Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Almond Rochers for ATXSwappers, Round #2

For the second ATXSwappers meetup I made homemade dog biscuits, sourdough French bread from Tartine Bread's recipe, and rochers (see recipe below).

There were almost twice as many participants for the second meetup- apparently word got around after the first swap. The amount and quality of the swap offerings was truly amazing. We have some crazy talented cooks here in Austin. If you’re interested in checking out the swappage action, Jo Ann posted a great video.

When swapping time rolled around, it was tough to choose from all the gorgeous offerings and I missed out on quite a few items I would have liked. I did go home with a beautiful bouquet of herbs from Susan, homemade oreos and pop tarts from Andrea, Kathryn’s whole wheat beer bread mix, Kristina’s meyer lemon and blood orange sorbets, JW’s peanut butter semifreddo and poundcake, Gemma and Michael’s millionaire’s shortbread and marshmallows, and some awesome benne wafers and biscotti.

Kathryn's Milk Chocolate Chai Truffles

Austin is now in a full-on swapping frenzy as evidenced by the fact that the third swap filled up the first day the invite went out. I’m sitting out the February swap in order to allow others to participate in the fun but I’ll be back soon enough. In the meantime, I’m enjoying all the delicious goodies I brought home.

I wasn't able to snag a bottle of Limoncello but I got to sample it and it was divine!

Susan's majoram infused vodka above and her mini fougasse below

adapted from Tartine

I’ve made rochers previously but didn’t include the recipe in the old post so here it is. I decided to make the crunchier, drier version of rochers this time. Rochers can be baked at a higher oven temp so that just the outer layer of the meringue is crispy - when you bite into one, the center of the meringue is cooked but still on the gooey side. I tend to prefer the dryer version but I was a little sad these rochers were missing the pretty cracking and coloring that occurs when the rochers are baked at a higher temp. For my next batch, I think I’ll tinker and increase the oven temperature somewhat but still see if I can bake the rochers long enough to dry out the meringue.

1 c ( 4 ounces) sliced almonds, toasted
2 egg whites
2/3 t vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 c confectioners' sugar, sifted

1. Preheat the oven to 200º Fahrenheit. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Use a rolling pin to coarsely breakup the toasted almonds into 1/4-inch pieces and set aside.
2. Add vanilla, salt, and the egg whites to the bowl of an electric mixer and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites until frothy and then slowly add the confectioner sugar. Continue to whip until stiff, glossy peaks form. By hand, using a spatula, fold in the almond pieces. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a No. 6 or No. 7 plain round pastry tip. On the prepared baking sheet, pipe out mounds shaped similar to a Hershey’s Kiss about 1 1/4 inches at the base, with a peak about 2 inches high. Leave approximately 1/2-inch space between each cookie. Have a toothpick or some such handy as larger pieces of the broken almonds pieces may stick in the pastry tip and need to be dislodged. (You can also skip the pastry bag and drop spoonfuls of the meringue onto the pan.)
3. Place the rochers in the oven with a wooden spoon inserted in the oven door opening so that it remains slightly ajar. Bake rochers until the meringue has completely dried, about 50-60 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


  1. Shelley! Happy belated Valentine's Day! Your rochers look wonderful-love how you packaged them. I have never made them before. The swappers meetup looks like tons of fun. ahh, that limoncello!) I wonder if Houston has one of those--going to look into it. Your photos are lovely, btw.

  2. Lately, I seem to keep reading about desserts involving broken meringues or rochers stacked and layered with fruit and custard or whipped cream. And as a result, I keep wanting meringues! These sound great with the sliced almonds.

  3. @Nina- There is a Bay Area/Houston swap group. You should check out their page (BAH Swappers) on FaceBook to see when they next meet. It's a blast- you'll love it.

    @Lisa and Delphine- Thanks ladies!

  4. I dont think I've come across these, is this some type of meringue? I totally want to try one.
    Hope you had a great valentines day.
    *kisses* HH

  5. Your rochers look wonderful and I found the rest of your post fascinating. Your photos are really terrific. I hope you enjoy all that good food that came your way via the swap. Have a great day. Blessings...Marywas

  6. Hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day. Your sweet treats look beautiful. The meringues looks simple, yet delicious :-Þ

  7. Shelley! Thanks so much for circling back w/ the H-town info! Really appreciate it. Will DEFINITELY check it out--looks like alot of fun. Thanks again :)

  8. Thanks for a lovely post... I need to find out about ATX Foodswappers - looks fantastic! As do your rochers!!!

  9. @HH, Mary, Jackie, and UrMOm- Thanks ladies!

  10. Shelly

    This swap event sounds wonderful! I wonder if there's something like that in San Francisco. Everything looks really interesting and tasty.

  11. @Stevie- There is an East Bay Area swap group. Check out the blog at http://ebcaswaps.blogspot.com/.

    You should join in- it's a blast!

  12. Great ATXswappers photos. I didn't think to take any and these are lovely.

  13. I want to be in on that ATXswappers action next time... :)

  14. @Sarah- You should definitely join the swap group- we'd love to see you there. ATX Swappers has a FaceBook page where they announce monthly dates and locations. The swaps fill up quickly so be sure jump on it.