to 375°F.
Equipment required:
• Electric mixer, preferably a stand mixer with a whisk attachment
• Rubber spatula
• Baking sheets
• Parchment paper or nonstick liners
• Pastry bag (can be disposable)
• Plain half-inch pastry bag tip
• Sifter or sieve
• If you don’t have a pastry bag and/or tips, you can use a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off
• Oven
• Cooling rack
• Thin-bladed spatula for removing the macaroons from the baking sheets
• Food processor or nut grinder, if grinding your own nuts (ouch!)
Ingredients
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)
Directions:
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.
Yield: 10 dozen. Ami's note: My yield was much smaller than this. I produced about two dozen filled macaroons.

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93 comments:

MeetaK said...

work of art my friend! i am thinking of matcha flavored macarons for my next batch too. but these are blowing me away! lovely!

bridget {bake at 350} said...

Gorgeous!

Colloquial Cook said...

Amazing, as per usual :-)Note that I don't expect anything less now. No pressure, of course.
Pour PH, il dit d'utiliser de la crème de marron de la pâte de marron ou de la purée de marron? J'ai vu qu'il utilise les trois (ben oui, lui, c'est dieu, il utilise des ingrédients différents de simples mortels). On peut en acheter par boîte d'un kilo minimum en ligne (et en plus, j'ai poussé le vice jusqu'à chercher! pfff).

The Cooking Ninja said...

Love your macs! Love those trees on it. :) Can imagine the taste of it.

tonic said...

Stunning! Those are beautiful and look very tasty!

Wic said...

you and your pictures take my breath away. what a divine way to make and show Macaroons.

Tartelette said...

I *love* the macaron bracelet! You should totally patent the idea :)
Great job Hilda!

Olga said...

Speechless! These are so perfect and gorgeous and I really like the tree design (and the bracelet idea). Simply wow!

bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets) said...

Stunning! The bracelet is a gorgeous idea; so are all the other styling shots. I'm really getting excited bout participating in the next one. Yikes. So nervous!

Divina Pe said...

Fabulous and speechless. Perfect macaroons with fantastic photos.

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction said...

Absolutely gorgeous! I didn't have any luck with my macs, but reading everyone's posts is making me want to give them a third try... Your pictures are beautiful!

George@CulinaryTravels said...

I am speechless. Those macarons are a true work of art. Absolutely stunning photography.

You have a beautiful blog.

sunita said...

Hilday, your macs look absolutely stunning!

breadandjam said...

This is unlike anything I have ever seen! Almost too pretty to eat. Sweet chestnut filling sounds delcious.

Barbara Bakes said...

What an impressive stack of perfectly shaped macs! Well done!

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

JUST SCREAMING AWESOME...WOW!! You've had a mac party & you've really strutted your stuff Hilda! They are brilliant & so are your pictures. FAB!!

minisuperbias said...

Oh. my. gosh. So beautiful. I wouldn't be able to eat the ones you painted, they're too pretty. Fantastic job!

Fuji Mama said...

Your macs are always PERFECT!!! And your pictures have me in awe!

Jamie said...

You are so amazingly talented! And these macs are perfect! And I love the flavors and must try with the chestnut cream. Beautiful, Hilda, just beautiful. I'll bet they were delicious!

Audax said...

Breath taking wonderous marvellous beautiful. You are one very talented macaron maker. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

Mowie said...

Gorgeous! Absolutely gorgeous. Such great styling, lovely flavour combinations and I so love that red!

Aran said...

such a clever, clever post hilda. i used the exact same chestnut cream for mine and also saved the can for storage. so pretty!

Wolf said...

How fun! Love the painting on them!

Bron said...

Beautiful Hilda, you're a true artist in every sense of the word, really lovely!

Murasaki Shikibu said...

They look just perfect!

Jo said...

Absolutely gorgeous and every single piece looks so perfect too.

Kamran Siddiqi said...

What gorgeous macarons! And I love that you painted on them! I have to borrow that idea from you the next time I make macarons. Lovely, lovely, lovely photos, by the way! :)

maybelle's mom said...

I saw yours this morning as I was running to work and have been thinking about them ever since. They are stunning.

veron said...

I love how you painted your macarons. They are gorgeous! And I love the flavor of matcha and chestnuts.

anna said...

These are so cute! <3

sweetakery said...

Stunning! Those are beautiful work of art and love the flavor!

Suzana said...

Hilda, these are beautiful macarons! I love the combination of flavours, and just remembered I got a can of chestnut paste from Paris I haven't used yet... Will have to use it now. ;) Thanks for the inspiration!

ABowlOfMush said...

These look absolutely perfect!
Chestnuts and matcha...a genius flavor combination. Yum.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

like watercolors on a mac shell! love the flavor combo...i have a can of that chesnut paste at home...i should give it a go!

The Purple Foodie said...

You win for the prettiest macarons this month! So creative!

Jill said...

Very cool pictures--beautiful macarons! :)

hello-emma said...

WOW! They look amazing! I've tried to make macarons, eh well they turned out ok I guess. Tasted much much better than they looked like. But as I've red on other blogs, making macarons is hard... Practise makes perfect!

Chez Us said...

Hilda, these are beautiful. I love the light pale green color instead of the traditional dark matcha green color. I am so happy to see the recipe worked for you. Maybe I will try it again.

We have been talking about going to Japan - if we decide to I will pick your brain about places to go and see. Would love to participate in a tea ceremony.

Chez Us said...

ps.... my favorite part of your macarons, which I forget to type, the picture of the tea .. how did you do that???

Hilda said...

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments!

Colloquial Cook: J'sais pas, je lisais une traduction en Anglais et ça disait chestnut paste which I interpreted as Faugier but probably wasn't in retrospect. Of course, si Papa Pierre y touche, ça devient du pastry gold, n'est-ce pas? ;)

Maybelle's Mom: Your comment made me blush, thank you.

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction & hello-emma: You just have to find a recipe that works for you, your oven and your environment and then you're set.

Chez Us: I haven't been in a while but such a fascinating place, you must go!
The trees - matcha, cocoa and chestnut paste for extra stickiness.

marion said...

Hilda ces macarons sont de vraies Rolls Royces !!!!!
Sublimes !!!!!

MandyM said...

Beautiful macarons! They're absolutely perfect and painting them looks like a lot of fun :D Beautiful baking, beautiful photos :)

Hannah said...

You sure went all out for this one- Your macarons are pure works of art!

rena said...

Oh my, how beautiful!

Lauren said...

So so so very creative! They're gorgeous & the photos are stunning =D.

lisa @ dandysugar said...

Stunning creations! These are wonderful. I love your paintings, how fun! Very pretty and very original!

fairy_mi said...

Just had to say your presentation is amazing!
The tree painting on the cookie is magnificent, it looks beautiful
and the decorative cookie on the hand made me laugh :)
wtg for an amazing job, it looks great!

Inbal
(also a DB)

Dallas Shaw said...

love the paintings on the macaroons
dallas
http://dillydallas.blogspot.com

Beth said...

Love the photo of your painted macs. Very pretty and different.

Lisa said...

Oh wow..yours are some of the most gorgeous macarons I have seen. The painted mac is stunning! You are an artiste!

dollydoesdesserts said...

WOWS! VERY VERY BEAUTIFUL PAINTED MACARONS THERE :D

Marcellina said...

Great painted mac's! Your macarons are perfection!

Dharm said...

Brilliant! Let me say that again - BRILLIANT! The artwork on the macarons are just fantastic too... and the photos... WOW. WOW. WOW!!!

Nico said...

Very nice macarons, liked the combination

Cynthia said...

What beautiful photography. I was perusing all of the daring bakers macarons on Tastespotting and yours stopped me in my tracks. Wonderful job.

Jenny Tan said...

Beautiful macs...I did macha too, but didn't turn out as well. What a fun way to play with your food. If my 9 year old see this, she'd wanna do the same too! :P

Lara said...

I found you through the DK (I am a newbie) and I am really stunned by the amazing photos!! Yours macs look awesome, I love the painted ones, very creative!!

Namratha said...

Stunning macaroons and amazing photos. Loved the art work...well done!

Linda@eatshowandtell said...

This is fantastic!! A beautiful masterpiece. Did you use the recipe provided for your macaron? becasue your macaron came out perfect.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Your macarons are so pretty and really perfect! I love your choice of flavors! Wonderful!

Cheers,

Rosa

Hilda said...

Again thank you all.

Linda- I did use Claudia Fleming's recipe and processed and sifted the powder a lot which is why they're smooth. With macs it's always a crapshoot with a new recipe, I got lucky this time.

La Tartine Gourmande said...

Such lovely pattern! Love the trees!

Flo Makanai said...

Beautiful post, lovely pics! Thanks.

zurin said...

you PAINT on macaroons????!!!! breathtakingly amazing! I LOVE the green of matcha and although I have yet to include the tea in my baking I have never tired of looking at creations that are made from it. I really ought to get down to the store and get some. That matcha tree just about did it for me ! :)))

Palaisdeslys said...

Splendid, perfect....Je suis sous le charme!

Jane said...

What an exceptionally beautiful blog you have! Stunning photos.

Jane

zested said...

Love the photo of the macaroons in the red box. Congrats on your DMBLGIT win!

123 123 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
JCliff said...

I love your photos- makes me want to pull these macaroons off the page and eat them! I still think they may be too complicated for my kitchen though- too many new gadgets and new things to buy (almond flour, pastry gear, etc.) but something I'd love to try one day.

-posting sincerely for Haiti

Eric Woods said...

this is so cute

Molly said...

Commenting for Haiti. Those macaroons are the CUTEST thing in the world. I have to try painting with tea!

Anonymous said...

This is great! Thanks for the opportunity to help out Haiti.

Anonymous said...

THe photographs on your blog are amazing.

ejm said...

I

Love

The

Trees!!!

And aren't macarons wonderful? We couldn't stop buying them at a little stall at the outdoor market in Lyon when we were last there. I have never considered making them myself though. And now, if I do, do I have to add the trees? (Did I mention that I love the trees?)

-Elizabeth

Stacy said...

Your photography is just incredible and those macaroons look amazing!

Heather said...

You make your food look so beautiful; it's remarkable. (Haiti again)

Katie said...

How creative!

Anonymous said...

Your macaroons are beautiful! So precise, they look machine stamped!

Corey said...

Those are delightful! I have to confess I have never heard of matcha..

Patricia said...

Those are absolutely lovely. Maybe I need to make these.

...again Haiti.

Leah W said...

wow! those look great!

poobail said...

Wow, how amazing are these?

Wanna B Thin 2 said...

I've only had coconut macaroons. I'll have to try these.

Meg Kat said...

absolutely adore those little painted trees!

denie heppner said...

commenting for help for Haiti! ;)

Mrs. D said...

I only discovered macarons last spring - they are so delicious, such a delightful blend of textures and colors. But I haven't been brave enough to try baking them yet...

Dbe said...

Those trees look so easy...I'm a stick person kind of artist, but might attempt the trees.

Kat said...

Beautiful!

Jeanne @ Cooksister! said...

Just in love with these - and your DMBLGiT win was SO well-deserved!

Sari said...

Beautiful macarons! I hope my macarons will ever be like these! ;)

Donnette Davis said...

#Haiti

Everything you do, be it cooking, painting, photography or writing, is a work of art...

Reading life through your blog posts is becoming more and more enjoyable with each post...

Thank you for sharing x

Anonymous said...

comment comment. thanks for the good work.

Ted said...

Third missed comment I've caught. I must've been worn out by this point. $10 more to Haiti. Too "matcha" commenting!

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