I’ve done it.
The #1 thing on my Baking Bucket List, which I proudly crossed off on January 1, 2016. Yes, it takes me a long time to sort through and edit the photos for my posts, but that doesn’t really matter…right?
Point is, I was terrified by macarons – just like every other baker in this world. Then I made them, and I was like, huh. That wasn’t so bad.
All the “tips” for getting perfect macarons can be a little overwhelming. In the end, just make sure that you weigh things out and that you follow directions closely, and it’s really not difficult at all. The only struggle I went through was deciding what kind of macaron to make! If you’ve been here before (or if you know me), you should’ve been able to predict what I’d settled on: chocolate (duh).
One important thing that I learned from my first batch of macarons, is to use a silicone baking mat! I can’t say how “controlled” the two different batches are, but from what I can tell, there’s a pretty big difference. I’ll just leave these photos with you…
Yeah. I’d use a silicone baking mat.
The shells are only part you have to actually be precise with. The filling is a simple chocolate ganache, but oh my god, maybe it’s just me, but chocolate ganache is so good. I love chocolate ganache – don’t ask why, I just do.
While I was snooping around the internet for a good chocolate ganache filling for these macarons, I noticed that some of them have butter, and others don’t. So, I did some further snooping, and discovered that although the butter is optional, it does leave the ganache silkier and shinier than without, so I used a bit of butter in my ganache and I’d recommend you to do the same 🙂
Chocolate Macarons with Silky Chocolate Ganache
- 100g almond flour (almond meal)
- 170g powdered sugar (confectioner’s/icing sugar)
- 15g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 100g egg whites, room temperature*
- 35g caster or superfine sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 120g dark chocolate (at least 60%)
- 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon (12g) unsalted butter
*I’ve read a lot about whether or not to “age” egg whites, and I honestly haven’t determined a personal stance on this, but if you want to age your egg whites (I’d still recommend you do so), then place them in a bowl, covered in plastic, for at least a few days, or up to three days, before using
- For the macaron shells, combine the almond flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder in a food processor and blend until well combined (about 30 seconds).
- In a dry, clean, and oil-free bowl, use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to beat the egg whites until foamy. Add in the caster sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- Sift 1/3 of almond flour mixture into the egg whites and fold together very gently until fully combined. Repeat this process with another 1/3 of the almond flour mixture, and then with the final 1/3.
- Prepare a baking sheet and line it with a silicone baking mat. Fit a pastry bag with a round tip (about 1 cm/0.5 inch in diameter) and fill the pastry bag with the macaron batter. Pipe circles (about 4 cm/1.5 inch in diameter) onto the silicone baking mat. Gently tap the baking sheet on the counter to break any air bubbles.
- Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius, or 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and let the macarons sit at room temperature for 45 – 60 minutes. The shells should form a slightly dry shell so that they don’t feel sticky when you lightly touch them.
- Bake the shells (one or two sheets at a time) for 10 minutes, before rotating the pan, and baking again for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- For the chocolate ganache, break the chocolate into pieces and place into a bowl.
- In a small saucepan, combine the cream and butter, and heat until just boiling. Pour the mixture over the chocolate and let it sit for a few minutes, before stirring until completely combined. Let the ganache sit at room temperature or in the fridge until it’s thickened enough to be piped*
- To assemble, take a macaron shell (if any of them have cracked or are less pretty, use them as the bottom shell!) spoon or pipe chocolate ganache on top of it, before covering it with the other shell. You can serve them immediately, or leave them in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. Bring them to room temperature before serving.**
*When I first started assembling the macarons, the chocolate ganache hadn’t had any time to set, so the chocolate shell on top kept sliding around! I speak from experience guys – let your ganache set!
**They actually taste better after being left (in an airtight container) in the fridge for a day or two 🙂 patience, my friends ~