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!
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
130g ground almond meal
25g dutch-processed cocoa powder
150g icing sugar
70g egg whites (*aged, if possible), room temperature
150g caster sugar
60g egg whites(*aged, if possible), room temperature
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Place egg whites from group 2 into a greasefree mixer bowl.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- Then, add the rest of the meringue into the group 1 ingredients and fold through gently.
How to achieve macaronage?
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.)
- 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
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!
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.