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daring bakers: halloween boo-burgers

halloween boo-burgers! that doesn't sound too much like boogers, does it?

okay, fine, “macarons”

Well, en français they’re called macarons. Silly Frenchies. Macarons were October’s Daring Bakers Challenge. I filled them with lime-colored peppermint buttercream, and decided they looked like little hamburgers, and since it’s that time of the year, they’re now officially Halloween Boo-Burgers. Yay!

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.

I must be a real hick, because I’ve participated in Daring Bakers challenges two months now, and I’d never heard of either month’s baked good. Vols-au-vent? Macarons? Double-you-tee-eff, mate?

Turns out macarons aren’t those coconut cookie things. They’re simple-looking cookies made of almond flour and powdered sugar folded into egg whites that have been beaten into a meringue and slightly sweetened with granulated sugar. As a result, they’re kind of nutty and kind of sweet, but not overly so. A perfect macaron will have a thin crunchy outside, chewy inside, and crunchy “feet” at the base.

so close...must eat...

It’s quite easy to become obsessed with achieving the perfect feet.

macarons, first try

Word among the Daring Bakers was that this particular macaron recipe was a bit finicky. My first attempt, plain macarons, came out pretty well….

chocolate macarons disaster :(

So I decided to try a cocoa-flavored version. Oops! That didn’t work out very well. They did get a thumbs-up from everyone who tried them. I told them they didn’t have to be nice. They said they actually really liked them. I was meh about the whole deal.

the traveling macarons

The macarons and I went with Linda this evening to see local bluegrass superstars The Doodads.

local bluegrass superstars the doodads

We met up with Debi and several of her family and friends.

just out for a beer and some macarons, like usual

See the macarons on the table? That’s my excuse for these two pics.

the nitty gritty

hand mixer. sure glad i've kept that through 5 brazillion moves.

Back to basics. Each of these attempts I made using a scaled-down one egg white version of the recipe. I was just too scared to try more; I’d read too many disaster stories. Since I needed to beat only one egg white, my stand mixer was overkill, and its whisk attachment wouldn’t even be able to do the job properly as it doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. It was time to break out the trusty old hand mixer. I hadn’t used it in years. Good thing the pack rat in me made me keep it, eh?

ingredients for macarons

Old egg whites are supposedly better. That egg white has been sitting on the counter for two days, covered in a paper towel secured with a rubber band. Then you have the powdered sugar and almond flour, sifted together. And the teensy bit of granulated sugar the one egg white recipe requires (a bit over a teaspoon).

meringue, i think

That egg white sure got a lot bigger! Hey, is that meringue too wussy? I think I’m scared of overbeating.

Now this next pic is from the cocoa disaster, but I wanted to show you what folding in the dry ingredients looks like, and the gooey final product.

folding dry into meringue, with final magma result

Shh, I know, I told you the cocoa ones came out badly. That’s still how the dough is supposed to look. Both my successful batches were just like that.

who needs a squeezy pastry bag thing anyway?

If you don’t have a squeezy pastry bag, just put a plastic bag in a glass and fold the edges over, and put your batter in that. Then snip off a corner of the baggie to squeeze through.

just baked macarons

Just out of the oven.

macarons, cooling on the rack, the non-medieval kind


Recipe adapted from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern. Directions are as provided by Daring Bakers. Have 5-6 of these for a 100-calorie snack.

prep: 20 minutes
bake: 5 minutes, then 7-8 minutes, approximately 13 minutes total
servings: varies by size of macaron; 1-inch (tiny!) macarons will yield 2 dozen per egg white in the recipe
oven: 200 degrees, then 375 degrees

Full recipe:

Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)

    Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)

    Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)

    Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)

1 Egg White version:

    Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 7 tablespoons (1.6 oz.)

    Almond flour: 1/4 cup + 2-1/2 tablespoons (1.3 oz.)

    Granulated sugar: 1-1/4 teaspoons (0.2 oz.)

    Egg whites: 1 (Have at room temperature)

2 Egg Whites version:

    Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 1 cup (3.2 oz.)

    Almond flour: 3/4 cup + 2-1/2 tablespoons (2.7 oz.)

    Granulated sugar: 2-1/2 teaspoons (0.35 oz.)

    Egg whites: 2 (Have at room temperature)


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.

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).

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.

Nutrition information (2 1-inch plain macarons): 35 calories; 1.5g fat; 0mg cholesterol; 5mg sodium; 4.8g carbohydrate; 0g fiber; 4.2g sugars; 0.9g protein; 0% vitamin A; 0% vitamin C; 1% calcium; 1% iron

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your comments

  1. Miranda says:

    As soon as I get an oven (LOL. Long story. Check out my site) I am planning on giving these a try. I adore your site and posts!!!!!

    • Amy says:

      That’s so sweet, thank you! The macarons, in general, weren’t my cup of tea, but everyone who tried them absolutely loved them. I’m probably just the weird one. ;-)

  2. Nick says:

    These look incredibly delicious! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I will definitely try them out. Mmm…I can’t wait!


  3. Fantastic recipe. I`ve used it for Halloween and the kids loved it. Thinking of using it more often.

  4. Michael says:

    I tried the 1 Egg White recipe and it came out perfect. Then I tried half of the full recipe and it didn’t. There was too little liquid and the macaron were not smooth.

    I was going to try the 2 Egg white recipe today and I notice that the proportions are incorrect — it calls for 2 1/4 cups of powdered sugar. That’s the same as the full recipe!

    • Amy says:

      I wonder if there’s a liquid to dry ratio issue in the full recipe, since so many Daring Bakers making the full one had a bit of trouble with it. I’m glad the 1 egg white version worked for you at least! Fixed the 2 egg white version to reflect the real amount of confectioners’ sugar — 1 cup, not 2-1/4. Thank you, Michael!

  5. Fred says:

    I’ve seen many Halloween themed foodstuffs, but I had never seen these before. This is fantastic, and as you’ve shared how to make them, I’m going to try making my own.

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