I've learned that chocolate macarons are not the easiest to make. In fact I've attempted this recipe three times and finally after the third try, my macarons were somewhat picture presentable. These aren't perfect but they are much improved from the first two attempts. Because of the addition of the melted chocolate to the macaron batter, there seems to be less room for error in your technique for making the Italian meringue and folding the egg whites into the batter.
I adapted this recipe from Pierre Herme's bitter chocolate macaron recipe found in his Macaron Cookbook
. The recipe calls for unsweetened or bitter chocolate to be added to macaron batter. The macaron shells are also filled with chocolate ganache made with 72% cacao chocolate. This macaron is loaded with chocolate and then more chocolate, so if you are a chocolate lover like me, this is the macaron for you.
Makes 72 macarons
For the macaron shells:
- 120 grams cacao pâte (or dark chocolate 100% cocoa - I used Callebaut brand)
- 300 grams finely ground blanched almonds (if possible, use Trader Joes sliced dry roasted almonds)
- 300 grams confectioners sugar
- 200 grams extra fine granulated sugar
- 75 mL water
- 110 grams aged Egg Whites at room temperature (to be mixed into dry ingredients)
- 110 grams aged Egg Whites at room temperature (place in bowl of mixer)
- 4.5 grams Red food coloring
- Cocoa powder for dusting
For the bitter chocolate ganache:
- 400 grams heavy whipping cream
- 400 grams Valrhona chocolate (72% cacao chocolate)
- 140 grams sweet unsalted butter at room temperature
Step 1: To make the macaron shells: Separate eggs at least 24 hours before using (or up to five days). The older the eggs the better.
Step 2: Line 6 half sheet trays with silpat baking sheets or parchment.
Step 3: Using a scale, measure out all the ingredients. Remember to set aside 110 grams of egg whites for mixing into the dry ingredients and 110 grams of egg whites to place into the bowl of mixer.
Step 4: Chop chocolate for shells and melt in a double boiler, remove from heat once melted. Set aside.
Step 5: Place the ground almonds and confectioners sugar in a food processor and process until finely ground (about 1 - 2 minutes). Sift the mixture to remove any lumps.
Step 6: Mix red food coloring into 110 grams of egg whites. Take the egg whites mixed with the food coloring and pour into the almond meal and powdered sugar mixture. Allow it to sit.
Step 7: Take a heavy bottomed pot and pour the granulated fine sugar and water into the pot. Attach a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the sugar and water as it heats up. Bring the water and sugar solution to 245 degrees F.
Step 8: Meanwhile, in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the remaining 110 grams of egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Start beating your egg whites when your sugar is close to your desired temperature.
Step 9: Once the sugar solution reaches 245 degrees F, slowly pour it over the whisking egg whites. Continue to whisk and allow meringue to cool. Meringue should not be hot when you add to almond sugar mixture. Continue to beat meringue until it cools.
Step 10: Once meringue has cooled, gradually fold egg whites into almond sugar mixture, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Gradually fold in the melted chocolate. Once the almond chocolate mixture is completely folded into the meringue, the batter will fall back into the bowl in a thick ribbon.
Step 11: Fill a pastry bag, fitted with 1/2 inch (1 cm) tip (#5 or 805 ATECO tip), with about half the batter. Pipe about 1 - 1 1/2 inch (3 - 4 cm) rounds onto silpat-lined pans. Leave at least 1 inch between macarons. As you pipe, hold the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet and flick the tip of the bag as you finish each cookie to minimize the peaks. Use a sieve to sprinkle the rounds of batter with a light dusting of cocoa powder. Let the macarons sit at room temperature for about 60 minutes or until the tops of the macarons are no longer tacky.
Step 12: While your macarons are sitting at room temperature, preheat oven to 300 degrees F with an oven rack in bottom third of the oven. You may have to do some experimenting with your oven to determine the best temperature for your macarons - it could be anywhere between 250 to 350 degrees F.
Step 13: Bake the cookies (one sheets at a time) for about 10 minutes, rotating the pans front to back, about halfway through baking. The macarons are done when you can just barely separate the cookies from the parchment paper.
Step 14: Remove from oven and let the macarons cool completely on the baking sheet placed on a wire rack.
Step 15: To make the ganache: Chop up the chocolate and put into a medium bowl. Bring the cream to a boil (212°F) and pour over the chopped chocolate a third at a time until the chocolate melts completely into the cream.
Step 16: Add the pieces of butter a few at a time and stir to melt. Whisk to obtain a smooth ganache. Pour this mixture into a glass or ceramic baking dish and press plastic wrap over the surface of the ganache and set aside in the fridge for about 30 minutes so that it thickens.
Step 17: To assemble the macarons: Take two cookies and sandwich them together with your ganache. Place filling on flat side of cookie, and leave a narrow, unfilled border when piping the filling onto the cookie bottoms. You want to use just enough filling so that it spreads to the edge when topped but doesn’t squish out much when bitten. Top the filled halves with their partners. Best served at room temperature. Filled macaroons can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.