The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.
For months I have been watching Daring Baker blog posts and secretly wanted to be a part of it. I went back and forth on whether or not I should join feeling that my baking skills were pretty beginner and many of the recipes seemed much more advanced. After thinking it over for a bit I made the decision to apply to Daring Kitchen and become a Daring Baker.
I am happy to announce that I have completed my first daring baker challenge, Macaroons, and am very happy with the results. Although my macaroon is not super fluffy the taste makes up for it. I decided to go with a masala chai macaroon with a pumpkin cream cheese filling. What an amazing taste!
It seems like I am always looking for a way to use chai in a recipe but never end up doing it because I have been unable to find a good chai powder, similar to a matcha powder. After putting it off for far too long I ended up just taking some masala chai I got while in India last summer and put it in the spice grinder, making sure to sift it before putting it in the recipe. It worked much better than I thought it would and the end result was a macaroon with a hint of chai.
The filling was my tried and true base of cream cheese and sugar whipped in the stand mixer with some whipping cream mixed in. Once the stiff peaks form you fold in some pumpkin puree with spices added. The end result is a creamy light filling that can be used in a variety of ways.
Macaroons seem like a recipe that take a bit of practice and finesse. Making sure your egg whites are beat just right before folding in the almond flour, but then making sure you don’t over mix to lose the fluffiness. There are many things I have learned in this first attempt at macaroons that will improve the results for my future tries.
But I have to say…
Nothing is better than when you watch the feet form on your macaroon and know that atleast one part of your recipe is going according to plan. My husband who is always supportive came over and gave me a high five when he saw how excited I was.
I have decided with baking that even if it doesn’t go according to plan there is always something great that results from your baking, who knows it may become a new favourite recipe.
Masala Chai Macaroon
2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
2 cups almond flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 room temperature egg whites
1 tablespoon masala chai powder
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Combine the confectioners sugar almond flour and masala chai powder in a medium bowl.
Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. Sift the remaining flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t over fold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plan half inch tip, or use a ziploc bag with the corner cut off. Pipe one inch sized mounds of batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 35 degrees. Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pan back in the oven and bake for an additional 7-8 minutes, or lightly colored.
Cook on a rack before filling
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filling
2 ounces cream cheese
3 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream or whipping cream
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves
With a whisk attachment, using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium high speed until fluffy. Slowly drizzle in the whipping cream and whip until stiff peaks form. Mix pumpkins and spices and then fold into the cream cheese mixture.