The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macaroons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.
This was my first run at making macaroons so I wasn't sure how far to go with experimentation. Aside from staying close to the Gramercy Tavern recipe, Ami's only rule was that we use a filling for the cookies. With it being Fall right now, I decided I wanted to do something with pumpkin and ginger. I'm really happy with the flavors and would definitely make these again, although I lost the volume and texture in the egg white step - they came out pretty thin. Next time around I will stick with granulated sugar for that part. A very easy recipe though - see steps below:
The important step is whipping your eggs whites to stiff peaks and keeping them that way after adding the granulated sugar. You can see by the photo above that mine fell by the time I incorporated the flour mixture into them. Here's the thing: Make sure your eggs whites are at room temp as the recipe says. I did this and they started out perfect. However, where the recipe called for white granulated sugar, I substituted brown sugar to give it more of a gingersnap flavor. I realize now that there was probably too much moisture in the brown sugar which cost me the pillowy consistency and trademark "feet" on the bottom.
You'll want the rounds as close in shape as can be since you will be matching them together with filling. I used a cake decorating bag with 1/2" tip to pipe the batter onto the sheets. Another important step: Be sure to line your bakeware with parchment paper if you want these to remove intact.
So I cheated a bit in that I didn't make my filling from scratch. Trader Joe makes this amazing pumpkin butter that is perfect on pancakes, bread, toast, pretty much everything. If you've never tried it, let me assure you there's not actual butter in it, it's a blend of pumpkin and spices in spreadable consistency - just like apple butter. It was the perfect compliment to the ginger and cinnamon in the macaroons. Note: You may view the full cookie recipe here.
Be sure to check out the other Daring Kitchen posts - there are some really creative combinations! I've noticed espresso, chocolate, cherry, mint, and even green tea versions posted so far. Great job everyone.