Welcome to my most intimidating moment in the kitchen, the macaron. I’ve been reading about these little puppies forever in foodie-land, and was SO discouraged by the directions that I put it off. But, you know what? They aren’t that hard. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they’re pretty darn easy – you just have to follow the directions.
I would recommend a digital scale for these to measure the ingredients, although I just saw someone make them on the Food Network that made them with volume measurements, so who knows how necessary a scale really is. I can only speak from my experience, and so far I’ve only weighed them, so that’s what I’m going with.
These are not maca-ROONS, they aren’t the coconut cookies that we’re accustomed to here. These are a french pastry-cookie – crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. You can make them in a million different flavors, colors and with a variety of fillings – you’re really only limited by your imagination! These are a relatively basic macaron, so I started with them. They’re super rich, but light at the same time – next time I’ll probably ease up on the espresso flavor in the ganache, but that’s just a personal preference. Just promise me that you won’t be intimidated by these and try them! You’ll find yourself in front of your oven doing a little dance when you see them puff up and ‘grow feet’…and the feeling of accomplishment, at least for me, is worth the effort.
110 g blanched almonds
200 g minus 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (Dutch Process is recommended, but I used regular)
3 egg whites (about 100 g), aged a day, room temperature (I put 6 eggwhites in a covered bowl on the counter top, overnight.)
50 g sugar
Weigh all of your ingredients and have them ready to go in their own individual bowls. Get out your food processor. Put the almonds, cocoa powder and powdered sugar into the processor and pulse until the almonds are finely ground. VERY FINELY GROUND.
In the clean bowl of your stand mixer (use lemon juice to clean it out, any trace of grease will deflate your egg whites), whip your egg whites until they are foamy. Slowly, begin to add your sugar while whipping, continuing until a glossy meringue forms – don’t let it get dry. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the almond mixture to the egg mixture. Working quickly, fold the mixture together until no streaks of white remain, and until the batter flows away from your spatula and “ribbons” for 5 seconds. Take care not to overwork the batter, you’ll deflate your meringue.
Add the mixture to a piping bag with a large round tip. Pipe 1.5-2inch rounds onto a silpat baking mat in a large “dollop”, about an inch apart. Using your fingertip, smooth out any peaks on top of your rounds. Let the macarons sit out on your counter top for about an hour to develop a shell before baking.
While they are drying, preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until “feet” form and they puff up. Let them cool completely before removing from baking sheet. Depending on your oven, baking times may widely vary. I baked mine for 14 minutes.
Prepare your filling.
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp instant espresso powder
Heat the cream and butter in the microwave for 90 seconds. Stir in sugar to dissolve. Pour chocolate and espresso into bowl and whisk until smooth. Store in refrigerator, stirring occasionally, until piping consistency is met. Pour ganache into a piping bag and fill macaroons with a generous dollop and sandwich (gently) together.
Recipe thanks to userealbutter.com