Monday, March 7, 2011

How to make Double Chocolate French Macarons

Are you sick of macarons yet?

They're everywhere. All over foodie websites and all over foodie blogs. I bet you've seen a lot of pictures of them - little puffy sandwiches made in all different colours, with all sorts of different flavours and a variety of fillings. You can't escape them!

But you know what they say....if you can't beat them, eat them.

What? That's not right...

Have you ever made them though? No wait. First of all have you ever tried one?

My first time having a macaron was the very one I made. No joke. I've been to France and to Spain....I saw them everywhere. They were in every pastry shop window and people were buying them up like hot cakes. Why do people compare fast-selling things to hotcakes anyway? Hotcakes can't be that good. What the heck is a hotcake? Isn't it just a pancake...?

But, it's the truth. Never tried one...until a couple of months ago. I had extra egg whites in the fridge which I always do. So, I thought I'd go for it and see what all of the hype was about.

Turns out, if you make them well....they're good. Crisp shell, chewy and marshmallowy center....with a creamy filling....Yes. They are pretty freakin' good.

BUT - I find I like them the best in chocolate form. Ha! Sorry...I just heard myself say that. As if I had to tell you that. I love everything in chocolate form...toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant....No seriously I have cocoa deodorant. Yum.

If it's not chocolate...then it tends to just taste like flavoured egg whites and sugar. Not so appealing.

Anyway, you're probably sick of them....but I really hope you're not. Not yet at least.

They're not so scary. I promise. I do suggest that you read about the Secrets behind perfect French Macarons first though. It's about Science. It will make you feel like a bit of a nerd. It will teach you how to go from flat to chubby. Huh?

Most importantly, it will make you feel like you can totally make macarons. Here's how you make them, and they will be delicious.

First you combine the egg whites with a hefty pinch of salt and a bit of lemon juice in a clean bowl. This will make the egg proteins more attracted to air so they form stable bubbles more readily.

Beat the egg whites until they look like foamy bubble bath. This should only take about 20-25 seconds. Please don't use this to wash yourself. Gross.

Gradually add granulated sugar as you continue to beat the egg whites.

Keep beating. Sing some Michael Jackson for inspiration....

After about 2 or 3 minutes it should look like shaving cream or mousse...the hair product, you know?

Add the ground almond and icing sugar mixture all at once and begin folding gently until evenly combined. This shouldn't take more than 40 strokes....if it does, then you run the risk of a runny batter, which  may or may not end up all over your walls depending on your temper or level of food-obsessionism.

Fill up a pastry bag fitted with a 1 cm wide round tip and pipe little mounds of batter onto a silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Dip your finger in water to tap down any macarons that have pointy peaks. Let them stand at room temperature until the surfaces dry out a bit before baking. This can take from 30 minutes to 1 hour. 
Tick. Tock.


I like to use the chocolate ganache from these Silky Chocolate Truffles for the filling. Delicious.

Eat about 17 of them and take a nap.
Love life!

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