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.

Macs and Ovens

My oven is giving me grief. I set it 75º lower than the temperature I want and it’s 25º higher than I want! How on earth am I supposed to have any success making macarons with an oven that’s even more finicky than the macarons I’m trying to bake??

Oven aside, I decided to give macarons another try this weekend. This time, I’m making Pistachio Macarons with Pistachio Cream Filling, another recipe I found through Pinterest. For the first time since starting on this adventure, I’m not using the basic recipe I’ve been using so far. This time, I’m following the recipe for the Pistachio Macarons exactly as written. As of right now, as I’m writing, they’ve been in the oven for a few minutes (5 or so) and already have feet! I mentioned in my last post that I was going to follow the advice of numerous bloggers and place another baking sheet on the lower rack of my oven because, in addition to not being able to control the heat, this oven also bakes unevenly.

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Two sheets, ready to bake… for a total of 26 completed macarons

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You can see that they’ve dried somewhat and are ready for baking.

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Feet… we have feet! (I tried to adjust the colour… unsuccessfully. In reality, they’re a lovely pale shade of green.

All that’s left to do now is to make the Pistachio Cream filling. Silly me, I thought about taking butter out of the freezer last night but totally forgot by the time bedtime came around. I now have to wait for the butter to soften enough that I can cut off what I need. They may not be filled until later today (I don’t think that’s an issue). Early this afternoon, we’ll be going to my daughter’s to help supervise my grandson’s eighth birthday party. The filling likely won’t be made until after we’re back… possibly even tomorrow.

… and a couple of hours later, the Pistachio Macarons are cooling their heels in the fridge.

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I decided to roll them in crushed pistachios for that little extra pop of pistachio flavour (colour’s still off).

I did make the filling; I found a way of hurrying the butter along. That is a seriously delicious filling! It isn’t overly sweet, which makes me happy. I’m really not excited about tooth achingly sweet things.

From what I’ve seen so far (haven’t tasted a completed macaron yet), they look amazing but I think I have a bit of hollowness again. As John said, though, considering the oven I’m working with, they are what they are. With a better oven, I know I’d have better results. Incidentally, placing the extra baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven did seem to make a difference. The feet throughout the entire batch are pretty much the same, a first.

Will I make these again? Oh yeah! Having tasted each of the components, I can’t wait to try the whole.

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Macarons – First Try

I made my first attempt at macarons this week. Yes, I know I said I would be trying them on the weekend but when the urge strikes, you go with it. So I did. I also journalled about the process. Today’s post will be taken directly from what I wrote. Without further ado…

January 11, 2017

Macarons. It’s a word that elicits oooohs and OH! from many. Most who oooooh do so because they know how tasty these delicate little cookies are –  crunchy exterior, soft interior, melt in your mouth decadence.

dscn0430Those who response is more along the lines of OH! know that they can be finicky to make. Humidity and weather can affect the cookies. Ovens vary. Ingredients should be the best available. Newbies should quake in their boots.

I don’t know about all that. This coming weekend I’ll be trying my hand at this French classic. I’ve made croissants; macarons can’t be that difficult, can they?

10:15 p.m.

Okay, not difficult but certainly “moody”. The first attempt has been made and, though delicious, I’d classify them as dismal. I will try again on the weekend. In the meantime, I’ll do more reading.

Now, to bed.

January 12, 2017 a.m.

Thinking and analyzing, two things strike me.

  1. Oven temp for the first batch was too high (325ºF); oven temp for the second batch was too low (200ºF).
  2. Too much moisture in the egg whites, hence the “aging” in a lot of the recipes I’ve seen.

I’ve seen a few people suggest adding a bit of egg white powder to help with the latter. It may be something to have on hand.

January 12, 2017 p.m.

When I got home this evening, I decided to bake off the last bit of the macaron batter. Brainchild that I am, I forgot to let them develop a skin, to dry out a bit before baking. Basically, they’re not much more than flat macaroons. 

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Oh well. A bit of salted caramel sauce makes almost anything taste amazing.

 

A couple of lessons have already been learned. First, my oven is a piece of crap. We know it runs hot; we just didn’t know how hot. Last night, we purchased an oven thermometer. This morning, I set the oven to 150ºF just to warm it. The thermometer read almost 250ºF! To say I was a little shocked is an understatement! I will definitely need to monitor the temperature of my oven if my macarons are to be successful.

Second, when measuring my egg whites, err on the side of less rather than more and make sure to age them. The recipe I used called for 120 grams of egg whites, or the egg whites from approximately three large egg whites. Well, three egg whites was less that 120 grams; four egg whites was more than 120 grams. I went with four; I should have gone with three. As well, I should have aged them. What’s aging? According to most of the recipes I’ve read, to age your egg whites, you put them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, poke some holes in the wrap and allow your eggs to mellow out in the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours, or up to five days. It helps to evaporate some of the water in the egg whites and loosens the structure of the albumen.

I know I’m making it sound as if my first attempt was an abject failure. It wasn’t, really. The resulting cookies (they don’t qualify as macarons yet) were amazingly delicious. I gave John one filled with grape jelly; he didn’t care much for that one. When he saw that I was filling mine with salted caramel sauce, he tried one, too. He immediately let me know that the salted caramel sauce would not be lasting long. Truly, they taste great even though they’re not proper macarons… yet.