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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Chocolate Macarons

If you’re looking for an easy recipe for Valentine’s Day, then this is definitely not the recipe for you. I am not going to lie; these little guys take a lot of patience and love. And I mean, lots of love. And patience. Plus it helps if you’re slightly obsessive about macarons. After spending weeks of researching these cute yet incredibly intimidating and finicky cookies, I went with a trusted source: Annie’s Eats. She has a wonderful tutorial that (almost) guarantees the success of your macarons. I say almost because there are a variety of things that potentially could go wrong, so it is important to follow the instructions precisely. What I can say is that you can still eat the ones that didn’t turn out and they will still taste amazing! Regardless of whether or not you succeed-it’s okay. Practice makes perfect.

Anyway, back to the cookies. I did not make any changes to this recipe as this was my first time with them and wanted to get the feel of the technique. It is important to use a digital scale in order to measure out the correct quantity, as well as using a food processor and strainer to ensure your almonds are ground extremely fine. The eggs whites do need to be aged at room temperature for 12-24 hrs. Yes it seems ridiculous, but I really can’t mess with a good thing right?

You can make them in various types of flavors, but I thought I would start with chocolate. It’s slightly disturbing how fast these cookies disappeared, but c’est la vie. The idea of having a filling stuffed in-between these cookies is simply ingenious. They definitely taste better after a day, if they last that long! 

Chocolate Marcarons

For the Macarons
110 grams blanched almonds  (I used slivered almonds)
200 grams minus 2 tbsps powdered sugar
2 tbsps cocoa powder (I used Dutch processed)
3 egg whites (about 100 grams), aged 12-24 hours at room temp
50 grams sugar

For the Espresso Ganache
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsps unsalted butter
2 tbsps granulated sugar
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp instant espresso powder

For the Macarons
Add the almonds in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and pulse until well-blended. Use a strainer to ensure almonds are finely ground.

Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy and gradually add the granulated sugar while whipping until a stiff, dry, shiny meringue forms.

Add the almond mixture to the bowl with meringue and quickly (but gently) incorporate the mixture with a rubber spatula into the meringue until no streaks remain, but don’t overbeat. You want to achieve a batter that flows and “ribbons” for at least 5 seconds.

Line the baking sheets with silicone mats or alternatively, use parchment paper. Transfer the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe small rounds, approximately 1-1/2 inches in a diameter, and leave 1 inch in between rounds. Take hold of the sheet pan and hit it hard against the counter. This will remove any air bubbles. Sit at room temperature for an hour; it will let the macaron develop a hard shell.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake 8-10 minutes, depending on size. Cool completely before removing macarons off the pan.

For the Espresso Ganache
Heat the heavy cream, butter, sugar in a small saucepan on medium-high sweet and bring to a boil. Bring the mixture to a boil. Place the 8 ounces of chopped semisweet chocolate and 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder in a heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and espresso. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir until smooth. Keep at room temperature until it is thick enough to pipe.

*Macarons may be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator. I found that the flavors were better balanced after a day. Sit at room temperature prior to serving (no one likes a cold cookie!)

Source: As seen on Annie’sEats, via Use Real Butter, who adapted it from Tartellete 

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