Week 9: Chocolate macarons

One of the reason I have been holding off macaron attempts is that I know once I started, I will be obsessed with making them perfect. And I know, it is going to take quite a lot of attempts to get them perfect.

In fact, in just one weekend I had made 2 attempts. The first was based on a recipe given by a friend (top picture). I think I must have under-mixed the batter as I couldn’t get the little tip to melt into the dome. Also, as my friend insisted there is no need to further grind the store-bought almond flour, I thought the end result was a little too coarse for my liking. But, anyway, the first recipe I used is as follows:

INGREDIENTS

100 g icing sugar

55 g ground almonds

10 g cocoa powder

50 g egg whites

15 g sugar

4 g egg white powder

DIRECTIONS

1) Sieve icing sugar, almonds and cocoa powder.

2) Whisk egg whites, egg white powder and sugar till firm peak.

3) Fold dry ingredients gradually into meringue.

4) Pipe to about 3-4 cm in diameter. Tap tray to flatten macaron batter.

5) Leave macaron batter to crust. (around 1 hour)

6) Bake at 150 degrees C (with fan) for first 6 mins till a feet forms. Open the oven door to release the steam. Continue to bake further 6 mins till the top is crisp and hard.

7) Cool & sandwich with the fillings.

Unsatisfied with my first batch of macaroons (and seeing a fresh tray of eggs in the fridge), I decided to have another go at it. This time, following the recipe from David Lebovitz. I made some slight changes to it, cutting the sugar, letting the batter rest for a bit before baking and baking at a slightly lower temperature.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (100 g) powdered sugar

½ cup (50 g) powdered almonds

3 tablespoons (25 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

50 g granulated sugar

DIRECTIONS

1) Preheat oven to 160º C (with fan).

2) Grind together the powdered sugar with the almond powder and cocoa so there are no lumps; use a blender or food processor since almond meal that you buy isn’t quite fine enough.

3) In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm.

4) Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you’re alone).

5) Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch (3 cm) circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.

6) Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons. Rest the batter for about 30 minutes until a skin has formed over the shells. Then bake them for 15-18 minutes at 150º C. Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet.

I used the chocolate filling recipe from David Lebovitz to fill both batches. I was a bit hasty to fill the macarons. And it was only towards the end did I realize that I should have waited until the ganache thicken more, so I was able to stuff more of the good stuff in the cookies without them messing up.

INGREDIENTS

½ cup (125 ml) heavy cream

2 teaspoons light corn syrup

4 ounces (120 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 tablespoon (15 g) butter, cut into small pieces

DIRECTIONS

1) Heat the cream in a small saucepan with the corn syrup. When the cream just begins to boil at the edges, remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let sit one minute, then stir until smooth. Stir in the pieces of butter. Let cool completely and thicken before using.

I have to say, the second batch came out looking a lot better. And it wasn’t that much sweeter than the first batch. So, next time, I might just go for the full 65 g of sugar.

My next challenge would be getting the feet to form properly (which mine did) and hold after it was removed from the oven (which mine didn’t). Looks like it’s time for more googling.

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