How to make chocolate macarons

I don’t know how I found myself in the kitchen making macarons. I guess it had to do with the leftover egg whites in the fridge from my ice-cream experiment.

It’s not a bad thing to make macarons. They are pretty and good to eat. Believe me when I say I can eat more than a couple at a go.

I wrote a earlier post on seeking perfection with fleur de sel macarons. I have had my share of bad macaron days where I come face-to-face with bad macaron batches (think cracked shells, no pied/feet etc).  As they say success is a poor teacher, I think I’ve learnt the most about macarons through my failed attempts, and trial and errors.

I’ve written a detailed recipe for these chocolate macarons with some tips and troubleshooting for macarons. I hope this would be helpful to anyone who is baking macarons for the first time and to those who are looking to troubleshoot some macaron problems.

These teeny-tiny morsels are worth your time and effort – the pride and exhilaration that you will get from making successful ones is almost unimaginable.

Here’s to macarons – to those who love them and those who are brave enough to bake them!

love,
jo

Recipe: Chocolate macarons
Makes 40 regular macarons

Upon discovery of the Italian method in macaron making, I have not looked back. It is by far my favourite method of making macarons. I find that this recipe produces a much more stable macaron mixture and it works incredibly well in a humid country!

These macarons are rich, very rich. I like them because they have shiny and smooth shells and when you bite into them, they give way to a chewy center that screams macaron-perfection. They aren’t too sweet either – as the richness of the dark chocolate ganache balances out the sweetness of the shells.

Chocolate macaron shells

Ingredients:

Group 1:
130g ground almond meal
25g dutch-processed cocoa powder
150g icing sugar
70g egg whites (*aged, if possible), room temperature

 Group 2:
150g caster sugar
30ml water
60g egg whites(*aged, if possible), room temperature

Method:

  1. Prepare your baking trays: Place baking parchment on trays and trace 2.5cm circles on the paper, spacing them about 1.5 to 2cm apart. You can use cookie cutters as a guide.
  2. I usually dry my ground almond meal in a low temperature oven (about 40-50 degrees celcius) for approximately 10 minutes as ground almond tend to absorb moisture. Then process it in a food processor with the icing sugar.
  3. Sift the ground almond meal, icing sugar, and cocoa powder into a bowl and whisk the dry ingredients before adding theegg whites in group 1 and whisk again until you get a well-incorporated, smooth paste.

Making an Italian meringue:

  1. Place egg whites from group 2 into a greasefree mixer bowl.
  2. Heat sugar and water mixture in a clean stainless steel pot on medium heat (do not stir). Just use a clean pastry brush and tap water to brush down the sugar on the sides of the pan. Once the sugar mixture reaches 105 degrees celcius (do use a candy thermometer), start the mixer and whisk the egg whites to soft peaks.
  3. When the sugar mixture reaches 118 degrees celcius, remove pot from stove and immerse the pot into a basin of warm water to halt the cooking process.
  4. Once the sugar mixture stop bubbling profusely, wipe the bottom of the pot dry before you begin to pour the mixture in a steady stream into the egg whites while the mixer is on high speed. Whisk at maximum speed for about 5 minutes before turning down to medium speed for about 3-4 minutes. The meringue should be firm and glossy. Then, let the meringue cool slightly at low speed.

Folding the Italian meringue with the dry ingredients:

  1. Once the meringue has cooled (warm, but not hot!), incorporate a large scoop of meringue into the group 1 ingredients. Fold to combine. You don’t have to be too careful about knocking the air out in this step.
  2. Then, add the rest of the meringue into the group 1 ingredients and fold through gently.

How to achieve macaronage?

  1. Macaronage is a term used for mixing the batter and spreading the batter against the sides of the bowl until you get a smooth, glossy mixture. You need to achieve macaronage if you want your macarons to form pied/’feet’ after baking. When your dry ingredients and italian meringue is well-combined and well-folded through, smear the mixture against the sides of the bowl with your spatula to achieve macaronage. This should be done about 10- 12 times to achieve a smooth, glossy mixture, without holding peaks. When you lift your spatula, the mixture should fall in about 5-6 seconds. The consistency should be similar to your choux pastry batter.

Piping and drying of macaron shells:

  1.  When it is done, pipe the macaron shells onto a baking sheet. You should pipe perpendicular to the table and lift the nozzle once it has spread to the inner line of the circle. The mixture will spread a little.
  2. Rap the baking tray against the table top 2 to 3 times. This will help bring any air bubbles to the surface of the macarons and you can prick it away with a toothpick.
  3. Let the macarons rest for about 30 minutes in an air-conditioned environment/cool and humid-free environment until they have form a skin and the batter does not stick to your fingers when you touch it.

Baking the macaron shells:

  1. Bake in a preheated oven on the center rack at 160 degrees celcius for about 17- 18 minutes. (It is advisable to use an oven thermometer to check your oven temperature and not to rely entirely on the oven setting as there may be some inaccuracies.)
  2. Cool the macaron shells before attempting to peel them off the baking sheet. They will come off easily after they are cooled.

Recipe: Dark chocolate ganache filling
Enough to fill 40 regular macarons

200g dark chocolate, chopped
200g cream
50g butter, room temperature, cubed

1. Put the cream into a pot and bring to a boil. When the cream starts to bubble furiously, take it off the heat and let it cool a little before pouring over a bowl of chopped chocolate.

2. Using a spatula, fold the cream and chocolate mixture to combine until smooth and glossy.

3. Cool the chocolate ganache mixture to about 50 degrees celcius before added the chopped butter and whisk in to combine.

4. Cool the chocolate ganache in a fridge. Start whisking the ganache once it is chilled thouroughly. The point is to whip air into the ganache until buttercream consisitency.  The ganache would look a little paler and would able to  hold its shape.

***

To assemble the macarons:

1. Start by pairing the macarons shells. You should try to pair them based on the best fit.

2. Transfer the ready chocolate ganache filling into a piping bag (What I do is to use a disposable piping bag and to cut a small hole)

3. Start piping the chocolate ganache onto the center of a macaron shell. Sandwich with the other half of the macaron shell and twist it to and fro slightly till the ganache fills to the edge of the shell.

4. Refrigerate the macarons in a covered container. I find the flavours and texture of the macarons are best the day after (or after 12 hrs). Somehow this allows the flavours time to infuse and the filling helps to soften the shells slightly giving it a chewy texture. Try to consume your macarons within 3-4 days.

*Aged(or matured) egg whites aids in the making of macarons. Leave your egg whites out on the table counter for a day (if you live in a warmer climate, if not, you can leave it out for two days). Sometimes, I leave the egg whites to age in the fridge for a few days. This allows for some evaporation of moisture from the egg whites. It also allows the coiled proteins in the egg whites to relax and this allows them to whisk to its maximum volume.

*If this is the first time you are making macarons, do refer to my previous post on salted-caramel macarons for more macaron tips and tricks!

*You can choose to fill these chocolate macaron shells with a milk chocolate-passion fruit ganache. This is another one of my favourites!

Macaron troubleshooting:

If your macaron shell cracks

– your oven may be too hot. It is best to use an oven thermometer when baking so as to be sure of your oven temperature. You can also bake the macarons on two tray. This prevents the bottom of the macarons from becoming overbaked and it prevents the macarons from cracking.

If your macarons cannot form pied/’feet’..

– your oven may not be hot enough

– you may have rested/dried the macaron shells for too long

If your macarons are not glossy and looks lumpy…

– you might not have given the macaron mixture sufficient macaronage.

If your macarons form peaks that refuse to settle after piping…

– you might not have given the macaron mixture sufficient macaronage.

If your macarons are hollow with wet bottoms…

– you might not have baked them long enough.

– you might consider moving the macarons to the lower third of the oven for the last few minutes to dry out the bottom.

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About jothetartqueen

My first love is eating. A very close second is my love for baking and cooking. I passionately believe that the best form of appreciation of something is almost always through the creation of it. This passion took me on a whirlwind, unforgettable ride through the patisserie diploma course at Le Cordon Bleu (Sydney). Join me on my discovery for the love of food – through the kitchen, through the markets, through experimenting, tasting and loving.
This entry was posted in Baking, Cookies, Gluten-free, Macarons and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to How to make chocolate macarons

  1. Looks like a great recipe. I love Macarons and I love chocolate so this is a recipe made in Heaven for me.

  2. I have been wanting to do a macaron recipe for a long time – thank you for so much for the detail and great tips in this post – I’ll have to remember this post for the future!

  3. Your macarons are absolutely perfect! I use a very similar recipe and it always seems reliable 😀

  4. What a clear, informative tutorial (and beautiful results!). I have never made macarons the Italian way, but I have made Italian meringue before on its own and was amazed by its stability and ease, so I’m going to try it this way next time I make them. It’s funny how you make things the same (you think) each time and yet sometimes you get amazing success and other times colossal failure. It’s great to know this recipe is (almost) fool-proof.

    And I am definitely going to try the chocolate flavour! I like the idea of cutting the sweetness with the ganache filling. Thanks for a great post:)

    • Yes do give the Italian meringue method a go. I used to make Macarons using the French method but sometimes it doesn’t work too well. Since I started using the Italian meringue method, I have Nv looked back. Try it to see if u like this method better 😉

      • I must admit, the last time I made macarons using the french method they came out amazingly well, so I am a little afraid to try the Italian method. Then again, it was probably just a fluke! I think I am going to make macarons tomorrow, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

      • Update me when u are done with the Macarons! What flavour are u baking?? Would love to have some now!

      • Mmm, I was thinking either lemon or your chocolate ones. I know I could totally have some too!

  5. Your macarons looks so yummy and perfect… Wish i know how to bake 🙂

  6. fanny says:

    those macaron look gorgeous. the shells are just perfect! xx fanny

  7. Deena says:

    I dont understand, what must we do with the egg whites in group1? Pls reply! Thanks

    • i hope I’m not too late with the reply. I like using aged egg whites – which means I simply separate the egg whites and leave it in a bowl on a kitchen counter for a day or two before starting this recipe. If you don’t have time to do this, you can simply use room temperature egg whites. hope this clarifies =)

  8. pattyabr says:

    Even though I made 7 batches of macarons in February for my blog post, I am now obsessed with macarons. Your recipe is intriguing and I will have to give it a try. I also just ordered a macaron cookbook that claims ease in making. I gotta see which version works best for me. I love your pics I probably asked you before what kind of camera do you have?

  9. wow – great macarons! and yes you make some sensational photos too! btw, since we have some great macaron talk here here’s a guide to starting your own macaron business http://www.themacaronmaster.com/ – 🙂

  10. Those shells really do look so smooth and perfect- Just lovely. It’s almost a shame to eat such beauties. 😉

  11. cravingthis says:

    Hi jothetartqueen ~ 1. Do you find the Italian Meringue method produces smaller feet?
    2. I am familiar with how much folding the French method requires, but not so much with this method. Are you looking for the same type of flow? 3. You mentioned not using a candy thermometer, how do you know when your sugar mixture reaches 118-F? Are you using an instant read thermometer?

    Thanks in advance.

  12. Hi..
    I’m answering these questions to the best of my ability and experience. hope it helps!

    1. Sorry, I’m not sure if I understand what you mean by smaller feet? I am happy with the results of macarons using the Italian meringue method and I don’t find that it compromises the quality of the macaron. Also, there are pastry chefs (including Pierre Herme) who choose this method over the French method.

    2. Yes. you need to achieve macaronage and we are looking at the same consistency – whether you use the French or Italian Meringue method.

    3. Perhaps you misread/or I wasn’t clear enough. I meant do use a candy thermometer/instant read thermometer. That’s the best and most accurate way to know what temperature your sugar mixture is at. I won’t advocate doing otherwise.

    thanks!

  13. cravingthis says:

    Hi jothetartqueen ~ thanks for answering all my questions! Actually, I’m the one who should have been more clear, smaller feet meaning not as much as a rise, so a shorter macaron, more flat than high. I’m going to give this method another try. I used it once before, but can’t recall the results. Thanks again for all the info!

    • I would say that it’s would not be as high as macaron made with the French meringue method.

      I guess you can try the Italian meringue once more and compare which you prefer.

      For me, I just feel that the Italian meringue method produces more consistent macarons each and every time. And it is definitely a more forgiving method compared to the French meringue macarons. Just go with whatever method you feel most comfortable with. hope this helps! happy baking!

  14. Christina says:

    love your blog! found it when i was trying to troubleshoot the macarons that I made. thanks for sharing =)

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  16. Amy says:

    How big are the macarons? 2 inches in diameter?
    Thx

  17. hn says:

    so how many eggs would be for 60g and 70g? Also, can I take out the cocoa powder out and add food colouring instead?

  18. A large egg would have about 30g of eggwhites. I would advise you to weight out the whites for the best results.

    Yes you can take the cocoa powder out and use food colouring instead. However, you will need to replace it with ground almonds. Use 150g ground almonds instead. However, the macaron shell would not have any chocolate flavour if you choose to do that.

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  23. What’s up, all the time i used to check blog posts here early in the break of day, since
    i enjoy to gain knowledge of more and more.

  24. Donna says:

    Excellent recipe I’ve tried it all the shells look pretty!

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