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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Macarons – Round Four: Perfection?

After reading the article I linked to in Macarons – Round Two, I decided to try using my mixer to integrate the sugar/almond mixture. I wasn’t sure how it would work until I came across the following video (it’s in French but it isn’t difficult to follow).

I do love listening to “real” French; it’s the French I learned in high school. I could understand quite a bit of the video but I wish I could understand more of it. I kept wanting to say “lentement, plus lentement” (slower, much slower).

As in the video, I added some colour to the last batch because I remembered that I still had some FD&C powdered colours. You’ve read the results of the above experiment in my last post. Armed now with everything I’ve learned, I’m ready for Round Four.

I decided this time, I would try Lemon Macarons. I went shopping this morning and picked up a couple of gel colours at our local Bulk Barn; I picked up some brown, red, and yellow, thinking I could mix colours to make new colours (a la artiste using paints). Silly me, I forgot to get the blue. Ah well, the store’s not that far out of my way and I’m there fairly regularly. I’ll just have to remember to pick some up next time.

So how did it go, you ask? Well, not perfection but better than most of the macarons I’ve made so far. To be honest, I think I could have mixed the batter just a little more; it may have been a bit thick.

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Some of them developed feet, others didn’t. Some are hollow, others aren’t. I have a feeling, too, that I may be taking them out of the oven too soon. I should probably leave them a little longer or turn the oven up just slightly. Thank goodness I have an oven thermometer now; it’s definitely made a difference in our baking and cooking. I mean, we knew it ran hot but we had no idea it was even hotter than we’d realized.

I’m sort of following a recipe with these Triple Lemon macarons (links below); sort of because I am, and have been using, the same recipe for all the macarons I’ve made so far. I’m making the lemon buttercream in the Triple Lemon macarons recipe and, instead of using supermarket lemon curd, I’m making my own using an Alton Brown recipe.

Again, it’s a learning process. It definitely takes a few batches (or more) to learn what the perfect texture for the batter is. I’m pretty happy with this batch, though.

That said, I’m still aiming for perfection!

Recipes used in the making of these macarons:

  1. Alton Brown’s Lemon Curd
  2. The Blond Buckeye’s Triple Lemon Macarons (Lemon Buttercream recipe)
  3. Step by Step Guide to French Macarons at Sally’s Baking Addiction 

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.