Week 112: Bitter chocolate and salted hazelnut macaron

For one reason or another, I have managed to accumulate 2 large stacks of frozen egg whites in my freezer. Yes, they freeze well. What I normally do is I will line a small bowl with a layer of cling wrap, pour in the egg whites, allow it to freeze, then remove the bowl and wrap the frozen egg whites in cling wrap.

I was toying with the idea of making a rainbow cake, and maybe I will, in the near future. But for now, I decided to use it for macarons. After all, who can say no to macarons? In addition, I have also decided to do some recipe testing, to find my “perfect” hazelnut filling recipe. It took quite a fair bit of tasting (which I am not complaining), but I think I have finally got it.

Makes 20 to 25 macarons for each flavour

For the hazelnut butter (makes more than enough for the hazelnut buttercream)

150g whole skinless hazelnuts, blanched

1 tbsp grapeseed oil

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fine granulated sugar
1) Preheat toaster oven to 190C.

2) Spread hazelnuts evenly on a baking tray. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on the nuts and use a fork to move them around, making sure they don’t burn. The nuts are done when they have started to brown and the nuts begin to release their oil and fragrant.

3) While nuts are still down, pour them into the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a metal blade. Process until nuts are finely ground.

4) Pour in grapeseed oil and process until nuts have become a paste.

5) Add the salt and sugar and continue processing until the smooth. Unfortunately, food processor at home may not be able to achieve the same level of smoothness of industrial processors.
For the hazelnut macaron shells

75g ground almonds

75g icing sugar

26g egg whites

+

75g caster sugar

19g mineral water

27g egg whites

Finely ground hazelnuts, for garnish

 

1) Grind the icing sugar and ground almonds together in a food processor for approximately 5 minutes, scrapping the mixture halfway through to ensure they are finely ground. Sift the mixture into a large bowl.

2) Add coloring to the first potion of egg whites then pour it over the icing sugar-almond mixture together with the melted chocolate but do not stir.

3) Bring the water and sugar to boil at 118C. When the syrup reaches 115C, simultaneously start whisking the second portion of egg whites to soft peak. When the sugar reaches 118C, turn the mixer speed to low and pour the syrup in a thin stream down the side of the mixing bowl, without letting it hit the whisk. Turn the mixer speed back on high and continue to whisk and allow to cool down to body temperature.

4) Scrap the meringue into the almond-sugar mixture and fold the mixture until it is glossy and flows like lava.

5) Spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5 cm in diameter, spacing them 2 cm apart on baking trays lined with baking parchment. Rap the trays on the work surface covered with a kitchen cloth.

6) Sprinkle a bit of ground hazelnuts onto the center of each piped shells.

7) Leave the shells to stand for at least 60 minutes until they form a skin and do not stick to the finger.

8) Preheat oven to 180C, then put the trays into the oven. Bake for 4 minutes, then, without opening, turn down the heat to 120C and bake for another 12 minutes.

 

For the salted hazelnut buttercream

35g egg white

35g fine granulated sugar

70g unsalted butter, softened

30g hazelnut butter

10g ground hazelnut

Fleur de sel

 

1) Add egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk over a bain-marie until sugar is melted.

2) Transfer mixture to a stand mixer and whisk on high using the whisk attachment until meringue has cooled to room temperature.

3) Add softened butter in 3 additions and whisk until buttercream is smooth.

4) Add the hazelnut butter and ground hazelnut and mix until well incorporated.

5) Slowly sprinkle fleur de sel and mix until desired taste is achieved.

 

For the chocolate macaron shells

75g ground almonds

75g icing sugar

26g egg whites

30g unsweetened chocolate couverture (100% cocoa), melted

Red colour paste

+

75g caster sugar

19g mineral water

27g egg whites

Cocoa powder, for garnish

 

1) Grind the icing sugar and ground almonds together in a food processor for approximately 5 minutes, scrapping the mixture halfway through to ensure they are finely ground. Sift the mixture into a large bowl.

2) Add coloring to the first potion of egg whites then pour it over the icing sugar-almond mixture together with the melted chocolate but do not stir.

3) Bring the water and sugar to boil at 118C. When the syrup reaches 115C, simultaneously start whisking the second portion of egg whites to soft peak. When the sugar reaches 118C, turn the mixer speed to low and pour the syrup in a thin stream down the side of the mixing bowl, without letting it hit the whisk. Turn the mixer speed back on high and continue to whisk and allow to cool down to body temperature.

4) Scrap the meringue into the almond-sugar mixture and fold the mixture until it is glossy and flows like lava.

5) Spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5 cm in diameter, spacing them 2 cm apart on baking trays lined with baking parchment. Rap the trays on the work surface covered with a kitchen cloth.

6) Sift cocoa powder lightly over the piped shells.

7) Leave the shells to stand for at least 60 minutes until they form a skin and do not stick to the finger.

8) Preheat oven to 180C, then put the trays into the oven. Bake for 4 minutes, then, without opening, turn down the heat to 120C and bake for another 14 minutes.

 

For the bitter chocolate ganache

100g heavy cream

90g dark chocolate couverture (>70% cocoa)

10g unsweetened chocolate couverture (100% cocoa)

35g unsalted butter, softened

 

1) Heat the cream in a heavy bottomed saucepan.

2) Place both chocolates in a bowl.

3) When tiny bubbles begin to appear around the saucepan, remove the cream from heat.

4) Pour the hot cream into the chocolate in 3 additions, allowing to sit for 5 seconds, then stir to melt for each addition.

5) When ganache temperature has dropped to 50C, add the softened butter and whisk to incorporate.

6) Allow ganache to cool to room temperature.

Normally, when I am making “half batches” of macarons, I will combine the second set of ingredients (caster sugar + mineral water + egg whites), for the Italian meringue, as it is a pain to make a small batch of Italian meringue. After the meringue is ready, I will weigh it and divide in half for the 2 batches accordingly.

An extra note on the amount of fleur de sel for the salted hazelnut buttercream. I was trying to weigh the amount of fleur de sel but as the scale I was using was only accurate to the nearest gram, I was unable to get the weight of fleur de sel used. It was definitely under 1g. Anyway, taste can be rather subjective so I would suggest you taste the buttercream every so often so as not to “over salt” it. Fleur de sel is more unforgiving as the salt content is milder compared to other salts. More caution should be exercised if other salts are used.

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5 Responses to Week 112: Bitter chocolate and salted hazelnut macaron

  1. They look amazing, love the flavour combination too! Last time I tried to make macarons they went horribly wrong, but I’m thinking I might have to try again soon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These look awesome!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Week 115: Bitter chocolate and pistachio macarons | The Baking Hermit

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