This is the first in a series of macaroon recipes I would like to share with you. I am addicted to macaroons. My eyes are always drawn to the sumptuous displays in a patisserie window; staring at the delicate rainbow of colours, guessing as to the flavour... my mouth starts to water involuntarily.
This is not the first time I've made macaroons. In fact I've been researching recipes and perfecting my bake for about six months now. I'm getting better. This last batch though, wow! The shells are crisp, yet retain their gooey interior and the ganache is perfection, being both delicious and a beautifully smooth, firm consistency. The flavour is incredible too, a truly rich and decadent treat to accompany afternoon tea or as a sweet amuse-bouche with coffee at the end of a meal.
Now I'm not going to pretend that this is an easy recipe. It's not chocolate rice crispy cakes, but it's not rocket science either. I cannot state how important patience is when making macaroons, if you follow these instructions and get the ingredients right, you can do this! It's worth the time, trust me.
You will need:
For the shells:
2 large eggs
60g ground almonds
110g confectioners' sugar (icing sugar)
20g castor sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 vanilla bean
For the milk chocolate ganache:
60g of milk chocolate
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 vanilla bean
Ingredients & tools
Separate the egg whites from the yolk and keep them in the fridge for up to 24 hours. After 12 hours you can start to make macaroons. Bring the egg whites to room temperature before continuing.
Preheat your oven to 150ºC (300ºF).
Put the confectioners' sugar and ground almonds into a blender and grind them into a fine powder. Strain this mixture through a sieve onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Allow it to cool.
Beat the eggs in a bowl until they start to form soft peaks, using an electric hand whisk speeds this process considerably. When the peaks start to stiffen gradually add the castor sugar continuing to beat the egg whites constantly. Add the cocoa powder and continue to mix until an even colour is achieved.
The beaten egg white & cocoa before the almond/ sugar mix is added
Strain the cooled ground almond and sugar mix through a sieve over the egg white mix, fold in the mixture using a silicone spatula. Scrape the seeds from half the vanilla pod and add to the mixture, folding them in gently.
Carefully fill a pastry bag with this mixture and pipe out 30 uniform circles (about 4.5cm) onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. I use a silicone baking mat for macaroons as I find it easier to lift them from the tray after baking, it's not necessary for success though. If the macaroons stick after baking, simply trickle a little water between the paper and the tray and remove with a frosting spatula or any other very pliable, thin knife.
Once you have piped out the circles set them aside and leave them alone for at least one hour or until a crust forms on the surface of the macaroons. Then bake for 10 to 12 minutes. They will rise and spread a little in the oven. Allow the macaroons to cool slightly before attempting to remove them.
Piped out and resting
In the oven & cooling
To make the chocolate ganache create a bain marie, break the chocolate into small pieces and melt it slowly. Add the butter allow it to melt while gently stirring the mixture, then add the cream continuing to stir. Scrape out the vanilla seeds from the remaining half of the vanilla pod and add to the chocolate mixture. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before chilling the ganache in the fridge. I found the ganache was a little runny even after chilling so I added a very small amount (two teaspoons) of icing sugar to the mix to allow it to thicken and set a little in the fridge.
Spread the ganache over half the shells and sandwich with a matching top. Chill the macaroons for 1 hour before serving. Enjoy...