Friday, March 21, 2008

Vanilla Macaroons, Part Deux

Hopefully you enjoyed reading about Part Un of the Vanilla Macaroon saga. Needless to say it didn't turn out how it was supposed to. So earlier this week I didn't have anything to do at about 8:30 PM and thought I'd give it another shot. A final shot. At $20/lb for almond flour I wasn't about to repeatedly torture myself.

With Kendra's help, we repeated almost the exact same process as the previous time except for the extra 2 hours of waiting. Almost you say? Well, at 8:30 PM on a weekday night we were pretty much out of places to places to go find a vanilla bean. Or at least out of places to find a vanilla bean and finish before midnight. I would later realize that this may have been the reason the batter was a little more liquid than usual, which lead to some running together of the macaroons. Here's what the unbaked halves looked like, you can tell size control is not one of my strong points:

We kept the wait to just a bit over an hour this time, and into the oven they went. Fifteen minutes or so later out they came, looking like this:

Did mention that my piping abilities need to be improved? Most of them ran together a least a little bit. Getting these babies off of the parchment paper was no easy task. After a few casualties, I generally got the hang of separating them with a knife and then lifting them off with a spatula. Those I couldn't get off with the spatula I turned over and peeled off the paper.

Now for the assembly. This is the easiest step of any recipe I've cooked so far. Take two halves, add buttercream in between. That's it, you're done. Eat away. Just kidding, this is Thomas 'Details' Keller we're talking about. He suggests letting the buttercream come to room temperature and then whisking it smooth. My poor planning abilities meant the buttercream was still in the fridge and it was pushing 11 PM. I wasn't about to wait for it to come to room temperature, so we just put it together. I'm not sure you'd ever notice the difference. Here's what it looked like:

How were they you ask? It's a two part answer. My initial reaction was to immediately go brush my teeth. They are incredibly sweet. Being an engineer, I decided to figure out exactly what I was eating. Suffice it to say there is about 1/4 cup of sugar per macaroon. That's around 130 calories per, just for the sugar. To put it in perspective, that's close to a Coke and a half.

My second, and lingering, reaction was that they are very good. It was probably only my first or second experience with macaroons so by no means am I an expert, but they were good. I found myself coming home each of the next several days and putting one together right away. There are no more left now, which is kind of sad.

As for improvements, I have only two, and one probably doesn't count. I would use an actual vanilla bean as called for because I suspect it made the batter a little runny. I'd also trim them a little bit with a cookie cutter for appearance's sake. The picture above is probably the nicest looking pair I had. A little trimming would fix that in no time. Would I make them again? You bet, if only I didn't have to make 175+ other recipes first...

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