Macarons are all the rage right now – even being touted as the new ‘in’ dessert replacing cupcakes. I was always in awe of them – especially since I’ve never even tried them. So I knew that had to change. They are also often described as finicky or difficult to make. That doesn’t scare me though – since I am good at following directions and have no problem weighing my ingredients for accuracy. In the end – I found them no harder to make than any other semi-complicated dessert that I’ve tried before.
You know the macaron is successful if they grow ‘feet’ – so I was really excited when I peered in the oven and they had raised up. You also have to ‘age’ your egg whites – and I did this by keeping them in my refrigerator for about a week after I made the Caramel Espresso Ice cream. It worked perfectly – and for some reason I felt better doing it this way than leaving them out on the counter to age.
The filling is a chocolate espresso ganache – it was so smooth and creamy and so delicious.
I cannot wait to try more macaron recipes – they were so much fun to make and very impressive. Many of the desserts that I make are actually for either clients of my husbands, work or family events – but these were just for us. (My mom did get lucky and was able to try a few when she stopped over).
Oh and have a Happy Valentines Day I think my husband fell in love with me all over again after I made these.
For the macarons:
- 110 grams blanched slivered almonds
- 200 grams minus 2 Tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
- 2 Tbsp. Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 100 grams egg whites (from about 3 eggs), aged (in the refrigerator for 3-7 days or at room temperature for 12-24 hours)
- 50 grams granulated sugar
For the espresso ganache:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 5 Tbsp. bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 tsp. espresso powder
1. Pulse the almonds in the bowl of a food processor until finely ground. Add the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder to the bowl and process until blended.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue beating until a smooth, shiny meringue with stiff peaks forms.
3. Add the ground almond mixture to the bowl with the meringue and quickly but gently fold together using a wide rubber spatula until no streaks remain. You want to achieve a thick batter that ribbons or flows from the spatula when lifted.
4. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a plain wide round tip. Pipe into small rounds (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 1 inch apart.
5. Let sit at room temperature for about an hour to develop a hard shell.
6. Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on size. Transfer the pans to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely before moving the cookies.
7. While the cookies are cooling, make the ganache. Combine the cream, butter and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Place the chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Bring the cream mixture to a simmer, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand 2 minutes, then whisk gently in small circular motions until the ganache forms. Stir in the espresso powder. Let the mixture cool until it is thick enough to pipe. (To speed chilling, transfer the bowl to the freezer or refrigerator and let cool, stirring every 10 minutes, until thickened.)
8. Once the cookies are totally cooled, pipe a layer of ganache onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair. Sandwich together with the remaining cookie, pushing the filling to the edges. Store in an airtight container.