After adoring the movie: Julie and Julia I immediately came home, made Julia’s Reine De Saba Cake and gushed over the movie for months! I begged my sister to see it with me, and when she couldn’t lock down plans, I hijacked her while her youngest was in school for the 2 hour and 3 minute running time of the film (she loved it too – of course!). My mom brought me the book, My Life in France and I danced idly through the following days and months dreaming of beautiful food, french excursions, and life in the 1950’s with my own individually seasoned pitched accent.
Regarding Julia Child, my mother observed:
So, in honor of Julia, she and I made a pact to engage in a Macaroon Baking Endeavor. My mother doesn’t live exclusively down the street from me, so it wasn‘t until this week that she came to visit, and it just so happened that her visit not only provided us with the opportunity to finally complete our Macaroon Baking Endeavor, but it also coincided with this month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge!
The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ Challenge was brought to us by Ami S of Baking Without Fear. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.
Unfortunately, the first batch and the second batch didn’t turn out to be macaroons; they more resembled flat, overcooked, round mounds of blob. We tried the DB recipe and several different cooking methods: none successful! We baked, and stirred, and pulverized, and whisked, and glared at the oven violently for six hours, and by then it was past both our bedtimes. She went home, and I went to bed sleeping fitfully. When I wasn’t asleep I was trying to determine what went wrong, and when I was asleep I was dreaming of puffed, footed, colored macaroons.
She couldn’t come back the next day, so I attempted this feat alone. I decided even if I had to finish with a pile of macaroons resembling Julia’s pile of crying onions, before I accomplished the necessary end result, I would do it. Luckily I only went through one more batch before I got some results, and that was good because I was out of ingredients! (So much for the pile of onions…)
I still have a lot of questions, such as: Why didn’t I get a crispy outer shell? Why did I not achieve a distinct foot? Did I not cook long enough? Did I not whip my eggs long enough?
2 cups almond flour
**Tip: You can grind your own almonds, but make sure they result in resembling flour, not crumbs
2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
Sift together until powdery and super fine
(I added 2 tablespoons cocoa powder to create chocolate)
5 egg whites
Whisk until foamy
Add 2 tablespoons sugar and continue to whisk until light and meringuesque
**Tip: Do not over beat, you want stiff peaks, but not hard peaks (so I read)
Lightly fold egg whites into flour/sugar mixture in thirds
Pour into piping or plastic bag, with a one inch tip
Pipe small mounds onto parchment paper, or baking sheet
Let rest for 15-30 minutes
Bake at 280°F, 15-18 minutes
Fill with the buttercream of your choice, and sandwich two macaroons together
I made a lemon cream cheese buttercream, and a pumpkin cinnamon cream cheese buttercream.
I’ll leave you with this: “Noncooks think it’s silly to invest two hours’ work in two minutes’ enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet,” Julia Child.