Monday, June 14, 2010

Dark Chocolate Macarons

Back in April, when I imagined what I would snack on back in the United States for a month and a half, various things came to mind. Cupcakes, Reese's peanut butter cups, and chocolate M&Ms were only part of my vision of jumping into a pool of All-American things I had missed out on for a year. 

Now that I'm here, what have I been baking? French macarons. And not a single cupcake, M&M or peanut butter cup is to be found in my stomach (that's not because I've digested them all--I promise I haven't had a single one). The main reason being that macarons are fun to make and especially fun to share, whereas I doubt my family would really be amazed if I brought out a bag of chocolate M&Ms to give them a taste. I can just imagine they would think it was a joke, and when they realized it wasn't, they would just look at me with a strange look that would speak for itself: "You've always been the weird child in the family. We would say mysterious, but that would be sugar-coating it too much."

With macarons, I get looks of delight and happiness, requests to make more and billion-dollar offers. Just kidding about the money, although I wouldn't mind. Then again, I'm the weird child, and you don't entrust a strange person with that much money.

It might come as a surprise that I had never made chocolate macarons before, but I hadn't. I wouldn't say I overlooked them in the slightest, but I was always more attracted to butter, or salted caramel. Better late than never, though, right? These are perfectly silky and chocolate-rich, provided you take them out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before eating (otherwise the ganache is too hard). Oh, and provided you don't burn half of the chocolate for the tops like I did--I don't think it affected the taste much, but the tops should be a darker brown than they are on the picture.

As I said, macarons are fun to make, but even more fun if you're not alone. For the occasion, I teamed up with little sister of a friend of mine / amazing chocolate cookie-maker Eleni who had never made macarons before. Trust me: you couldn't tell--her macarons turned out beautiful and delicious. 

Hi Eleni!

So if you're looking to elicit squeals of delight from people you want to get something from (money, appreciation, a college recommendation) or even just those you want to please for the fun of it--the best part of baking--add these to the list. 

You can be sure they'll pick them over the M&Ms; if they don't, just steal the money you wanted and eat the macarons yourself.

Dark Chocolate Macarons
makes approx. 72

for macaron tops:
120g 100% chocolate
300g almond powder
300g confectioner's sugar
110g "liquified" egg whites (placed in a bowl and put in the fridge for at least 72 hours before use)
4.5g dark yellow food coloring
300g granulated sugar
75g mineral water
110g "liquified" egg whites

for dark chocolate ganache: 
400g heavy cream
360g dark baking chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 72%)
40g 100% chocolate
140g unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces

-Sift confectioner's sugar and almond powder together. Add food coloring to the first bowl of "liquified" egg whites and mix. Pour onto the sugar-almond mixture, without mixing them together.

- Bring water and sugar to a boil, 118°C. When the syrup reaches 115°C, start beating second batch of egg whites with a stand mixer. Pour syrup onto the whites (which should be at soft peak stage by now), continue beating and wait until mixture is down to 50°C before incorporating it into the sugar/almond mixture. Fold everything in delicately.

- Pipe mixture onto a parchment paper-covered baking sheet, making round shapes approx. 3,5cm in diameter. Space them approximately 2cm apart from one another. 

- Tap baking sheet on kitchen counter, and let macaron tops crust for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F. Bake tops for 12 minutes, opening oven door twice. After removing them from the oven, place parchment paper on counter or table.

- Make ganahce. Bring cream to a boil. Pour it, in three separate pours, into a heat-resistant bowl filled with baking chocolate and mix delicately. Once the mixture has reached a temperature of 50C (or when it feels warm to the touch), add butter. Beat until ganache is silky.

- Place in a deep dish. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure that it touches the ganache. Place in refrigerator until cold. 

- Pipe resulting cream onto half of the macaron tops, covering them with the remaining tops.

- Place macarons in the fridge for 24 hours, bringing them back to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before eating.
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Paris Pastry said...

You can't help but miss those delicious macarons when you're away from them too long. In fact, I think I'm showing withdrawal symptoms right now just by looking at these!

Eleni said...

miam miam!
we should do this in paris sometime-- and make cupcakes and blondies too!

claudia said...

those chocolate ones are very tempting too. Your lemon ones are so good, i'll be sure to try to make the chocolate ones too!

Ingrid said...

Oh, I think I'd much prefer macarons over any of that other stuff, even if they are chocolate! :)

Mary said...

These look absolutely fabulous. I can only imagine how good they must be. Your treats are always lovely. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

Barbara said...

Oh yum! Those look fabulous. And good work, Eleni! What fun for her to learn to make these so early in life. She's bound to come up with some great innovations.

Juliana said...

Wow, your chocolate macs are perfect...I haven't had the courage to try to make them :-)

Shauna from Piece of Cake said...

These are gorgeous, Lucie! Macarons are something I'm afraid to tackle, but your directions are so clear, I might have to try your recipe!

cookies and cups said...

awesome job! The thought of making these scares me a little, but you might have convinced me to give them a go! Thanks!!

grace said...

what's this i see? macaron perfection? methinks so. :)