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  1. #1
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    Feb. 6, 2003
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    Default Macaroons...what's the **** secret????

    I can cook. And I do it well. I'm no master chef, but can hold my own.

    I can bake, but it's defintely not my forte. Probably a combo of the fact that I don't normally like sweets and I don't always stick to following a recipe 100%. And baking can be more science than cooking, LOL!

    However while certain complex desserts can sometimes elude perfection for me, I can usually figure that out and tweak them to tasty and presentable. Cookies are my strong area of baking.

    But macaroons are kicking my @ss! Not all macaroons, I can make some that are noteworthy and I've produced some pretty close to spectacular coconut macs.

    But Almond Amaretto macaroons...the freaking bane of my culinary existence.

    I have tried 7 recipes. Each one at least twice. I've produced everything from flat cookies to today...a sheet of gooey dreck. One solid sheet. WTF??? No matter what, my macs spread and flatten. And the almond paste is giving me headaches.

    What is the secret to getting these stupid freaking things to come out thick instead of flat with that eggshell like outer shell and the soft slightly chewy interior? I get them in Italian bakeries and have had some made by a local person that are heavenly. I make them and turn out something Dr Frankenstein would be afraid of. I can get the taste right 75% of the time, but the shape and consistency are all jacked up.

    Someone talk me through these? My latest efforts have been flour free ones...the taste is perfection but the result is crappy as hell.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 9, 2005
    Location
    Colorado
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    1,240

    Default

    I've yet to find a Taste of Home recipe that doesn't come out well whether it's something I'm cooking or I'm having high school students try a new recipe.

    Check these out: http://www.tasteofhome.com/SiteSearc...hdrbox-Recipes

    I just realized that I misread what you are wanting. I don't know about recipes for the almond amaretto macaroons, though they sound delicious. You'll have to update us when you master them.
    Last edited by Sanely Eccentric; Feb. 6, 2011 at 01:40 AM. Reason: reread your post



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 3, 2007
    Location
    Flagstaff, Arizona
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    1,330

    Default

    If you are asking about French Macaroons this may help.

    http://chefinyou.com/2009/10/french-macaroons-recipe/
    www.ctannerjensen.com
    http://ctannerjensen.blogspot.com/
    Equine Art capturing the essence of the grace,strength, and beauty of the Sport Horse."



  4. #4
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    Jan. 13, 2008
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    Default

    Not a macaroon maker, but if your recipe involves folding in merange/peaking egg whites then it needs to be done carefully (*folding* it in) or you will loose the *air* in the peaking egg whites and everything will get runny.



  5. #5
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    Default

    Argh, that's one of the problems I'm having BaroquePony.

    I've read a bunch of stuff on getting them right...and half say to make sure to keep the whites full of air and the other half say to make sure to bang the bowl and tap the cookie sheet to remove all excess...both stating this will keep the stupid things from running and forming one solid 1/4" thick sheet of goop.

    I think the bakers are trying to keep the secret of a good macaroon and are putting out contradicting info on purpose.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  6. #6
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    Jan. 13, 2008
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    Default

    There are *two* different kinds of air bubbles involved when discussing merange/peaking egg whites. The first kind of air bubbles are the teeny tiny molecular sized ones that actually make the merange/egg whites fluffy and big and voluminous . Those you want.

    The second kind of air bubbles are the ones you don't want as you mix/FOLD in the merange/egg whites into the rest of your ingredients.

    I can't imagine banging the bowl to get rid of any big air bubbles ... not saying it can't be done, but if I did that I would either break the bowl while unsuccessfully trying to get big bubbles out, or just not get them out .

    If you fold your egg whites in carefully then you shouldn't have any big air bubbles. That is the goal .

    Banging on anything with beaten/peaking egg whites defeats the purpose of keeping them light and fluffy ... you just begin to flatten them in the process. Then they get runny ... reverting back to plain old pooped egg whites.

    Also, you will get fluffier/stiffer egg whites when beating if you start off with room temperature eggs.

    And, if there is any tiny amount of egg yolk that got into your whites ... they won't peak. Throw it out and start over.



  7. #7
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    Jan. 13, 2008
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    Julia Child covers *mastering* the egg white on "The French Chef w/ Julia Child" (the first of a 2 DVD disk set) while making Chocolate Mousse .

    When she gets ready to fold in her egg whites, she adds a little bit to the rest of the ingredients first to make it the right consistency so that it blends more easily when you fold in the rest. That is how you avoid getting big air bubbles stuck in the whole mess.

    She does beating/peaking and folding in egg whites again on the 2nd disk ("The French Chef 2 w/ Julia Child"), with making the Souffle .

    Her stuff is a blast. Her motto, if she can do it anyone can ...



  8. #8
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    Ah, see...that's where I get screwed up.

    I have no issues with meringue or egg whites. I can get them however the recipe calls for...peaked, stiff, glossy, soft, etc. I separate my egg whites 1-2 days before using them so they age, bring them to room temp and beat.

    I think my issue is either with the cookie batter or the folding process.

    The cookie batter gives me fits from time to time. Almond paste is a royal pita.

    Here's the recipe I've been working with...this one has the exact taste I'm looking for but I can't get the right consistency in the finished cookie. I get the batter steps right...but when they go in the over they almost revert to a liquid. (fun, because the batter is never goopy)

    [quote]
    Makes 32 macaroons
    2 cups almond paste
    1 cup granulated white sugar
    2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
    1/2 cup (3-4 large) egg whites
    2 teaspoons Amaretto liqueur
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 cup unsalted chopped almonds
    Divide the almond paste into pieces (about 1/4 cup each) and put them in a bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a paddle. (Don't use a food processor; the batter is too heavy). Add the granulated sugar. Quickly turn mixer on and off a few times to draw the sugar into the mixture so it doesn't fly out of the bowl. Work on a low speed until the mixture forms coarse, even crumbs. Don't allow the mixture to go beyond this point to a paste, because it will be difficult to incorporate the confectioners' sugar.
    Turn off the mixer and add the confectioners' sugar. Mix on a low speed for 1 minute and a medium speed for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is very smooth and begins to compact itself around the sides of the bowl or when pinched. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
    Add the egg whites, Amaretto and salt. Mix on a medium speed until combined, but still moist and tacky. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and paddle. Turn the mixer to a medium-high speed for 2 minutes or longer, until the mixture is light in texture and almost white in color. Reduce to a low speed, and add half the chopped almonds, and mix until combined.
    Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 or 3 good-quality cookie sheets with baker's parchment. Use a 1 1/2-inch ice-cream scoop to shape the macaroons. ("I use 1 1/8-inch scoop and cook it for about 20 minutes," says Maggie).
    No scoop? Use a heaping tablespoon.
    Place scoops of batter on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving room between each one. Sprinkle each macaroon with some of the remaining chopped almonds, and press down slightly so that the nuts stick. Some will fall off, but you can save them after baking and use them for the next batch.
    Bake the macaroons for 25-28 minutes. They should be puffed and light and still feel a little soft but not wet. The bottoms will be a very light brown, not dark. Put the cookies on a rack and let the macaroons cool completely before moving. Carefully peel the cookies from the parchment and store them at room temperature in an airtight container.
    When completely cool, the ideal macaroon will have a crunchy, slightly cracked meringue-like shell and a moist and chewy center. While the cookie is still hot, however, the outside will seem soft. It's critical to learn to recognize the point at which the cookie makes the transition from too soft and wet to perfectly cooked. The properly cooked macaroon will look slightly puffy. When gently squeezed or pressed, it will be soft, yet you'll feel that it has "set-up" and is not flabby or mushy. When lifted, it will pull away from the parchment paper without sticking. The underside will be an light brown.[/QUOTE]

    The blue parts are where I experience Macaroon Fail.

    Oh, and FWIW I am not using a bowl mixer, it's done by hand since I don't have a bowl mixer.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2002
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    Default

    Almond paste? Man that must really be a PITA to work with.
    I'd use almond meal/flour and add a few drops of almond extract for flavor.
    My MIL makes great almond macarons and her recipe is very, very simple.

    Ditto on the eggs being room-temperature for stiff egg whites! It took me a while to realize that. Before this epiphany, all my chocolate mousses looked more like chocolate pudding...lol
    Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!



  10. #10
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    Default

    Yeah, I'm mixing almond paste with granulated sugar by hand.
    And then adding in confectioner's sugar by hand.
    Hoping to get the consistency of half-dry cement.

    By the time I get this recipe right, I'm going to have arms and hands like Ahnold, LOL!
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  11. #11
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    Jan. 13, 2008
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    Default

    Posted by Misty Blue:

    Divide the almond paste into pieces (about 1/4 cup each) and put them in a bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a paddle. (Don't use a food processor; the batter is too heavy). Add the granulated sugar. Quickly turn mixer on and off a few times to draw the sugar into the mixture so it doesn't fly out of the bowl. Work on a low speed until the mixture forms coarse, even crumbs. Don't allow the mixture to go beyond this point to a paste, because it will be difficult to incorporate the confectioners' sugar.
    If you really like this recipe, then I would start by NOT using your mixing machine, ... yet. Get a handle on the recipe before going to the power tools.

    I would take the first part ^ of the recipe and *cut* your granulated sugar into your paste like you would cut flour into butter for a pie crust (two regular dinner knives, by hand).

    Then add you confectioner's sugar and mix it in.

    Then I would ad a small amount of your egg whites into your paste mixture in order to bring the consistency of that mix up to a bigger and more fluffy pile of stuff (which will let it blend much more easily with the rest of the egg whites without flattening or pooping out anything or leaving places for big, bad air bubbles to get caught), and then fold in the rest of your egg whites.

    ETA: I'm not too sure about using a mixer for folding egg whites in ... that sounds kind of flatteing in it's own right.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 16, 2000
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    Concord, NH
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    Add the egg whites, Amaretto and salt. Mix on a medium speed until combined, but still moist and tacky. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and paddle. Turn the mixer to a medium-high speed for 2 minutes or longer, until the mixture is light in texture and almost white in color.


    This part sounds like the problem - it doesn't say anywhere to whip the egg whites - just add them.

    I think the recipe is flawed. It would make MORE sense if the recipe went like this:

    In another bowl,whip the egg whites until medium peaks form (I really don't know if you would want medium or stiff for this, you might have to experiment).

    Then slowly fold the egg whites into the almond/sugar mixture.

    The part about beating on high speed for 2 minutes doesn't make sense either as it would deflate (defeat) having beaten and folded.

    After fully folded in (no white streaks) then put them on the cookie sheet and bake them.



  13. #13
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    I think Hillary is onto something



  14. #14
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    I would think about adding the Ameretto and salt to the sugar paste and then begin with adding the peaking egg whites.



  15. #15
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    Have to admit I've only ever made merengue cookies as DH is mildly allergic to almonds so I am speaking only from other egg white experience (angel food cake, merenge cookies, pie merenge (and you'd think I'd know how to spell the word?) but the flattening into one large mass means that when the cookies are baked, the proteins in the eggs are not holding their shape so if you whipped first, they would have that air mass.

    Alternatively - did you say you are not using ANY mechanical aids? That you are doing all this by hand? If so, then maybe the recipe would work if you had a mixer - because even without whipping first, you might, with a mixer get enough air into the batter to create the same effect.

    And yes, to BP's change in the order of adding ingredients- if you add stuff to the egg whites they might not whip right.

    Had I known that baking = chemistry in 10th grade I would have been a MUCH better chem student.


    Oh, and if you need to unload any extras I'm sure I could eat them....flat or otherwise. Yum.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 7, 2011
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    In Washington with my little quackers
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    Default

    I love to bake. Hubby does dinner and I do dessert.
    Your cookie recipe sounds like a pain in the tookus, more work than the worth, I think I would just buy them already made.



  17. #17
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    Feb. 6, 2003
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    I have been cutting the paste with the sugar with a pasty knife...like for making pie crust. I don't have a stand mixer and I haven't found any other way to mix *anything* with paste without cutting it, LOL!

    The first step I get fine. The second has been hit or miss with getting the confectioners mixed in and getting the smooth/thick mixture as opposed to something still a bit crumbly. So far I've got that almost down pat now though.

    Good thought on mixing in the whites a small bit first though to get the dough started before adding the rest!

    Hilary....good point! I just see egg whites used in baking (especially something that's supposed to finish fluffy) and assume it mans beaten whites.

    I did think adding the liquor and salt to the egg whites sounded wrong, but tried it once anyway. Complete disaster, just as I thought it would be. You can whip whites with sugar, but not with salt or liquor.

    I think the mixing directions are flawed too...even with a stand mixer (which is slow compared to a hand mixer) it seems to be way overworking the dough. So far I've done it all by hand...the hand mixer is too fast and this dough is dense enough to blow the motor of a hand mixer anyway.

    These ingredients in this amount taste just right, but the process is screwed up IMO too. Glad to hear it's not just me.

    I'll try another batch tomorrow and split it down after the first couple steps into 1/4's and try different methods from there. I'm even going to try non-whipped whites. Coould be interesting.

    Thanks for the trouble shooting ideas you guys. These things have been giving me fits!

    Today I have to wade through a few feet of snow and fish out the cookie sheet I flung out of my back door yesterday. You can only fail so many batches of a difficult recipe before losing your temper, LOL!
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  18. #18
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    Hilary...that's my problem with baking. It is chemistry and I hate chemistry, LOL!

    And even flat, they're pretty tasty. Just not as tasty as when yoou get the whole thing right.

    MrsChickenBritches...the reason I'm going bonkers trying to figure these out is that there's a little country store in the area that takes in home made treats to sell. These showed up there a coouple months ago and I bought 2 for my husband. He took one bite and said, "You've GOT to try these!" I'm not a sweets fan...but he insisted so I tried them. OMG...umm, yum!

    I could call the baker and ask...but I don't want to poach a recipe she's making income on. I'd never sell them, just make them for family.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte



  19. #19
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    Jan. 13, 2008
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    Eeks, methinks I speed-read the recipe ...

    I'm not sure where I got the idea that the egg whites were supposed to be beaten to the point of peaks ...

    Just plain old egg whites with no beating into peaks? Then adding the Amaretto and salt to plain old egg whites would probably be fine. Still go for room temps though.



  20. #20
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    Feb. 6, 2004
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    Default

    You always fully pre-heat the oven, right?



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