Chocolate Macarons

MacaronsMakes about 24 to 30 sandwich cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Assembly Time 10 minutes
Level: ***

Equipment:
fine sieve or strainer
electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment
3 baking sheets
parchment paper
wire cooling rack

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups (5 ounces) blanched almond meal or flour, finely ground

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (8.5 ounces) confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened *Choclatique Red Cocoa Powder, plus more for dusting

1/2 cup (3 to 4 large) egg whites, at room temperature

1 cup filling of your choice

Directions:

1. Force the almond meal or flour, along with the powdered sugar and cocoa, through a strainer or sieve into a large bowl and whisk to blend.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment whip the egg whites on low to medium speed until foamy, then increase the speed and continue just until they hold glossy, firm peaks, about 5 minutes.

3. Using a rubber spatula gently fold in the dry ingredients in 4 additions. When the dry ingredients are all incorporated, the mixture will be runny and look like a wet cake batter.

4. Spoon half the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a half-inch round tip and, keeping the bag vertical and 1 to 2 inches above the baking sheet, pipe rounds about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 2 inches apart onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refill the bag and pipe macarons onto the second baking sheet. Set the rounds aside in a cool, dry place for 30 minutes to rest.

5. While waiting, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat heat it to 425ºF.

6. Work with one baking sheet at a time. Dust the tops of the macarons lightly with sifted cocoa powder and put the baking sheet on top of a spare sheet in the oven. Slide the set-up into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 350ºF. Prop the door open slightly using a wooden spoon (to reduce the heat as the macarons continue to rise and dry). The heat of every oven will vary; if the oven cools too quickly, do not prop open the door and instead quickly open and close the oven door every few minutes to gently release excess heat.

7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the macarons are smooth and just firm to the touch. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack.

8. Bring the oven temperature back to 425ºF and repeat with the second baking sheet of macarons.

9. As soon as the oven has been reset, and leaving the macarons on the parchment, lift the paper at one corner and pour a little hot water onto the baking sheet underneath the paper. Tilt the sheet to evenly dampen the parchment and leave the macarons on the paper for 15 seconds. Peel them off the parchment and place them on a cooling rack. Match them up for sandwiching.

10. To fill the macaroons: Fill a pastry bag with the filling of your choice. Turn macaroons so their flat bottoms face up. On half of them, pipe about 1 teaspoon filling. Sandwich these with the remaining macaroons, flat-side down, pressing slightly to spread the filling to the edges. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

11. Pack the sandwiched cookies in a container and refrigerate for 24 hours (or for up to 4 days) before serving. This is how you achieve the wonderful texture.

12. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

ChefsNote: The almond meal (or flour) should be finely ground. If the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar are a bit coarse, process them in a food processor for a finer texture before running through a strainer or sifter. Additionally, if the almond meal feels a bit moist, spread it out on a lined baking sheet and place in a 325-degree oven to dry out, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Choclatique ProductNotes: *Choclatique Red Cocoa Powder is our unsweetened lightly alkalized cocoa powder.