Goat’s Feet… a Sweet Treat

Yeah, so what’s with the Goat’s Feet being a sweet treat, right? I mean, really, goat’s feet? Uh huh.

I think I’ve mentioned somewhere in the past that I come from a Dutch background. One of my very first jobs was in a Dutch bakery and that’s where I learned about a delicious cookie that translates as Goat’s Feet. In Dutch, they’re called Bokkepootjes and if you come from a Dutch background, you’re probably familiar with this delicious almond sandwich cookie that’s filled with buttercream, with the ends dipped in chocolate.

The reason behind the name is that, once the ends are dipped in chocolate, apparently they look like … you guessed it…. goat’s feet. They’re a lot tastier, though.

The cookies start with egg whites, sugar, and a pinch of salt, beaten to stiff peaks.

Then, the almonds and icing sugar are carefully mixed in. Sound familiar? So far, the process is almost the same as macarons. However, once the almonds and icing sugar are incorporated, the flour and vanilla are folded in to the mixture.

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Once carefully blended, the cookies are piped into finger shapes onto parchment lined sheets, sprinkled with sliced almonds and baked.

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While the cookies are baking and cooling, the Baker’s cream, the base for the buttercream, is made using egg yolks, sugar, milk, a vanilla bean, and a little corn starch. Once done, the mixture is allowed to cool completely.

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To finish making the buttercream, softened butter (the butter really does need to be very soft!) and powdered sugar are beaten until light and fluffy. Then, the Baker’s cream is mixed in by tablespoon until the mixture is well mixed and fluffy.

At this point, the buttercream is piped onto half the cookies; the cookies are assembled, then dipped into chocolate.

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After dipping into the chocolate, they’re placed back on to parchment lined sheets and allowed to rest until the chocolate has hardened.

That’s it! Goat’s Feet Cookies…. Bokkepootjes… a true Dutch treat. They really need a better name, don’t they? Really, though, why should it be just the Dutch who get to enjoy these? They’re not difficult to make and they’re SO good! (They should have a different name, though… I mean, Goat’s Feet??)

To download the recipe, just click………. bokkepootjes-english.

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And Then, There’s Swiss

In what is beginning to feel like a never-ending quest for perfection, I’ve realized that there is a third method for making French macarons. When I made the Grapefruit Macarons, I didn’t realize that they used this method, also called the Swiss Meringue Macarons. The difference in this method is that the egg whites and sugar are mixed together, then heated au bain marie (double boiler method) until the sugar has melted and incorporated into the whites, then beaten to stiff peaks before adding the icing sugar and almond.

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Perspective does strange things… my whisk is NOT that long and skinny. Honest!

In doing even more reading, I found that this method is the least well known of the three but is more stable than the French method and more delicate than the Italian method. Of course, you know that I had to give it another go, right? I’m stubborn that way.

I found a couple of online pdfs, one from Chef Joseph Cumm, and another from Chef Ryan Zimmer; both recipes are similar in their ratios. This time, I’m following Chef Joseph’s recipe. I’ll be adding red powdered food colouring to the batter and will be filling them with a raspberry chocolate ganache (already made and cooling). His pdf even has a troubleshooting guide at the end.

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The tops are a little rough looking; I probably should have whizzed the almonds and icing sugar before running them through the sieve but I like to live dangerously. Coming out of the oven, the shells are very fragile and I wasn’t, apparently, very careful.

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Once I let them cool, they were better. I learned a little “trick” on one of the (many) videos I watched – push the bottoms in a bit. It gives more room for filling and pushes the insides up to the top, helping to fill in the hollows.

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I filled these with dark chocolate raspberry ganache.

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I’m not sure how long I can wait before trying these. I have to say, making macarons can be a bit confusing. In everything I’ve read, there’s been conflicting information. The oven’s too hot. The oven’s too cool. The meringue is over beaten. The meringue is under beaten. The macaronage isn’t processed enough. The macaronage is processed too much.

Will I ever reach macaron perfection? Does it really matter? No matter how they look, they still taste the same. Will I keep making them? Oh yeah. As often as I have over the past few weeks? I don’t think so.

But I WILL keep researching.

 

Macarons – Throwing Caution to the Wind

Armed with everything I’ve learned this week, I decided to throw all caution to the wind. I broke numerous macaron “rules”, like the one that dictates you have to incorporate your sugar and almonds by hand; like the one that says to allow your macarons to dry slightly; like the one that says you need to age your eggs or use room temperature whites. Yup, I broke those. So, what are the results you ask? Mixed, I’d say.

As for using room temperature, aged egg whites, I really don’t think it matters all that much. My egg whites beat up just fine (forgot to add a pinch of salt), as I was pretty sure they would (see here). I took it slowly, working my way up to full speed, adding colour before I got to the peak stage (I used FD&C powdered colour as that’s what I have in house). Then, I used the mixer to incorporate (just barely) the icing sugar/almond mixture. I stopped as soon as everything was mixed. I finished up by hand and may have gone a touch too far. I also made this batch larger than I have so far, just cuz.

Then I baked. They cracked. Boy, did they crack! The first batch I baked didn’t get any feet; they also hadn’t rested to develop a skin.

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The second batch has feet but also has cracks. At this point, they’d rested for about 15-20 minutes and were tacky to the touch.

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The third tray looks the best of the three, less cracking, nice looking feet. These had rested approximately 30 -35 minutes and were almost dry to the touch.

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So what have I learned? Some things are important. From here on in, I will let them dry, to develop that skin. It definitely seems to help. I think I will blend the sugar/almond mixture by hand. There’s a level of satisfaction in the mixing. It isn’t a chore; it’s almost therapeutic. As for the egg whites, I really don’t think it matters whether they’re cold or room temperature, fresh or aged. I think the amount of the egg whites is more important than the age. As I said earlier, in a previous blog post, if you’re going to err with the weight of the egg whites, err on the side of less rather than more.

I’m still on a quest to make the perfect macaron; I’ll keep posting about it, at least until I’m comfortable with what I’m doing. Some times, though, you just have to throw caution to the wind. It’s part of the learning.

My takeaway, at this point in the process, is not to worry too much about perfection. Sure, try for it but, you know what? Even though they don’t look perfect, they sure do taste good!

P.S. These will be filled with a White Chocolate Raspberry Ganache… at this point, it’s still firming up.