French, Chocolate Macarons

Classic French macarons.

You can’t help feeling a bit privileged when you get the chance to bite into one.

The entire experience is one of a kind – a flaky shell, delicately chewy cookie, with a gooey filling in the middle.

These are really something special.

WHEN I FIRST MOVED TO NEW YORK, I saw these cute little confections in every bakery. I was so curious as to what they tasted like, how they were made, and WHY they were so darn expensive!

THEN, over Christmas break, my cousin’s wife, Jill, sent us some of her homemade chocolate macarons – I was finally able to try one and immediately fell in love.

TO TOP IT OFF, my friend Michal has been raving for months about these raspberry macarons at a bakery close to our yoga studio.  Yesterday, (at last!), after some awesome yoga, we stopped at the bakery to treat ourselves.  Divine.

SO THIS WEEKEND, I pushed everything aside and dedicated a day to chocolate macaron baking.This was definitely a new baking experience.  I would say these lean towards the rather complex baking side.  Not HARD, but just complex – very time consuming and detail oriented.  Every ingredient must be at the right temperature, right consistency, and you do need some equipment.  So don’t be overwhelmed or frightened or discouraged- just read the instructions a few times over beforehand so that you can be mentally prepared. And then plan to spend some time in the kitchen, put on the good tunes, and you will be fine :)

 

Recipe: Classic French Chocolate Macarons

Summary: Dainty and delicious.  

This video was rather helpful, as well as David Lebovitz’s instructions.

Ingredients

Chocolate Macarons

  • 1-3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups plus 2 tbsp almond meal or almond flour –Trader Joes sells this.
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Chocolate Ganache Filling

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), at room temperature and cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp rum

Instructions

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch). If you don’t have one of these, you can also cut a hole in the corner of a ziplock bag.
  3. Grind the powdered sugar, almond meal, and cocoa so there are no lumps – I used my new Vitamix blender to do the trick but you can also use a food processor. It is important to get the flours VERY FINE, in order to create a smooth cookie.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites for about a minute, until they begin to rise and hold their shape. Having these egg whites at room temperature really helps to whip them up!
  5. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm. The egg whites should hold their shape when you lift the beaters out of the bowl.
  6. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the beaten egg whites, in two batches.
  7. When the mixture is just smooth (no streaks of egg whites), scrape the batter into the pastry bag. It helps to put the pastry bag into a tall glass as you fill, if you don’t have another set of hands.
  8. Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch circles – about 1 tablespoon each of batter – evenly spaced one-inch apart.
  9. Flatten the tops of the cookies with a moistened finger if they have any tips.
  10. Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons, and then let them sit for about 20 minutes, or until they feel dry to the touch.
  11. Bake them in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
  12. Transfer the entire parchment paper sheet (with the cookies) off of the baking sheet gently, and let them cool completely before peeling them off the parchment paper.

To make the ganache:

  1. Heat heavy cream in a saucepan over medium-heat until it comes to a gentle boil.
  2. Turn off the flame and stir in the chocolate. Let this sit for a minute and then add the butter and rum. Stir until smooth.
  3. Chill the ganache in the refrigerator until thickened but still spreadable, about 30 minutes.

To assemble your macarons:

  1. Time to play matchmaker! Find cookies that match up in size and shape.
  2. Layer some ganache onto the flat part of one cookie.
  3. Sandwich with its partner.
  4. Take a bite.
  5. Store in an airtight container.

Preparation time: 2 hour(s)

Cooking time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 26

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

 

 

2 thoughts on “French, Chocolate Macarons

Leave a Reply