When I came across this recipe for Hazelnut-Mocha Macaroons I immediately thought, “Yum!” and then “Cripes, only 8 ingredients? This can’t be very hard!” These would be my famous last words.*
As I mentioned in my last post, these Macaroons were for a special Christmas party. Unfortunately, I decided not to do any prep the night before and didn’t leave myself very much time for what was surprisingly the VERY time consuming task of peeling Hazelnuts. After attempting to toast and peel to no avail, I searched the interwebs and found this tip attributed to one of Julia Child’s cooking shows: Add 3 tablespoons of baking soda to 2 cups boiling water. Add the nuts and boil for about 3 minutes. Cool the nuts in ice water, then peel. If you liked science labs as much as I did as a kid you’ll love this – as soon as you add the baking soda to the water it looks like an erupting volcano…plus it works! The only bad part is after you boil them you have to peel each hazelnut individually, and the skin gets stuck to your fingers. I ended up having a bowl of water next to my peeling laboratory where I rinsed my hands after every 5-10 nuts.
Ok, so by the time I was actually ready to start making the recipe I was already kind of tired thanks to the nut peeling. Plus, I was simultaneously working on making the bread pudding. So, I may not have been as meticulous following the rest of the recipe which can be really bad when you are making anything meringue-like. I also did not have a piping bag to create the cookie rounds. Instead of 32 rounds on my baking sheet, I ended up with 16 – so not only were they bigger than they should have been, the flavor was really concentrated.
I also may have gone overboard on the “mocha” flavor for the filling. I didn’t have instant espresso, but I did have Starbuck’s instant coffee – I thought the coffee would be less intense than espresso, so I didn’t change the measurement thinking my mix would just be a little less strong. Well, I thought wrong, the coffee flavor was so intense that only a few people who tried a bite were able to finish their macaroon.
This may not have been my most successful bl-aking adventure, but I did learn some good lessons: Don’t leave prep time to the last minute, and follow the recipe (I know real ground-breaking stuff on this blog)!
* Not really…but making this super dramatic seems more fun.