Chocolate macaron with Bailey's buttercream filling
Like many other bakers - I am obsessed with french macarons. The wonderful flavor combinations, gorgeous colors, the adorable feet - what's not to love? They are admittedly a little bit fussy, but once you figure out a method that works for you, they really aren't that difficult.
I've had the most success using the French meringue method. This method does require a little bit of advance planning (your egg whites need to "age" for at least 12-24 hours), and the shells need to sit for 30-60 minutes before baking - but I've had very consistent results.
A few must-haves:
- Kitchen scale: carefully measured out ingredients are a key to success
- Food processor: most almond flour isn't finely ground enough; you'll need to pulse it in a food processor (with confectioners sugar, to avoid making nut butter!) in order to get super smooth shells. I like to buy whole blanched almonds and grind them myself (make sure you grind the nuts with confectioners sugar, in order to avoid making nut butter!).
- Silpats (or parchment paper): I like using silpats the best - but parchment will work as well
- Oven thermometer: you'll want to make sure that your oven is at the right temperature!
Developing a hard shell, waiting for the oven
Just out of the oven - look at those feet!
Cooling (fortunately they don't take long!)
Chocolate Macarons with Espresso Chocolate Ganache
110 gm blanched almonds (or almond flour)
200 gm minus 2 tbsp. confectioners sugar
2 T cocoa powder
90 gm egg whites (about 3 eggs), aged at room temperature for 12-24 hours
25 gm granulated sugar
- Pulse almonds, confectioners sugar, and cocoa powder together in food processor, until finely ground.
- Whip egg whites on medium speed using an hand mixer until foamy (you can use a stand mixer as well; I prefer a hand mixer here).
- Slowly add granulated sugar to the egg whites, and continue beating until a smooth, shiny meringue with stiff peaks forms.
- Add the nuts and powdered sugar to the meringue, fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that disappears back into itself after counting to 10 (ie - if you drop a small amount onto a plate, the batter should flatten out in about 10 seconds, with no peak). The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Go slow here - the difference between just a few strokes can be the difference between perfect macarons and a flop!
- Line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats. Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe 1 1/2 inch rounds, spaced about a inch apart. Let sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes to allow shells to harden.
- While shells are hardening, preheat oven to 290 degrees F. Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on size (shells should lift easily off the mat when done; if you try to remove one and the top pulls off, bake for a few minutes longer). Let cool completely before assembling.
- Match up similarly sized macarons
- Pipe filling onto one half of the cookie, and gently press the halves together
- Enjoy! The macarons are deeeelish right out of the oven, but even better if you refrigerate them overnight. Try it - it's totally worth the wait!
Espresso chocolate ganache:
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
4 tbsp. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1½ tsp. espresso powder (or instant coffee)
- Place chocolate and butter in a medium-sized bowl.
- Combine cream, sugar, and espresso powder in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to simmer, remove from heat, and pour over chocolate.
- Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth and shiny. Let cool and thicken to a good piping consistency before assembling macarons.
Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats