In the past I have just about managed to pull Macarons off successfully, but have yet to make a batch of chocolate ones correctly. After all the Ice Cream recently I had an abundance of egg whites so I thought the time was right to have another go. Macarons always remind me of Paris, especially a trip I took a couple of years back with my family. It was my second time there but only the first time I managed to get to Pierre Hermes shop by Saint-Sulpice. My French is severely lacking but we managed to purchase a small bag of the little cookies, which were devoured on the metro on the way to the Notre Dame. Its one of those things that always brings back memories especially since its something that cant be purchased anywhere near me, and so I attempt to recreate them. This is the first time I have actually used the recipe by Pierre Herme himself from his gorgeous book “Chocolate Desserts”. They tasted pretty great but they didnt have that perfect look they should do, that look that’s maybe something I’ll only ever get in Paris (or London if the rumors about Herme’s first UK location are true) which is fine with me as I love Paris and cant wait till I go again.
I didn’t sieve the almond/sugar mixture after grinding it and I think that’s part of the problem. My macarons were more rough and ready than dainty and delicate but so what! they tasted great and it just means i’ll have to keep trying until I get it right.
140g (1 1/3 Cups) Ground Almonds
250g (2 Cups + 2 Tblsp) Confectioners Sugar
25g (1/4 Cup) Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
100g (1/2 Cup) Egg White (about 4 large egg whites aged 48hrs work best)
1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silpats (if not insulated use double layers of baking sheets) and fit a pastry bag with a plain 1cm or 1.5cm tip
2. Mix the Flour, Cocoa, and Almonds and pulse in a food processer until you have a fine powder (here I should have sieved it but forgot)
3. Put the whites in the bowl of your mixer and beat on medium until they are white and foamy, turn the speed to high and keep going till just firm but still glossy.
4. Fold the dry ingredients into the whites in 3 or 4 additions, once done the batter will look like cake batter and if you lift some with your finger it should form a quickly falling peak – I always find this bit the hardest, im never quite sure if ive mixed enough or over mixed and unfortunately that is key to success.
5. Add the mixture to your piping bag and pipe onto your prepared sheets in rounds about 1 inch in size about an inch apart. Once finished piping, lift the sheet and bang it on the counter to get any air out of the batter. Leave the sheets out at least 15 mins to develop a skin (key to getting the magic “feet” whilst baking)
6. Centre a rack in the oven and pre heat to 220C / 425F. Bake one sheet at a time and dust with cocoa before placing in the oven, immediately reducing the temp to 180C / 350F, for 10-12 minutes or until smooth and just firm. Leave the door of the oven open by inserting a wooden spoon in the door.
7. When the macarons are cool fill with ganache and the let sit in the refrigerator overnight so they can soften slightly.