Friday, 18 May 2012

Chocolate Macarons.

             Well, here it is, finally, my first attempt at Macarons. I don't think I've ever eaten one of these let alone baked them. Oh, I've seen what they are supposed to look like, with their perfect little 'feet', perfectly squeezed filling, and and entire care bear rainbow of colours! But to start with, I just wanted to go for some choccy ones. Partly because I wanted to do something for this months 'We Should Cocoa' blog challenge, who's special ingredient this month is 'almonds'. I had a look at a few recipes and in the end went for this fairly straightforward one for French Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Ganache Filling by Jill Santopietro. I've changed cups for g/ml here, so if you want cup measurements go with the linky :) 
              I didn't have any problems with the process and the 26 Macarons were split between 28 baked on a silicone macaron mat sprayed with a bit of cake release spray and then wiped with kitchen towel to remove any excess, and 24 on baking paper lined trays. Both methods worked fine, with the silicone ones coming out just that little bit more uniform. Just make sure you let them cool totally before trying to shift them after baking.

So, for my first taste of a Macaron? Pretty bloomin nice! Love the mix of the crunchy outer, the airy centres that turn to a gorgeous, tasty goo as you chew, and then the lush, smooth, dark chocolate ganache caresses your tongue as you......god! Anyway, I'll stop there. 

These little fellas are entered in May's We Should Cocoa, A blog challenge based on, can you guess? YES! That's right! Chocolate!  run in turn by Chocolette, Chele, and this month, by Laura. So do have a good looky around their drool-inducing blogs :)

  • 280g Icing sugar.
  • 80g Ground almonds
  • 3 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Large free range egg whites at room temp.
  • 1/4 tsp Cream of tartar powder.
  • 3 TBSP Granulated sugar.
  • 125ml Double cream.
  • 120g Dark chocolate, about 50-60% cocoa.
  • 20g Unsalted butter at room temp.
  • Prep baking trays with baking paper, or silicone macaron mats. You will need room for about 50. I got 12 on a 7" x 11" tray area. 
  • Put the Icing sugar, almonds, cocoa and salt into a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, and blitz for a couple of minutes. Give it a stir round with a fork to mix in any bits that might have sat away from the blades and blitz for another minute.
  • Sift about 90% of the blitzed mix into a bowl. Put any bits left in the sieve back in with the last 10% in the food processor and blitz again. Sift this into the bowl and chuck the last small amount of un-siftable bits. (I only had about a teaspoon left, but if you have a finer sieve than me and you have loads left either blitz it again or just chuck it all in the bowl as it is :) )
  • Put the egg whites into a bowl and whisk until frothy.
  • Add the cream of tartar powder and whisk on med-high speed until they turn white and start to fluff up.
  • Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time while whisking.
  • Stop whisking when the whites hold a peak when you take the whisk out.
  • Fold in the dry mix a third at a time with a spatula.
  • Keep mixing it all in until it's completely combined and the mix is uniform.
  • Put the mix into a piping bag then cut the end off where it's about 1cm across flat, and pipe the mix out onto the trays, remembering that the mix will settle and spread. You'll soon see how they settle if you leave one or two for a minute and then you can gauge the rest.
  • Bang the trays on the work surface to release any trapped air bubbles then leave for about 45mins so that the surface of the macarons dries out and forms a skin.
  • Before the 45 mins is up, preheat the oven to 170c.
  • In my oven I just baked one layer of trays at a time, no higher than on the middle rack. 
  • Bake for 7mins, and then turn the tray(s) around and bake for another 7 mins.
  • Take out and leave to cool on a cooling rack in the trays.
  • While they're cooling....
  • Pour the cream into a small saucepan and, whilst stirring to avoid a skin forming, heat until it just starts to boil. 
  • Take off of the heat and add the broken up chocolate.
  • Stir slowly until melted and mixed in with the cream.
  • Add the butter and stir slowly until melted and mixed in.
  • Allow to cool. Then put in the fridge to cool more for about 20-30 mins, until it holds it's shape, but can still be piped.
  • When fully cooled, loosen the macs from the trays/silicone mat.
  • Put the ganache into a piping bag, cut a small hole in the end, and pipe the mix out onto half the macaron bases.
  • Pick similar sized macs if you baked freeform on a tray, and sandwich together. You'll soon get used to how to handle them during this bit :) and this is also why you don't want the choc ganache too firm, and then, if you can manage this next bit without eating any (I didn't) Chill for 24hrs. 
  • Eat! Then eat another one! Then eat another one by dunking it in the double cream you have left over!   Then eat healthy stuff for a little bit...then eat another one! :)


Kicking off with the classic.... Paul MACartney! - Live and Let Die!

The classic Fleetwood MAC! - Go Your Own Way!

..and the classic, heheh, well, it's a classic bit of dark trance to me :) Scott MAC - Damager 02  BOUNCE! BOUNCE! BOUNCE!!!

...and just for the hell of it, one of the two good songs from The Killers - When You Were Young.


  1. how great do these look for your first go! super impressed, love the sexy photographer too lol

    Nom! x

    1. Thanks Nix! :) x

      ....and I'm totally blushing! That's by far the most forward compliment I've had on this blog, or anywhere for that matter, and there's definitely no way you would have meant 'photography':D

  2. What an impressive first attempt at Macaron making! I love the photos to accompany the post and imagine you will be making these again as you talk about how delicious they are. I would love to try one myself:0)
    Thanks so much for entering into We Should Cocoa this month!

  3. Hey, well done. These look really good and heaps more professional than either of my attempts. Thanks for sharing with WSC :)