Monday, January 2, 2012

Chocolate French Macarons

My first time eating French Macarons was fairly recent: about a year ago. And I couldn't get the taste out of my head. I couldn't believe I had gone without these delicious, tiny, scrumptious treats for so long. As I gained experience baking I thought to myself, if only I could make a French Macaron. I read recipes that indicated it was a difficult process, one that I wasn't sure I could handle. But as long as you follow the recipe and read a little bit on the technique they can be replicated in your own kitchen. A dangerous discovery for me to make.

I decided to start off easy and go with a more simple Chocolate Macaron and save the more fanciful recipes until I was sure I was doing it right. Next time I'll be making Pistachio. I found almond meal at Trader Joe's and ground it up a little more fine with powdered sugar and cocoa in the food processor. You can also grind your own, just make sure you don't turn it into almond butter, which I read can be a problem. Make sure to sift the ground mixture really well. You don't want heavy macarons.

Chocolate French Macarons
Adapted from "Chocolate Macaroons" in "Macaroons"

1/4 cup ground almonds
Scant cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup superfine sugar (you can make your own in the food processor)

100 grams semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream

1) Put ground almonds, powdered sugar, and cocoa into the food processor and blend for about 15 seconds then sift into a large bowl
2) Whip egg whites (you can add a pinch of cream of tartar if you want) until they hold soft peaks, then gradually beat in superfine sugar to make a firm, glossy meringue
3) Gently fold almond mixture into the meringue, a little at a time until incorporated
4) Pour the batter into a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch plain tip attached. Pipe 32 small circles onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. When finished, gently tap the baking sheets to release any air bubbles. Then let the macarons sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to let the macarons outer shell harden to prevent cracking
5) Preheat oven to 325 F and bake macarons for 10-15 minutes, rotating pans after 5 minutes, check after 8 minutes. Macarons will be ready when they no longer stick to parchment paper. Let cool slightly on pans then let cool completely on cooling racks
6) To make the ganache filling heat the heavy cream then pour over chopped chocolate stirring until melted. Place in refrigerator and let harden until firm, about 1 hour, but check every once in a while, you don't want it too firm
7) Sandwich macarons together with ganache filling and enjoy!

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