Daring Bakers Challenge : Macarons


(Black sesame and nori 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.

Funnily enough, I’ve never been excessively interested in macarons. I appreciate their beauty and the degree of difficulty involved in their success. As many people have said before, it’s amazing how complex a process it is to get right, considering macarons consist of merely three ingredients. So I have all the respect in the world for bakers out there such as Helen, Aran and Julia who love these sugary treats and manage time and again to present perfect and creative versions of them.

With regards to this month’s challenge, I had every intention of attempting Claudia Fleming’s recipe, but my brain was unfortunately asleep the day I stepped into the kitchen. It was only when half way through the process that I realised I had been baking on autopilot, and had somehow managed to whip up a batch of my normal macaron recipe, as opposed to the one provided for the challenge!


So I’m not sure if my contribution really counts towards this challenge, but here it is anyway. I made some bite-sized macarons flavoured with black sesame powder and paste, with dried seaweed (nori) garnishing the shells before baking. The combination worked well together, in my opinion, also because I quite like adding savoury elements to things that are quite sweet (as we all know macarons can be).

To keep things interesting, an impromptu dessert macaron was also cobbled together from items I scavenged from the fridge and pantry. Chocolate sauce, ganache, cake, cherries and vanilla cream formed a little nod to my obsession with Black Forest flavours.


(Black Forest macaron)

Thank you Ami, for bringing macarons into the Daring Bakers repertoire!

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French Toast Macaron (Happy Birthday Caitlin!)


(French Toast Macaron : Smokey bacon custard, with maple-glazed bacon, maple jelly and air)

I’m a couple of days late in celebrating Caitlin’s birthday, but I think she might manage to forgive me this one time, because she has already been waiting several months for me to make her a macaron dedicated to her blog, Engineer Baker.

In case I haven’t mentioned before, Engineer Baker is one of my favourite blogs. Caitlin writes with such down to earth humour and such enthusiasm for her love of baking that I feel as though I can relate to her on so many levels. Not just because I studied one year of engineering at University, I bake, run, and like her, am more than competent in the field of procrastination (case in point, the fact that this macaron has taken so long to come to fruition).

A blog-inspired macaron stemmed from an idea I had awhile back which I never really pursued in it’s entirety. However, I couldn’t say no when Caitlin requested one. The only problem was, figuring out what kind of macaron would suit her blog.


If there’s one thing you might notice about Caitlin’s blog is that she bakes a lot of bread. So I thought a bread flavoured macaron would be the way to go. Running with the theme of ‘french toast’, I substituted some of the almond meal for dry breadcrumbs, which didn’t seem to affect the macaron too much. The end result was a little heavier so the feet weren’t as apparent, but there was still an overall lightness to it, with a bready texture within. I paired the macaron with some typical french toast accompaniments – flavours of bacon, eggy custard and maple syrup, as well as some caramelised toast crumbs and a little chocolate.

This macaron is gutsy and very rich, and as a macaron for the Engineer Baker, it may not be structurally sound, but it’s certifiably delicious!

Happy belated Birthday, Caitlin! 🙂

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Green tea macarons


(Green tea/matcha macarons)

To my neighbour who snores every night, enabling me to finally understand the allusion to chainsaws.


To M who sent me a text message while dining in what is meant to be the best unagi restaurant in Tokyo. (Meanwhile, I was having a very pedestrian pasta dinner at home).

To the work-friend who readily listens when I have woes to air.

To Julia, and her obsession with macarons, begetting a how-to guide.

To Pierre Hermes, whose basic macaron recipe I use all the time.


And to all those people who have been reading and leaving comments even though I haven’t had much time to return the favour of late :

Thank you.

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