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Friday, April 6, 2012

Chocolate macarons

The other day I made these pink lemonade macarons with lemon curd filling.  While they didn't end up quite as pink as I had hoped, they definitely tasted good, and that made up for any lack of pinkness that existed.  While I won't use pink lemonade mix for Passover, I liked the idea of the lighter, coconut-free macaron as opposed to the coconut macaroons synonymous with Passover.  I decided to go with chocolate macarons because, frankly, I think anything with chocolate is better than plain old vanilla (I know it's a personal preference, but hey, i'm the one baking, so what I want is what you're going to get!).

I made the chocolate macarons from Tartelette as part of her Snickers macarons (which I've made before and highly recommend), but I swapped out the peanuts for more almonds, since peanuts are not kosher for Passover.  To get some extra-chocolatey flavor, I went with special dark cocoa instead of the plain cocoa.  They came out a little thicker than I had hoped (unsure what the culprit was), which I thought was fine until I baked them, and most of them ended up going leaning-tower-of-Pisa on me. 

The good thing about these macarons - despite their slantedness - is that they taste good.  I even think they're too rich to fill with the ganache that I had planned on using.  The beautiful thing is that I can serve them as they are, without the filling and a little slanted, and they'll still be great.  And it just means i'll have to make some more macarons again soon :)

Chocolate Macarons (from Tartelette, slightly modified my way, but I'd stick with her original)

3 egg whites (Tartelette likes to use 1-2 day old egg whites, I'd stick with one day old)
50 gr. granulated sugar
200 gr. powdered sugar (minus 2 Tbsp)
55gr. almonds (I used 110 grams of almonds and no peanuts, since peanuts aren't kosher for Passover)
55 gr. peanuts
2 Tbsp cocoa powder

For the whites: the day before (24hrs), separate your eggs and store the whites at room temperature in a covered container. If you want to use 48hrs (or more) egg whites, you can store them in the fridge. 
If you use fresh whites, zap them up in the microwave on medium high for 20 seconds to mimic the aging process.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry and your macarons won't work.
Combine the almonds, peanuts, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Pass through a sieve.
Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that flows like magma or a thick ribbon. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes.
Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper baking sheets.

Preheat the oven to 300F.
Let the macarons sit out for an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on their size.
Let cool.

Fill with the filling of your choice.  Enjoy!

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