International cooking for the youthful malcontent.

Macaron Lab 2

Cookie: White Chocolate, Cardamom, Kewra Water

Cookie Recipe: Laduree Sucre cookbook recipe for basic macarons

Baking Details: my oven at 300 F for 15-16 minutes

Filling: white chocolate ganache (4 oz white chocolate to 1/4 cup 18% cream) + 1 tsp kewra water, 1/2 tsp cardamom powder

Environment: February 12th, afternoon, dry as dust, 1 C Notes: In between the last test and this, I have tested the oven temperature and verified it’s within a few degrees of the display. That’s good! I also purchased a kitchen scale and bought the cookbook Sucre, published by Laduree which purportedly contains Pierre Herme’s macaron recipe. Having the recipe and executing it are two different things in Macaron World, though, as I’ve discovered repeatedly.  The recipe relies on weight measurements rather than volume and I’d hoped this would result in a better cookie, and so far that has been true.

Positive Results: This is the second time I’ve performed the Laduree recipe and both times they’ve turned out well, with a few concerns. The cookie developed great feet, and the mixture of nearly 50/50 by weight of almond and sugar ensures the cookie is not sickly sweet. Many other recipes online feature about a 2:1 ratio of sugar to almond, which seems to produce a more reliable macaron, but they hurt my teeth to eat, and lack the more robust nuttiness the 50:50 recipe provides. The ganache tasted fantastic, although the kewra water could be slightly more subtle. I appreciate its herbal overtones though, and it matches well with almond, exactly as suggested by my online research.

Negative Results: The first batch was ruined. Cracked shells. I guessed that the problem was the shell was too weak, and the air pocket inside tore through once it was in the oven. I remedied this on the second batch using a hair dryer (pro-tip) on low heat for about 3-4 minutes over the entire pan until the batter has developed a tackiness. It worked like a charm. Perfect feet on most of the cookies (a few near the edge of the pan were flat on one side but I assume this is because of the heat distribution in my oven). I also left the shells out for a bit too long before applying the ganache, and the ganache itself was perhaps too thick, so the cookie ended up slightly dry with a mild chewiness that is not ideal. They need a bit more moisture. Apparently the pros apply a syrup spray to the base of the shells before adding the ganache which would add some moisture back to the interior of the shell. I’ll try this next time, or add a bit more cream to the ganache which the cookie shell can absorb during maturation.

Next Steps: Test syrup/water spray effect on shells. Refine and standardize ganache recipe. Start work on dark chocolate hazelnut ganache recipe. Continue to practice macaron shell baking, including chocolate meringue. My arm muscles are now developed to the point where whipping up a batch of meringues is getting easy. This is the best (read: only) arm workout I’ve ever done.

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2 responses

  1. Impressive work. I’ve given up on macarons as the results have been rubbish. I appreciate you are getting mixed results but the one in the photo above looks like the real deal. When you finally nail the technique you’ll have to start giving classes (in London obviously…!).

    February 21, 2012 at 3:41 am

    • Thanks, Reena! Yes, the ones in the background are from the first batch. Foreground is the second batch. I’m pretty close to getting a reliable technique and recipe down on paper, but I worry that because macarons are so technique-dependant that it may not work the same way in any kitchen other than my own. I *feel* like I’ve learned a lot though, and will do my best to describe in detail!

      February 21, 2012 at 10:26 am

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