French Macarons

I didn’t know these type of macarons existed (vs the sticky condensed milk and coconut version) until I went to France. They come in adorable colors and delicious European flavors, totally my kind of dessert! They were not cheap though (cheapest was $1 at McDonalds, which still tasted pretty awesome), so I’ve always dreamed of making them. I’ve heard they are insanely hard to make, but I enlisted my brother as sous chef Hans to assist me. We’re a great team.

Natalie: *folds ingredients*
5 min later
Natalie: *still folding*
Hans: dude, if this is Iron Chef you’re never gonna make it.
Natalie: well, I’m sure on Iron Chef, the sous chef wouldn’t waste time just standing there watching the head chef! 

Natalie: I’m not sure if that pipe tip is big enough…
Hans: fine then *tips bag upside down and dumps out the merengue onto tray* this looks kinda like Snowball’s crap

We also only had unsweetened baking chocolate for the ganache, so we improvised:

Natalie: *tastes* ugh, its really bitter *dumps sugar*
Hans: man, if it’s YOU who’s dumping that much sugar, that’s really disturbing *tastes* blah!
Natalie: *adds more sugar* well just think how much sugar is added to normal milk chocolate then.
Hans: I’m sure there’s more to milk chocolate than just sugar. They probably add milk. This is like adding pure sugar to lemonade without adding any water.
Natalie: *tastes* I think it’s okay now, but I’ll just add a bit more sugar
Hans: yeah, just wait. Imagine people saying, “gee this is so sweet, what chocolate did you use?” and us saying, “oh unsweetened…we just dumped too much sugar on it!” 

Hans: out of the way, I’ll be the head chef and you’ll be the sous chef! 

Natalie: your cookies are so humongous they look more like burgers than macaroons. 

Natalie: I think I made too much ganache filling, when dad comes back I’ll half batch it.
Hans: Are you kidding? This is DAD we’re talking about. Haven’t you seen how much peanut butter he puts in his peanut butter sandwiches!? 

Natalie: you’re adding way too much ganache, there’s more filling than cookie!
Hans: Oh yeah? Just wait til we taste them. Mine will be AWESOME and yours will just be air.

Our final result! (sorry about the blurriness)

Anyway, they’re not hard to make and eat….they’re hard to make them pretty. But who cares, they’re delicious! The cookie was a bit sweet but the more dark ganache balanced it nicely. Recipe from David Lebovitz, filling adapted.

Macaron Batter:
1 cup powdered sugar
½ cup powdered almonds
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 tablespoons granulated sugar

Chocolate Filling:
½ cup heavy cream (used whole milk instead)
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

DirectionsPreheat oven to 350º F (180º C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch, 2 cm) ready.

Grind together the powdered sugar with the almond powder and cocoa so there are no lumps; use a blender or food processor since almond meal that you buy isn’t quite fine enough.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes. Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula.

When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you’re alone). Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten themacarons, then bake them for 15 minutes. Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet.

Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch (3 cm) circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.

Chocolate Filling: Heat the cream in a small saucepan . When the cream just begins to boil at the edges, remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let sit one minute, then stir until smooth. Let cool. Assemble into sandwiches!

Notes: separate egg white beforehand and let sit at room temp overnight. The older the egg white, the better because of less water content Merengues absorb moisture from the air and will “weep” aka become soggy so eat fast. Or store in airtight container and keep cool and dry.

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