feet! feet! feet on French Macarons at Viking Class

We used a small cookie cutter dipped in flour to create circle guidelines on the Silpat mat. How creative! Sure was better than drawing all those circles on parchment paper!

It’s almost Halloween – purple macarons!  Notice the stiff peak in the lower third of the picture – very important.

Color in the lines, students – or pipe within the flour circles.

Oops – a few tails tapped flat with a little water on the pinkie

air drying (with the help of a large fan just out of photo range)

Just baked.  Now, ignore the rough tops and LOOK AT THE FEET!  We will try for smooth tops in lesson two, but for now we celebrate the feet.

Another angle

The Viking class was French Macarons (yes, only one ‘o’) and Whoopie pies.

Our instructor is seriously stuffing this pumpkin whoopie pie

Healthy hand size whoopie pie

A final look at my first ever attempt to make French Macarons.

Our instructor suggested we refrigerate the macarons for 24 hours.  I followed the suggestion and enjoyed the slight change in texture.
The most important lesson of the night taught us to lose our fear of mixing and baking macarons. Books have been written and blogs have been posted detailing all the scary aspects of making macarons.  
I have egg whites aging on the counter as I type…
(all photos are from my iPhone – use the camera you have at hand)
#1
updated 10.24.10
Trying to achieve a smooth top on the macaron.  See blog post here.

let’s compare some ‘sandy’ sables

(the little coffee cup is 2″ tall)


What is a sable?

My CIA notebook has a recipe for Pecan Sables as follows:
cake flour
no egg
3 parts butter
1 part sugar
1 part cream
1.2 parts flour
refrigerate, slice and bake 
(these were very good)
*****
Baking and Pastry from CIA has a recipe for Sand Cookies:
all purpose flour
no egg
2.7 parts butter
1 part powdered sugar
3.8 parts flour
refrigerate, slice and bake
*****
Viking “Around the World Cookie Swap” lists French Sables Korova:
all purpose flour
no egg
chocolate
.8 part flour
1 part butter
1 part sugar
refrigerate, slice and bake
(I remember these cookies melting/dissolving in my mouth upon the first bite.)
*****
Joy of Baking lists sable ingredients as:
all purpose flour
1 parts butter
.7 part sugar
1 egg
2 parts flour
refrigerate, slice and bake
*****
Then there is the recipe I followed:
bread flour
1 part butter
.4 part powdered sugar
.2 part egg white
1.1 part flour
pipe with large star tip and bake
I chose this recipe ( ”Butter cookies-sables a la poche-sand in your pocket” found at Baked By Me) because the pictures of the sables on the I Bake What I Like blog were beautiful and quite inspiring.  I didn’t compare ingredient parts (I’ve been reading “Ratio” by Michael Ruhlman and now I’m converting everything to …parts!) ;  I just assumed a sable was a sable.  Bread flour is used in this recipe to help the cookies hold their shape when piped with a large star tip.  The cookies did pipe beautifully, and held their shape after baking.  But, the cookies did not dissolve in my mouth as other sables have.  And, the next time I bake these, I would add much more vanilla, or another flavoring. 

As I said, I baked these because they were – pretty.  I have lemon curd in the freezer.  These cookies would be quite tasty sandwiched together with lemon curd. 
(the mini cupcake holder is about 2″ wide)

I still don’t know what a sable should be…but these cookies are so cute!

under the cling wrap

Friday night – preparation for the weekend - 

What’s under the cling wrap.  The bowl is no indication.  It’s my newest batter bowl, and it was the size I needed; but, I should have used a light pink, floral bowl.   This is the cookie dough for Rose Water Almond Tea cookies that I found at Baking Obsession HERE.   I wanted to bake with rose water; I’ve found a recipe for madeleines and marshmallows using the rose water.  Watch for future posts. But, back to this cling wrap covered bowl.  The dough smells like two dozen roses sitting on my kitchen counter (I visualize them as pink roses.)  I tasted the raw dough (yes, I do taste batter containing raw eggs; I just don’t eat it by the spoon full!), and it did not taste like a flower - it didn’t taste like what I think a flower would taste like.  I’ll bake these during the weekend.
& & &
What’s under the cling wrap #2 (does this remind you of ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ – what’s behind door #2?)  Notice the old kitchen towel prop; that’s supposed to help you guess what’s under the cling wrap.  Whole Wheat Pizza Dough studded with roasted pumpkin seeds.  Process the seeds in the food processor; they give added texture to the dough.  The recipe lists sunflower seeds, but I used what I had in the freezer.  I’ll scale this into three – 8oz rounds of pizza dough, wrap each tightly in cling wrap, place in a zip lock bag, and freeze.  When I’m ready for a pizza, I’ll move the dough from the freezer to the refrigerator to the counter to rise again.
I made this dough (a similar dough) in a Viking Pizza class.  It’s so easily made in the food processor, and so much better than anything you would buy in the grocery store.

Pan-Release-Grease

This concoction holds an important place in my baking kitchen. I first learned of this mixture while attending a Viking Bakeshop Basics class.  After further research, I found a similar recipe in my “Baking and Pastry – Mastering the Art and Craft – Culinary Institute of America” textbook.

Pan release is designed to be used when baking any batter based mixture.  Forget the can of Pam; forget the ‘grease and flour the pan’ routine!  Pan Release to the rescue!
As we were told in the Viking class, “your baked goods will not stick to the pan if you use this mixture.”  The CIA textbook states that this will create a “nonstick surface.”  I have been using this since October 2008 (7 months), with 100% success.  I’m still using my original mixture; it keeps well if stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.  Initially, I erred on the side of spreading the pan release thickly.  You will need to use a generous coating on your pan, but not an excessive coating.  Too much pan release and you will have a light ‘floury film’ on your baked goods.  After you use this a couple of times, you will easily know how thickly to apply the pan release.
Add this ‘recipe’ to your files today.  
Ingredients:
The Viking class recipe stated:  Use equal portions of Crisco, flour, and Vegetable Oil; store in refrigerator.
I followed the CIA instructions as listed on page 826 of the above mentioned book.  
1 lb / 454g Shortening (I used Crisco)
1 lb/ 454g Bread Flour
1 lb/ 454g Vegetable Oil (I used Crisco Oil)
Mix the shortening and flour; gradually add the oil until all is well mixed.  Store in the refrigerator.
Happy No-Stick Baking!