Desserts · Uncategorized

Bitter-Sweet Chocolate Macarons

This weekend, I finally purchased a new electric mixer. Now, I no longer need to suffer when beating my egg whites by hand! So what’s the best way to test out my new machine? Well, it’s making macarons of course! And not just any macarons – delicate chocolate macarons filled with a rich bitter-sweet chocolate ganache centre that melts in your mouth…

I can see your mouth watering already!

[Yields 24 Macarons]

Ingredients:

For the chocolate macarons:

  • 140g egg whites (4 large)
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
    70g caster sugar (1/3 cups)
    200g icing sugar (1 1/2 cups)
  • 130g almond meal (1 1/3 cups)
    30g cocoa powder (1/4 cups)
    A pinch of salt (optional)

For the chocolate Ganache:

  • 100g plain dark chocolate, broken into chunks
    30 ml heavy cream

Now let’s start using that electric mixer!

Start by measuring every ingredient carefully – because in this recipe, precision is key. I prefer using the scale rather than cup measurements because it is more accurate that way.

However, if you are in a hurry, you can always just measure everything using your cups – although I strongly advise against it, as your macarons may not turn out very well if you choose this route. After gathering all the ingredients, proceed to the next step.

Sift the almond meal, cocoa powder and icing sugar in a large bowl using a sieve. Make sure that the sieve has small holes in it so that no big lump of almond gets through. The reason why you need to sieve this mixture is so that your macarons turn out smooth and light, rather than lumpy. Repeat this sieving process a second time, and set the bowl aside. Keep the large lumps of almond to be used in this recipe, or discard them if you wish.

Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs under medium speed until it forms some foam (as shown in the photo above), this should take about 1 minute.

Gradually add in the caster sugar, a little at a time into the bowl, whisking it at a medium-high speed. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to make sure that the sugar is well incorporated into the meringue mixture. Continue whisking it for 2-3 minutes until the meringue forms stiff peaks, so that it doesn’t fall out when the bowl is turned upside down. A good trick to check whether or not your mixture is ready, is to slowly lift your whisk so that a peak of meringue forms (as shown in the photo above). If your mixture is ready, the peak will stand straight up (not droop).

Once again, sieve the almond, icing sugar and cocoa mixture into the meringue bowl and add the salt. Start folding them together with a rubber spatula. When folding, cut through the meringue and then fold up and over, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. This process should take about 30-50 folds.

When ready, the batter should fall back into the bowl in a thick ribbon that is smooth and a very viscous. If the batter is not smooth but is lumpy instead, then your batter is under-mixed. If the batter is very runny, then the batter is over-mixed. Over-mixing the batter will cause your macarons to be flat; whilst under-mixing it will lead to a very lumpy surface on your macarons.

Line a non-stick baking paper/parchment paper on a baking tray. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1 cm plain tip, with the macaron batter. Pipe about 44 identically sized circles onto the baking tray leaving gaps in between. Tap the tray on your work surface firmly to allow the macarons to spread and flatten slightly. Leave the macarons to sit at room temperature for about 30-60 minutes, until the top of the macarons are no longer tacky when touched.

Meanwhile, pour the 30 ml of heavy cream into a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow it to come to a boil whilst stirring often to avoid burning its base. Turn off the heat, and immediately mix in the 100 grams of chocolate.

Continue stirring until the chocolate has melted completely. (If chunks of chocolate are still solid, turn on the heat once more, and stir consistently until the chocolate piece has melted). Set it aside to cool. Whilst waiting for the macarons to rest, preheat the oven to about 150°C. (Although, If you are using an oven with a fan, decrease the temperature to 140°C).

Place the macarons in the middle of the oven for about 10 minutes, then rotate the tray and bake it for another 10 minutes. Make sure that the macarons comes out clean by trying to remove one macaron from the sheet at first. The macarons should be easy to remove, and should not get stuck to the baking sheet. However, if it does, then your macarons are not cooked through yet, and you will have to leave it in the oven for a little more time.

Transfer the chocolate ganache sauce to a piping bag. Pipe the chocolate onto the centre of one of the macaron cookies, but do not pipe too close to the edges. Sandwich the macarons with the other cookie and press slightly to allow for the ganache to evenly spread.

You can serve the macarons straight away; however, I recommend that you allow them to rest in the fridge overnight to allow for the flavours of the ganache to fuse with the macarons. Bring them to room temperature before serving.

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