Ohhhh macarons: how I adore you!
Why do these little beauties melt in your mouth so perfectly? Why are they such an amazing cookie? Why do they cause me so much anxiety each time I attempt to make them? I mean, they are completely worth it when the end result is the chocolatey amazingness I have to share today.
It’s funny how these little treats have become such a special item in our home. Admittedly, I stress out a little bit each time I put a batch in the oven. I know that not all of my shells will turn out perfectly, but hey: that’s life. However, when the shells do come out with a frilly foot and can be filled with something delicious (this time: chocolate ganache), I am over the moon. It is honestly hard to bring myself to share them.
I have to laugh at the fact that my husband actually requests these for a treat. Before we met, I doubt he could even pronounce the name. But he’s been sucked into the awesomeness of the cookie, what can I say?
Now that I’m home for a few weeks, the opportunity to put some time and love into a batch of macarons is definitely a plus. I can spend a little bit of time in the late morning/afternoon to prepare and assemble…and can despair by myself if they fall flat.
What is your favorite flavor of macaron to enjoy?
- ¾ cup almond meal/flour
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 extra large egg whites, aged at least 24 hours
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 3 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- Place the almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, and cocoa powder in a bowl and gently mix to combine. Set aside.
- Line two baking sheets with silicone mats or macaron mats (I have this set).
- Place the egg whites in a large bowl and whip until they hold a soft shape. Make sure they are frothy in appearance before adding sugar. Then, gradually beat in the sugar in a steady stream and continue to whip the egg whites until they form a firm peak. Do not shut the mixer off during this process – the chance of under-whipping is greater than over-whipping.
- Using a spatula, fold the almond/sugar/cocoa mixture into the egg whites ⅓ at a time. When all the dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated (about 30 stirs – move the bowl around in a circle as you stir), continue to fold until it forms a shiny batter with a thick, ribbon-like consistency. If you want to know if your batter is the right consistency – perform the river test! Draw your spatula through the center of your batter: it should run together slowly.
- Place half the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch opening tip. Pipe small circles (about the size of a quarter) onto the prepared mats, leaving 2 fingers worth of space between each cookie if you are piping freehand. Repeat the process with the second half of the batter. **Note: you use only half of the batter at a time because the heat of your hands will warm the batter as you pipe. Small batches will reduce the chance of this happening**
- When the batter is piped, it is time to SLAM! Firmly tap the baking sheets onto your work surface 2-3 times to remove air bubbles. When I say tap, I don’t mean a gentle tap – slam your sheet down with PURPOSE! Don’t be afraid.
- Preheat your oven to 325° F and set your racks in the center slots – my oven has 6 shelf levels: I place my racks on the 3rd and 4th. Meanwhile, allow the macarons to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes until a skin forms on top of the shells. When you gently touch the top of the macarons, the batter should not stick to your finger.
- Place your macaron shells on the top rack, and an additional EMPTY baking sheet on the rack below it – it will help to absorb the heat and allow the cookies to bake evenly. Bake the shells for 15 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway mark. The macarons are ready with they have a crisp shell and the frilly foot at the bottom does not wobble when the shells are gently lifted from the mat. If they still wobble and stick – they are undercooked! Place the tray back in the oven for another 1-2 minutes and continue checking!
- Cool the shells for 10 minutes and then carefully peel the macarons off of the mat and set aside to cool completely. Using an offset spatula is an easy way to remove them from the mat.
- Next, create the chocolate ganache. First, place the chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Then, heat the heavy cream in a sauce pan just until it starts to boil. Immediately remove from heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then stir the mixture until smooth. Allow the ganache to thicken; you can place it in the refrigerator to speed up the process, but remember to stir it occasionally.
- Finally, it is time to complete the macarons. Gently spread about a teaspoon of chocolate ganache on the bottom of a macaron shell, then sandwich it together with another cookie. Allow the macarons to set for at least an hour for the cookies to set. Once assembled, they can be stored (covered) at room temperature for 24-48 hours. If you are waiting 2 days to eat them, I would suggest refrigerating them and removing from the fridge about an hour before serving so they can come to room temperature before serving. You can also keep the cookies (without filling) in airtight containers for up to a week. Enjoy!!!