Chocolate Macarons

The only thing that could possibly improve the macaron is with chocolate.  Ever since my last post about macarons, I’ve improved my technique a bit, and I’m proud to say I can successfully make them almost every time.  Now the only thing left for me to do in the macaron world besides mastering the cookie, of course, is to make every flavor known to man.  I decided to start with something simple, the chocolate macaron.  

Chocolate macarons are just like the original, just with a couple grams of cocoa powder added in.  However, the real star of the chocolate taste is not in the cookie itself, but in the chocolate used for the filling!  So use high quality chocolate, such as Ghardelli, to fill these sweet treats.  After all, you don’t want to ruin your French pastry work with some cheap, artificial, chocolate right?

The ingredients this time are a little bit different.  I’ve switched my recipe around and I’ve started to look between ratios of 1.5-1.7 of almond flour, eggs, and sugar.  The result?  For me, these ratios are much better than my original recipe.  But, remember that what works in my kitchen might not work in yours!  I’ve also started to use the convection option when baking macarons to bake 2 trays at one time.  With the convection option, the air is blown around the oven evenly, thus baking the macarons evenly and you don’t have to worry about taking the macarons out halfway through baking and rotating them.

Please try these macarons!  Don’t be intimidated by the baking websites out there that doom that the macaron is impossible for the average baker to make.  They’re not that hard.  Just a few ingredients.  What matters it the technique.  After a couple times of practicing, I promise that you’ll get the hand of it.

(And I’m saying this from experience, of course)

Ingredients

For about 20 1-inch sandwhich cookies

  • 100 grams of room temperature egg whites
  • 100 grams of almond flour
  • 170 grams of powdered sugar
  • About 15 grams of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 35 grams of granulated white sugar

Directions

1.  Line 2 cookie pans with parchment paper.  Preheat your oven to 300 degrees, on convection.

2.  Weigh out your ingredients.  Weighing is much more accurate than taking measurements by volume.  And for such a finicky cookie like the macaron, you want to be exact.

2.  Sift together your almond meal powdered sugar, and chocolate.  This eliminates lumps in your macarons and ensure the smoothest, shiniest tops on your macarons.  After you’ve sifted the almond meal, powdered sugar and chocolate together, just simply fold the mixture together with a rubber spatula.  3.  Add cream of tartar into the egg whites to begin whipping.  Cream of tartar helps to stablize the protein in the egg whites and creates a wonderful merigune.  It also speeds up the whipping processes!  With small batches of macarons, I prefer to use a hand mixer and a separate to beat my egg whites.  It’s just too small to beat in my stand mixer, and it takes so much time because the whisk attachment barely touches the tip of the egg mixture. While whisking, gradually add sugar into the egg whites as they begin to foam up.  Don’t skimp on sugar for macarons!  Sugar also helps to stabilize the meringue.  Reducing sugar only increases the risk of failed macarons.  Whip the egg whites for about 5 minutes, or until they form medium peaks.  I find that this is the best consistency to whip to.  Stiff peaks that clump inside the whisk yield hallows as there is still air inside the macaron while it bakes.
4.  Now it’s time to being the macaronage, the most important step in the macaron making process.  This is the step where most beginners mess up.  Macaronage is the folding of egg whites and an almond mixture to make the macaron batter.  I like to add in my dry ingredients in 3 additions.  That way, I don’t accidentally over mix the macarons.

Add in 1/3 of the dry ingredients.  Begin folding with sort of a scoop and press motion.  Don’t be afraid to put in some flair and power into this step.  The point of the macaronage is to knock out air from the egg whites so that the macaron bakes flat in the oven. Fold for about 10-12 scoops.  Remember to get the bottoms and sides too! Add in another 1/3 of the almond mixture.  Fold an additional 10-12 times.  Add in the final amount of the flour mixture.  Fold for about 20-22 more strokes. You’ve folded enough when the batter resembles a lava like consistency, and it’s got enough strength to pile up on its own, and fall back into the mixture after 30 seconds.  5.  Fill a piping bag with a large round tip.  This is completely optional of course.  You could use a plain pastry bag, or even a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off!  Begin piping the macarons in even 1 inch circles, with about an inch of spacing in between them.

Just pipe directly down and release pressure to finish your circle! The macarons have been beaten enough when the tops fall back on their own.  They’ve been overbeaten when the macaron batter resembles pancake batter and the circles are quite flat.  7.  Rap the pan hard on the counter or floor a couple of times to release any left over air bubbles inside the macarons.  These air bubbles create hallows and ugly cracks!  Immediately, pop the air bubbles with a toothpick.  8. Leave the macarons out until they are dry to the touch.  This step depends on the humidity and temperature of the day.  Be careful not to leave them out too long, or else the feet that mark a successful macaron will not appear while baking.  Leaving the macarons to dry lets them rise upward in the oven, rather then out.  It also eliminates hallows! 9.  Meanwhile, set your oven to convection bake and preheat to 300 degrees.  Set your racks in the middle and lower part of the oven.  Once your macarons are dry, bake them for about 18 minutes.   That moment of success when you find your macarons have feet, and no cracks!

 

I finished off my macarons by dusting them with some cocoa powder.  I filled these macarons later with some white chocolate filling, however, nutella, cookie butter, or a classic chocolate ganache pairs great with these cookies as well!

Happy Baking everyone!

Try out this recipe, and let me know in the comments how it turned out for you.

-Kristie xx

P.S. I’m sorry for the lack of pictures in this post!  I deleted them off my camera after uploading them to WordPress, and in attempt to clear memory space on WordPress, I deleted the images.  Hopefully, my descriptions will guide you all.

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