Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chocolate French Macarons

After a complete failure with my first attempt at French Macarons, I was determined that I would get my turn at making those precious beauties that I've been drooling over all around the internet. I've been craving and dreaming of them ever since I laid my hands on a box from Paulette. Since LA isn't a hop and a skip away from where I am, I thought the better alternative would be making them at home myself.

After learning many lessons from my first attempt, I realized that room temperature egg whites were the essential core to the French Macaron. This cookie is ALL about technique, which I should have payed attention to the first time but alas, I was much too lazy for my own benefit. The reason why my first batch was so flat and spread so much was because the whites started as cold and as they became room temperature, they expanded and loosened up. Thanks to some great pointers, these cookies turned out wonderful! Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside (my favorite part), and filled with Nutella-y goodness.

Tips to making a successful French macaron:
1. Use room temperature egg whites, aged egg whites (for up to 48 hours) are supposed to give a better end product.
2. Sift the dry mixture at least once to ensure your macarons will be smooth as a baby's bottom. 
3. Completely fold the dry mixture into the egg whites, this is what differentiates a macaron from other cookies; the batter should be thick, almost like a paste or as Veronica calls it "Magma."
4. Some recipes tell you to flatten the macaron using your fingertips and water, DO NOT DO THIS! I did this for my second batch which produced ugly, bubbled tops, example below:

5. Pre-draw 1 1/2 inch diameter circles on the back of your parchment paper to ensure equal sized macarons, then you can make perfect sandwiches!
6. Some say that the cookies will taste better after a full days of rest, but of course I was much too impatient for this step in the recipe.


Chocolate Macarons
Yields: 15 - 20 Sandwiched Cookies
from Art of Dessert (I cut the recipe in half just in case it didn't work out)

Printable Recipe

1 + 1/8 cups of finely ground almonds (You can find this at natural food supermarkets such as Whole Foods, Mother's Market, or just ground your own using a food processor!)
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/2 cup egg whites, room temperature
1/4 + 1/8 cup granulated sugar
3 drops of red food coloring

Whisk the egg whites in a stand-up mixer until foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. In a medium-sized bowl combine the ground almonds, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder and sift together. Mix well and then fold the mixture gently into the egg whites. Add the food coloring until well combined. 

Place parchment paper on some baking sheets. Using a normal round tip, pipe the batter into 1 1/2 inch in diameter rounds and about 1 inch apart from each other. Leave the baking sheets out for 1 - 2 hours to let shells harden around the oustide (I did not do this step for lack of time, I didn't think it was that important since I did not see it mentioned in any other macaron directions). Preheat the oven to 300 F. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until tops are just set. Let them cool completely before adding filling. I used Nutella spread and the strawberry buttercream I had leftover from my strawberry cupcakes. Enjoy!

9 comments:

  1. okay - you make this look easy - but I don't think so at least in my hands... This looks absolutely delicious

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  2. What does it mean to age the egg whites for 48 hours?

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  3. Yay I am so happy for you, it is quite a hard challenge that French Macaron.

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  4. By age the egg whites, it means to seperate them from the yolk and leave them outside at room temperature for 48 hours, covered. Sounds weird, but supposedly helps a lot with the texture. I would try 24 hours first to be safe.

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  5. Awesome job!! I've never had any (that I can remember anyway) but have seriously thought of making my own. Of course then I come to my senses and think that's way beyond me. Maybe not?
    ~ingrid

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  6. ahhh this looks fantastic! and you make it seem so easy!! how many egg whites make half a cup?

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  7. About 4 large egg whites for me!

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  8. Mmm! The sweet taste of success!

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