Week 149: Dark chocolate peppermint macarons

This bottle of peppermint extract has been sitting in my refrigerator for a while and now that it’s finally the season for peppermint flavours – I am going crazy with it!

This is a variation of my favourite Pierre Hermé macaron infiniment chocolat, where I made half the regular chocolate shells and half my rendition of Christmassy peppermint shells. And for the ganache filling, I replaced the salted chocolate chips with a generous dose of peppermint extract.

I was initially debating whether to go with white or dark chocolate for these, but finally gave in to the lure of the darkside. I guess dark chocolate has a stronger flavour and it took quite a fair amount of peppermint extract to bring out the flavour. But, I am quite happy with the resulting flavour. I guess some of my friends will be receiving sweet peppermint treats very soon.

 Makes 40 macarons

For the chocolate macaron shells

75g ground almonds

75g icing sugar

26g egg whites

Oil-based red food coloring

30g unsweetened chocolate couverture (100%), melted

+

75g caster sugar

10g mineral water

27g egg whites

Cocoa powder, for dusting

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) Dust the freshly piped shells with cocoa powder.

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 3 minutes, then, without opening, turn down the heat to 120C and bake for another 15 minutes. Shells are ready when they can be easily lifted from the baking parchment.

For the mint macaron shells

75g ground almonds

75g icing sugar

26g egg whites

1 tsp peppermint extract

+

75g caster sugar

10g mineral water

27g egg whites

Oil-based red food coloring

1) Follow the instruction above for making the macaron batter.

2) Before filling the pastry bag with the batter, use red food coloring and draw 3 lines along the piping bag. Then fill the pastry bag and pipe as usual.

3) Bake as per instruction above.

For the dark chocolate mint ganache

142g dark chocolate couverture (> 70% cocoa butter)

127g heavy cream

40g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 tsp peppermint extract

1) Melt the dark chocolate couverture on a bain-marie.

2) Gently heat the heavy cream until approximately 50C.

3) Pour 1/3 of the heavy cream into the melted chocolate and stir until fully incorporated. Then, repeat with the second 1/3, then the last 1/3.

4) Stir in the butter and peppermint extract and whisk until smooth and shiny

5) Transfer cream into a pastry bag and fill macaron shells accordingly.

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