We had a bake sale at our clubhouse fundraising and a lot of people were bringing different type of mouth watering cakes.Hence, I decided to go for cookies and made two dozen chocolate chip cookies.
Not satisfied with just cookies, I stepped back into my cute little kitchen to get down to business.Justifying my theory of there being a healthy French community in the club who would definitely appreciate macaroons, I got out all of my ingredients with much enthusiasm.
I usually use aged egg whites for macaroons, having none I used fresh ones and voila! they turned out pretty good as well.
This recipe is adapted from Raymond Blanc’s chocolate macaroons.
Makes 24-30 depending on the size
For the pâté à macaron :
60g/2½oz unsweetened chocolate, ideally 100% cocoa solids
185g/6½oz icing sugar, sifted
185g/6½oz ground almonds
2 medium free-range egg whites
For the Italian meringue :
2 medium free-range egg whites
1 drop lemon juice or 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
185g/6½oz caster sugar
3 tbsp water
For the ganache filling :
100ml/4fl oz whipping cream
100g/4oz dark chocolate, or white chocolate if you wish
Heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and line two baking trays with baking paper.
Pâté à macaron:
Melt the chocolate in a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water – do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.
In a large bowl, mix the icing sugar, ground almonds and egg whites to form a paste.
Fold in the melted chocolate and set aside.
I happened to accidentally eat some of the chocolate which left my pâté à macaron looking like its weaker cousin.
Therefore, the macaron shells for this batch do not have the perfect brown color as expected.
Italian meringue :
Whisk the egg whites and lemon juice in a kitchen mixer on a medium speed.
The original recipe calls for using lemon juice, as i was out of lemons i have instead opted to use cream of tartar which works fine too.
Meanwhile, place the sugar and water in a small pan and cook over a high heat until it has reached 117C/242F or the ‘soft ball’ stage.I do not own a thermometer so I just tell when the bubbles are almost the same size, that’s the stage we are looking to achieve here.
Reduce the speed on the mixer to its lowest setting and pour the sugar syrup from the sides of the bowl onto the firmly whipped egg whites.
Increase the speed to high and continue to whisk for 2-3 minutes.
Fold the Italian meringue mixture into the pâté à macaron until it reaches the ribbon stage – this is when a spoonful of the mixture poured back into the bowl sits like a ribbon on the surface. Do not over-mix or the macaroon will crack when cooked.
Place the mixture in a piping bag fitted with a 8mm/¼in nozzle.
Pipe on 3cm/1in discs on the baking trays, at least 2cm/¾in apart, which i didn’t do. 😦
Bake in the oven for eight minutes.As soon as the macaroons form feet open and shut the oven door to release some steam.
After eight minutes remove from the oven and then leave on a cooling rack until completely cold.
Place the cream in a small pan and bring to a boil.
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until the mixture is smooth.
Spoon about one teaspoon of ganache onto the flat side of a cooled macaroon and top with another macaroon to make a sandwich.
Repeat with the remaining ganache and macaroons and store in a single layer in an airtight container in the fridge.
NOTE: The recipe calls for preheating the baking trays as well and sliding on the baking paper with the piped macaroons onto them (pre-heating the baking trays kick-starts the cooking and forms the distinctive ‘collarette’ on the base of the macaroons).
P.S They were a sellout. 🙂