Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Daring Cook's October 2009 Challenge: Violet Macarons

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.

Visit Ami S - LAmonkeygirl at http://bakingwithoutfear.blogspot.com/

I have made some lovely little violet macarons complete with dried violets sprinkles for everyone to enjoy. I normally use the Italian Meringue technique, but as this was a challenge, I have used the recipe given by Ami S.

2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz) confectioners’ (icing) sugar
2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz) almond flour (meal)
2 tablespoons (25 g, .88 oz.) granulated sugar
5 egg whites (approximately 165 grams. 5.8 ounces) (at room temperature)
a few drops each of red and blue food colouring
whole crystalised violets (found in a speciality kitchen shops)


1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.

2. 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. Add a few drops each of red and blue colouring until a pretty violet colour is obtained, making it brighter than the required finished colour as it fades during cooking.

3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.

4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.

5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper) and sprinkle whole crystalised violets on top of half of the shells.

6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.

7. Cool on a rack before filling.
Yield: This recipe is supposed to yield 10 dozen. Ami's note: My yield was much smaller than this. I produced about two dozen filled macaroons. (As was mine)

For the violet ganache:

50g unsalted butter
50g almond meal
100g confectioners (icing) sugar
1 teaspoon violet flavouring
a few drops each of red and blue colouring

Process almond meal and icing together same as for the macarons. Cream the butter and gradually add almond mixture. Add 1 teaspoon violet flavouring and a few drops each of red and blue colouring to make a pretty violet colour.

Finishing off: Pair up similar sized macarons, with one macaron turned face up. Pipe approximately a teaspoon of filling on to the turned up macaron, twist the pair together until filling comes just to the edges of the macarons. Place in a small paper cup cake patty to set.

Storing: Keep the unfilled shells in a container in the fridge and they will be more tender. Macarons can also be frozen. Freezing has a tenderizing effect but at the same time, the shells will be weaker than before being frozen. To defrost, remove the macarons from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator overnight. This minimizes condensation on the shells but also gives them a bit of shininess.

Note: The violet flavouring is from a French company: - Sevarome- Z.A La Guide 1 43200, Yssingeaux Z.I. La Guide, France
Tél : +33 4 71 59 04 78
Fax : +33 4 71 65 54 24
Email: info@sevarome.com
Web: Sevarome.com

Don't forget to visit the other Daring Bakers and for some fabulous tips visit Audax Artifex at http://audaxartifex.blogspot.com/


  1. wow, just had to say your macarons looks just great!
    So beautiful and clean,
    and I love the flavors' combination!
    Great job
    (also a DB)

  2. Those look like they've been made by a professional in a professional kitchen! Super impressive. Mine did not turn out as well :)

    Great purple color.

  3. Wow, your macarons are just glorious!

  4. These look like professional ones that I'd get at a patisserie! Were the ones you'd taken photos of the ones you made from the DB Challenge recipe? If so, you had more success than most.

    Nice work with the post :)

  5. Hi Inbal, Olga, Julia and Simon.
    Thanks for the comments. I suppose the next best thing to getting them from a professional is to have lessons from a professional!!!! I must admit that this was not a challenge for me as I have been making macarons for 3 months now. I spent a day in August at 'Savour' - a professional Patisserie School in Melbourne and I haven't looked back.

    I also gave my 3 baking friends a lesson from what I learnt in class. We have become macaronophile nerds and now make them at least once a week. I am at a point where I have them near perfect. I have never tasted a Herme or Lauderee macaron, but my girlfriend 'J' says they are just as good.

    Julia, your macarons are all gorgeous and you are such an inspiration and the reason I did the class in the first place and started making them.

    Inbal, Olga and Simon, have a look at Julia's blog and also AudaxArtifex's blog. You will get great tips and inspiration. In the next couple of days, I will post my tips and tricks and how to's for making macarons.



  6. Absolutely gorgeous! Your macarons are flawless & the colour is beautiful =D.

  7. I am sorry I thought I had left a message already. The colour and flavour of your creations are perfection and I personally thank you for all the time and effort you did for me on my own macaron making adventures. Your efforts have really paid off and your macarons are so good and I'm sure will get even better.I understand you use the hot syrup method (Italian) I have to give that a try but I'm very lazy and the French seems to work for me every batch has been a success. Love all your tips and hints you have collected above very clear and easy to understand. Thanks for the tisp about the freezer great to know.

    If you want some highly technial paper written in French I can send them to - they are about meringue making and the different types of recipes used to make macarons from the grand master themselves I've got no idea how they got the recipes!!!!

    Cheers from Audax. My e-book is just finished it will be available soon it is only about the French method.

    What amazing talent. Thank you for leaving me a note. I am adding you to a new link list on my site called French Macarons.
    (Please also leave a note under the site you wrote to me about whenever you have time so that others can learn about you there, too)
    I can't find the flavouring you used anywhere in the recipe - or the kind of colouring, or how much. It is EARRRRLY here - so manybe I am not reading properly - but I would LOVE to know. Violette is one of my very favourite flavours.
    Thank you again for an inspirational moment. I'll be back!

  9. Dear Canadian Foodie,
    Thank you for your very kind words. I have re-read the recipe and realized that I didn't put colour and flavours in. I will correct that now.

    For the macaron shells, I used only a few drops each of red and blue colouring until a pretty violet colour was obtained, I made it brighter than the required finished colour as it fades during cooking. I used 1 teaspoon violet flavour (Sevarome brand) in the ganache and added a few drops of coluring as above. The garnish on top was whole crystalised violets that I found in a speciality kitchen shop called Essential Ingredient in Melbourne, Australia. I suspect that this is also by Sevarome however it is not stated on the bottle.

    I was lucky to get the violet flavour from a baking supplies shop in Melbourne. They said it was hard to get and only had one large bottle that was quite expensive. This I shared with my friends. I had been searching for a while on the internet all to no avail. You may be able to get it directly from the company in France is: - Sevarome- Z.A La Guide 1 43200, Yssingeaux Z.I. La Guide, France
    Tél : +33 4 71 59 04 78
    Fax : +33 4 71 65 54 24
    Email: info@sevarome.com
    Web: Sevarome.com