This post is an ode to my fabulous new Kitchenaid Artisan, and a special thanks to my Mom who gifted it to me for my birthday. I tried my hand at macarons once before, a few years ago. They are notoriously tricky to master and any number of things can go wrong during the preparation and the cooking process. From what I can tell in my personal adventures, one of the most important factors is the quality of the meringue or egg whites. Beating nice stiff peaks into egg whites was just not possible during my first go at macarons, but with the help of my new Black Beauty, it was a cinch.
I can’t say these were perfect. I didn’t get the famous “feet” on my shells. I have a feeling this was because of the baking phase, and not the preparation. I’ve heard that baking with two cookie sheets helps to stabilize the process and make sure that you get nice, tall, fat little macarons instead of ones that have flattened out. The shells were slightly cracked and uneven. But you know what? I knew they weren’t perfect because I know what a macaron should look like. My family didn’t. And the 20 or so macarons that came out of my miniature assembly line that day were gobbled up in no time flat, and noone else knew that they were sub-par. They also happened to be deliciously chocolately and rich.
I’m posting this recipe simply as a personal achievement, but definitely don’t claim to be an expert, nor do I want to give you any advice on the matter of macarons. The recipe I used from David Lebovitz is clearly tried and true, as the man has published many dessert books and is clearly a trusted name in all things pastry. I hope you’ll try this one out, and if you do, let me know if you had better luck than I did! And I, for my part, will continue to try and work out the macaron, and I’ll make sure and tell you all about my trials, and errors.
Double chocolate macarons
Recipe from David Lebovitz
1 C powdered sugar
1/2 C powdered almonds (I used hazelnuts)
3 T cocoa powder
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 T sugar
1/2 C heavy cream
2 t light corn syrup
4 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 T butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat oven to 350º.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and prepare a pastry bag. I learned recently that if you’re alone, placing the pastry bag in a tall glass will help keep it steady!
Blend the powdered sugar, powdered almond or hazelnut and cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside.
Begin beating the egg whites until they begin to stiffen, at which point you will slowly add in the granulated sugar. Once they whites are very stiff but not too dry, fold in the dry ingredients a little bit at a time (in thirds) with a rubber spatula. Don’t over mix. When the mixture has just come together and is homogenous, you can carefully add it to your pastry bag.
As you pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets, begin with the pastry bag touching the baking sheet and slowly pull up as you pipe a 1 inch circle onto the sheet. Continue piping, leaving about 1 inch in between each macaron. If they are slightly uneven or have “tails,” you can wet your finger with a bit of water and smooth them out.
Now the fun part: tap the baking sheet a few times on the counter, turning as you go, to flatten the macarons slightly. I baked mine for less time than called for, about 13-15 minutes. This probably wouldn’t be an issue if you used double baking sheets, but my first batch was slightly burnt on the bottom after 15 minutes in the oven. Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet.
For the ganache:
Heat the cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan. When the cream begins to simmer, remove from heat and add in the chocolate. Let the chocolate melt on its own for a couple of minutes before stirring it all up. Add the butter and stir to incorporate. Set aside to cool.
Once the ganache and macaron shells are cooled, it’s time for assembly! Simply spoon a small spoonful of the ganache onto the bottom of one macaron shell, press a second shell onto the first until the ganache has oozed out just to the ends, and you’re done! Even if yours aren’t beauty queens like mine, I guarantee they’ll be delicious!