In my opinion, macarons are the epitome of a classic, elegant French dessert. If you've been following my culinary adventures, you've probably noticed how very keen I am on serving individual, miniature portions and that's exactly what I adore about macarons. They're made of a sweet meringue (egg whites, sugar and almond flour) sandwiched around a flavored filling of some sort. For this version, I used chocolate ganache (heated heavy cream poured over finely chopped exquisite, high-quality chocolate).
Cooking (and by extension baking) is an expression of love. I think the person who receives your baked goods will appreciate your effort and feel special. And that's my favorite part; I take pleasure in seeing the ones I love happy.
Yields: 20 sandwich cookies1 cup whole almonds, blanched (see tips)
1¾ cups + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
4 egg whites
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1¾ ounces toffee salted caramel chocolate (or any high quality chocolate), finely chopped
For the almond flour: Coarsely chop the almonds then grind them with a food processor or spice grinder (I use the VitaMix Dry Blade Container) until they turn into a powder. Make sure you stop before it turns into almond butter. The result should be a fine white mill. Set aside or bake a few minutes in the oven to ensure a dry product (see tips).
Sifting the flour: Gather 20 tablespoons almond flour. Using a coarse-mesh tamis (or sieve), sift the almond flour, cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Remove and discard the solids (about 1 tablespoon).
For the egg-whites: Place the egg whites in a mixing bowl. Whisk until you get soft peaks then, adding 1 teaspoon granulated sugar at a time, whisk until stiff peaks form (don't over-mix or it will become grainy). The egg whites should stick right up. Using a spatula, gently fold the almond flour mixture and a pinch of red food coloring into the egg whites until just combined and smooth (don't over-mix).
Once cooled, gently lift the halved shells from the parchment paper. Pipe the filling onto the flat side of half of the cookies and top with the other halves, forming a cookie sandwich. Be very gentle as the shells are very delicate and can break very easily.
Little reminder on how to blanch almonds: Place the almonds in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil for about 2-3 minutes. Drain and remove the skin.
You can buy ready-made almond flour. You can use Bob's Red Mill brand flour or the flour at Trader Joe's (but it isn't white almond flour; the nuts aren't skinned). I prefer to make it myself. Remember to get a little more than 4.5 ounces of whole almonds (I buy them at Costco) to get the correct amount of almond flour.
To guarantee a dry product, spread the almonds (once turned into almond flour) onto a baking pan and bake in the oven at 300°F for 10 minutes.
If coloring the macarons, it's important to use powdered food coloring so as not to change the texture of the shells. You can find red food coloring powder in most Indian markets.
I used Belgian chocolate I bought from my local market. I loved the added toffee and salted caramel already incorporated in the chocolate for the ganache.
Published By: on March 21, 2014.