Chocolate Macaroons

It seems to be an urban legend that the making of macaroons is preserved for professional patisserie chefs. Not true. I bet you can make these perfectly dainty little French morsels at home. What you will need is a good scale and a digital thermometer.  A bench top mixer also comes in handy. Instead of the most commonly used French meringue, which is made by mixing beaten egg whites with icing sugar, we are going to use Italian meringue, which is made by pouring hot sugar syrup into beaten egg whites. This makes the mixture a lot more stable and you can omit the 30 minutes resting time that is usually required by recipes using French meringues.   When making the sugar syrup, it is important not to stir the syrup as it tends to encourage the sugar to crystalize during boiling, at which point you will have to add a bit of water and start the whole process again.  You may wish to use liquid glucose in Part 2 if the ingredients as the addition of glucose helps prevent the formation of sugar crystals.

Ingredients

Part 1
250g     icing sugar
250g     ground almond
30g        good quality cocoa powder
100g     egg white (not beaten)

Part 2
100g     egg white
250g     castor sugar (or 200g castor sugar + 50g liquid glucose)
100g     water

Method

Part 1

  1. Put the icing sugar , cocoa powder and ground almond into a food processor, blend until the mixture forms a fine powder. This will take approximate 30 seconds on high speed. Pass through a sieve, discard any grainy lumps.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix 100g unbeaten egg whites into the sieved powder. Set aside until required.

Part 2

  1. Put 250g castor sugar and 100g water into a small pan. Boil, without stirring, until the sugar syrup reaches 118 degrees celsius. Remove from heat immediately.
  2. While the sugar and water is boiling above, whisk the 100g egg white with an electric beater in a large mixing bowl until fluffy. Once the sugar syrup reaches 118 degrees, slowly drizzle into the mixing bowl, whisking all the time, taking care not to touch the hot syrup.  It does help if you have a bench top mixer.

benchtop-mixter

3.  Keep on whisking the meringue on medium speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature. This might take 10 minutes or so.

4.  Fold the cooled meringue into the almond powder mix (Part 1) in three batches, taking care not to over mix.

5.  Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius.

6.  Line a baking tray with baking paper. Put the meringue mixture into a piping bag with a plain round tip. Pipe 4cm rounds onto the baking paper, leaving 4cm in between each round as the mixture will spread slightly.

7.  Tap the baking tray gently 4-5 times to help remove any air bubbles. Bake at 160 degrees for 18 minutes.  Remove from the oven and rest until completely cool before removing from the baking paper.

The baked macaroon rounds will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to one week.

Remove from the freezer just before serving sandwiched with chocolate ganache or jam.

Trouble Shooting

  • If the meringue mixture don’t hold its shape and spread too much after piping, it means that the mixture has been over mixed in Step 4.
  • If the fully ring of ‘feet’ doesn’t form during baking, try resting the meringue mixture for 30 after piping, before baking.  I do not seem to require the resting period by using this recipe but it is a classical technique for making macaroons. The resting time helps the top of the macaroon form a hard, crisp shell at the top.
  • If the macaroon rounds sticks to the baking paper during removal, it means that it either hasn’t cooled completely or the oven was slightly cooler and the macaroon needs a few more extra minutes in the hot oven to dry out.

 

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