another daring challenege… mais en français!

I have something to confess… whenever I used to hear the word macaroons I always thought of those stiff meringue nests that people seem to really enjoy eating (I’m not one of those people). So when I saw that I was being asked to bake several dozen macaroons for the October DB Challenge my heart sorta sank… and then I realized how erroneous I had been.

These cookies aren’t hard and ridiculously sweet… they resemble more of a cookie sandwich – two light cookies bound together with a buttery filling. The best part of this challenge was that we were all encouraged to use whatever flavour profile we wanted.

I was divided… lemon cookies with a lemon cream cheese filling OR chocolate with a peanut butter filling. Oh what to do! Such a dilemma…

Since I had baked my 3 layered lemon cake over the weekend I decided to opt for the peanut butter. I don’t regret that choice at all. I ended up with some beautiful cookies and the creamest, buttery filling. Delish!

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macaroons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

Chocolate Macaroons
2 1/4 c. icing sugar
2 c. almond flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp white sugar
5 egg whites, they must be at room temperature

Preheat your oven to 200 F. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. If you don’t have any, do not grease your pan… the cookies need to be quite dry.

In a large bowl, combine the icing sugar, cocoa powder and the almond flour. Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand-mixer start whisking the egg whites (with the whisk attachment). Start at a lower speed, increasing until about speed 8. At that point your egg whites should have formed soft peaks. Add the 2 tbsp of sugar and increase the speed to level 10. Continue whisking until you get to the stiff peak stage.

Take the mixer bowl off the stand-mixer and gently fold in 1/3 of the almond-icing sugar combo. Sift in the remaining almond flour in 2 batches. Be gentle and don’t overfold – just fully incorporate the ingrendients.

Place the batter into an icing bag (or ziplock bag). Use either a large tip or cut off the corner of the bag in order to pipe the batter onto the cookie sheet. You want to pipe them into one-inch mounds so that they form little circles.

Bake the macaroons for 5 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and raise the temperature to 375 F.

Once the oven has reached that temperature, return the pans to the oven and continue to bake for another 7 minutes. Cool the cookies on a wire rack before filling them with the icing.

*I was able to get about 3 dozen cookies out of this batch – but I also didn’t have a proper piping bag (or ziplock bag) – so I ended up with some bigger macaroons that I would have otherwise.

A Sweet & Salty Peanut Butter Filling
125 g natural peanut butter
70 g icing sugar
25 g softened butter
25 g milk
5 g vanilla extract
3 g fine sea salt

In your mixing bowl (use a paddle attachment for the kitchenaid) cream together the butter and peanut putter at a medium speed. Add the icing sugar and salt and incorporate into the batter. Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla; finishing with the milk being incorporated, about a tbsp at a time.

Pipe the peanut butter onto the base of one of the macaroons and top with another. Store in an airtight container… if they even last that long!

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