Chocolate French Macarons

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Since Mother’s Day is Sunday and I needed some sunshine in my little world at the moment, I decided to share these little gems with you.  Initially, I thought these cookies were going to be terribly hard after reading over and over again how this is a challenging recipe even for the top bakers.  Now these seem to be the hot item to make with fancy pads and dispensers from expensive baking stores that I wander through and just sigh at all the loveliness (and the free sample of espresso isn’t too shabby either). Just so you know, the only fancy tool you’ll need is a plain round piping tip, a sifter and almond flour.  If you’ve made meringues, you can make these because that’s what they are basically. Seriously, if you are planning on making these more than once (and when you succeed at them you will) it’s worth the small investment to get the finely milled almond flour.  It’s sooooo much easier than to make it yourself and the consistency can’t be beat, at least by my food processor.

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For the second redo of this recipe, I decided to make chocolate french meringues filled with a peanut butter ganache and chocolate ganache. I squealed like a little girl when I saw the first batch come out of the oven.  Got a little happy dance too. They were perfect!  Thanks to Joy Of Baking’s video, I was able to see the step by step of where I went wrong. My mom is going to love these!

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I once splurged at Whole Foods on a store-bought macaron.  Sadly, I wasn’t impressed. The flavors were bland and it just missed the mark that I was expecting. I am glad I tried my hand at them.  They were exactly what I was expecting. My first attempt was for my grandmother’s birthday when I made these as well. The blue were filled with a salted caramel buttercream and a dot of salted caramel (yum!) and the yellow were filled with a lime curd with lime buttercream.  Mind you, both buttercreams were not the run of the mill buttercream but the Swiss meringue buttercream that I love. I split the meringue base, colored and then added the almond flour.  That’s why they look so different.  My proportions were off, oops!  The yellow had too much flour and the blue, too little.  They tasted yummy so it made up for them not looking right, kinda.  I knew I was going to make them again so I did some research on the web (gotta love YouTube tutorials!) and tried to see how to improve.  This time I only made a chocolate batch and I found a recipe with a smaller batch yield so if I wanted to make a second color, I could without having 20 million cookies around the house (thought sometimes that’s not a bad thing).

Note: DO NOT OVER-MIX! Only fold in the flour mixture in to the meringue between 40-50 strokes or you will end up with these…..

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Yes, they were yummy but they were not pretty. Through trial and error, I realized that I way over-mixed.  I had a flat batter.  It is supposed to be fluffy and stay its shape.  It will spread but just a little.  Also, watch your sizing. If you go too big, they will crack like below. Try to keep them about the size of a quarter to a silver dollar. Any bigger and they won’t cook right.  If you have tips on making them bigger, shoot me a comment below! I love to learn!

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Since this is the Trial and Error Kitchen, I thought I would share the error batch too.  It just annoys me so much that most bloggers only post about the “best”.  The world should see it all since you learn from your mistakes or at least you should. The pink batch was the first redo attempt.  (My husband has been snacking on them since I was just not happy with the shape and knew I had to do some research.) Also, major variation from the first two attempts, I did this recipe in grams.  You’ll find I do this once in a while when the need for exact measurements are required.  There can be too much variation in “cup” sizes so the safest is to go with weight measurements (and its easier to repeat your successes too).

Good luck and I hope you like these lovely little beauties.  I know my mom did! Happy Mother’s Day!

Chocolate French Macarons
Makes about 30 completed Macarons (About 60 shells depending on size) 

Ingredients

  • 100 grams almond meal or flour
  • 170 grams powdered sugar
  • 15 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 100 grams egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 35 grams sugar
Measure the egg whites into a clean dry mixing bowl that was wiped down with lemon juice or vinegar. Let them warm to room temperature as you sift the almond flour, powdered sugar and cocoa powder together.  Try to sift in parts and not all at once.  Once sifted, turn on mixer to medium until the egg whites are foamy. Add cream of tartar and increase speed to medium-high.  After the egg whites start to form the meringue, start to slowly add the sugar.  Once all the sugar is added, whip until it has stiff peaks and the tip doesn’t droop.  In 3-4 parts, add the flour mixture to the meringue by gently folding within 40-50 strokes. It will be thick and fluffy still.  Gently scoop the batter into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain tip.  Pipe 1 1/2 inch circles (about the size of a quarter) onto parchment lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out on your counter for about an hour or until the tops are no longer sticky. Heat your oven to 325 degrees F and bake one sheet at a time for 10-15 minutes. Keep a close eye on them because you don’t want to under or over bake. They will easily pull away from the parchment paper when done. Let them cool completely on the baking sheet on a wire rack.
For the Ganache Filling:

  • 1 cup of peanut butter chips or semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream

In a microwave safe cup or bowl, pour in the chips of choice and heavy cream.  Microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir until smooth.  Let cool and fill a small sandwich bag with ganache.  When cookies are cooled, snip an end of the bag and pipe the filling onto one cookie.  Find a similarly sized cookie and sandwich them together.  Eat and enjoy or store in fridge for a day for a softer texture.

Copyright: The Trial and Error Kitchen

 

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