Chocolate Macarons on a Grey Day
For our wedding, we made three different kinds of macarons and wrapped them up with ribbon as favors. It was our first time making them and really, it was a miracle it wasn’t a complete disaster. In everything we read on the matter, everyone warned they were tricky. Maybe the macaroon gods just didn’t want our wedding favors to be ruined because they all turned out beautifully. We’ve experimented with all sorts of different flavors from fluer de sel and caramel to pepper mint and candy cane pieces. They do however take time and patience to make. It can be a tedious process, but well worth it: macarons with a perfect pied that have a crisp outer shell and are delightfully soft and chewy inside. If Jade didn’t stop me from doing so, I’m pretty sure I could eat an entire batch in one sitting.
On this particular day, we were in need of chocolate…
Ingredients for Macarons:
3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
1 1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
2/3 Cup Almond Flour
3 Room Temperature Egg Whites
6 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
Ingredients for Ganache Filling:
4 Oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate (chopped or in chip form)
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp butter
Sieve (Flour Sifter) with Medium Mesh
2 Baking Sheets
2 Large Bowls
Pastry Bag with 0.4 Inch Tip
Making the Ganache:
Place the chocolate into a medium glass bowl. Heat the cream in a medium sauce pan until it starts to bubble. Add the cream to the chocolate slowly. Add the butter until mixture is smooth. Set in fridge for 35 to 40 minutes.
Making the Cookies:
To start, if you do not have a non-stick macaron cookie form like we do, cut a piece of parchment that can fit on a baking sheet, draw 1 inch circles each at least a quarter inch apart across the paper. Use the top of the 0.4 inch piping tip (the large end) to draw these circles.
In a large bowl mix the almond flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder together. Put that dry mixture into a food processor and pulse several times, just to decrease clumps and grind up the granules of the almond mixture. The finer the mixture is, the better the cookies will turn out but be sure to not over pulse. You don’t want to create almond butter! Remove the mixture from the processor and sift it through a sieve, TWICE. Set it aside.
In another large bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed with an electric mixer. Gradually add the granulated sugar to the mixture until it is completely combined. Beat eggs until they create stiff, lustrous white peaks. Congratulations, you just made meringue! Now add half of the dry mixture to the meringue and gently fold it in with a spatula. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl before adding more dry mixture. Then add another quarter of the dry mixture and fold it in. Repeat this process until it is all incorporated and turns into a nice thick, frothy mixture.
The next step is one of my favorites. It can get messy depending on how you go about it though. If you are alone, put the pastry bag with tip inserted into a tall glass and turn the top of the bag around the edges of the glass and pour the batter mixture in. If you have two pairs of hands like us, have one person hold the bag open and one pour or spoon generous portions into it until it is about half full. If you have a clip for the top of your pastry bag, clip it up. If you do not, seal the top the best you can with your hand.
Place the macaron form or parchment on one cookie sheet. Squeeze small circles out into the appropriate areas. Small because the batter will likely spread out a bit. After all spaces have been filled, gently tap the pan on your counter to aid in settling the batter. Let this rest on your counter, uncovered to dry for 15 minutes. Preheat your oven on 375 degrees. If your oven runs hot, 350 degrees will do.
After time is up, stack the baking sheets. Why? Because it helps the bottom of the cookies not burn while in the oven. Carefully set the sheets into the middle of the oven for 6 minutes. Then turn the sheets around in the oven to aid them in baking evenly, for another 6 minutes. Check in on your cookies to make sure they do not turn too dark before the time is up. Take them out and let them cool about a half hour before removing them from the sheet.
Making the Macaron:
Remove the ganache from the fridge and stir until spreadable. Spread about an 1/8 inch of ganache on a cookie and place another cookie gently on top of the ganached cookies. Now, CONSUME!
*Macaron recipe adapted from the book I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita.