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This was my first attempt at making French Macarons. These fancy pants cookies require quite a bit of effort, but they’re totally worth it! They’re not cookies that you can just have ready at the drop of a hat – more of a weekend or day off kind of cookie, you need time to make these. I felt a little giddy {I was proud of myself} after finishing these and can’t wait to try other flavors.

Oh, and yes of course I made them to be “me allergy friendly”.

French Macarons: Chocolate with Semisweet Mocha Ganché

  • 2/3 cups (3 oz) finely ground almonds
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Prepare baking sheet and template: Using two half-sheet baking pan, fit each pan with a sheet of parchment. Use either a circle template or the wide end of a pastry tip, draw 1-1/8 inch-diameter circles on the papers, spacing them at least 3/4 inch apart.

2. Attach a round tip to a pastry bag. Twist the bag to hold the tip tightly. This prevents the batter from leaking out. Place the pastry bag, tip down, inside a measure cup or any container that will hold the pastry bag vertically. Set aside. {I learned that I could really use better pastry bags and tips}

3. Grind almonds, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in food processor until powdery, about 30 sec. Sift almond cocoa mixture through a medium-mesh sieve. Set aside.

4. Add egg whites into the bowl of a hand mixer or a standing mixer with whisk attachment. Beat on low speed for 45 seconds to break up the whites. Increase speed to medium high and beat until foamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue to beat until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks, about 1 minute.

5. Reduce speed to low, add vanilla extract to just combine. Remove bowl to a work surface. Using a silicon spatula, fold in half of the sifted hazelnut mixture with a circular motion {scooping from bottom of bowl} until just incorporated. Fold in the rest of the ahazelnut mixture with same motion. {Meringue will deflate slightly.}

6. Press and spread out the batter against the side of the bowl. Scoop the batter from the bottom and turn it upside down. Repeat this process about 12 times. This technique {Macaronnage to be technical} gives the baked macarons a luster. Be careful not to do it too many times, or you might get oil stains on the surface of your baked macarons, not so pretty.

7. Pour batter into prepared pastry bag, twist or clip to close. Refrigerate batter for 15-20 minutes. This process makes the batter easier to pipe.

8. Pipe the batter onto the center of the circles. Make small circles since the batter will spread out after it’s piped.

9. Adjust oven racks to middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350°F.

10. Dry the batter at room temperature, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes. A slight crust should form on top of the macarons. {This might take longer on humid days}. The batter is ready if it doesn’t stick to your finger when you touch it gently.

11. Place one baking sheet in middle rack and immediately reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Bake macarons for 8 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet, front to back and place it on rack in lower-middle position. Continue to bake for another 8-10 minutes, until crisp and interior does not give easily when gently pressed. {Check macarons around 16 minutes into baking to make sure they don’t brown. You can place a piece of foil or parchment on top at this point to prevent top from browning} When done, move baking sheet from the oven and cool on wire rack (Residual heat from baking sheet will harden bottoms), about 30 minutes. Loosen macarons gently from parchment with spatula.

Semisweet Mocha Ganaché

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped {I use Enjoy Life mini chips b/c they’re allergy friendly}
  • 1 cup Mimic Cream {going for dairy free, you can use heavy cream if you’re not allergic}
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality honey {help battle your allergies and make it local honey if you can}
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring “cream”, honey, salt and espresso powder to boil in small saucepan or in microwave. Place chocolate in medium bowl and pour boiling cream over. Let stand for 5 minutes and whisk until smooth. Add vanilla extract and whisk to combine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool and slightly firm, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Assembly:

Sandwich flat side of macarons together with a generous teaspoon of Semisweet Mocha Ganaché. Layer macarons between sheets of parchment in an airtight container and let stand at room temperature at least 2 hours to soften before eating.

Bakers’ Note:

Filled macarons can be kept in an airtight container wrapped in plastic wrap, chilled 2 days or frozen 1 month. Bring to room temperature in wrapped container (to avoid condensation), about 1 hour if chilled or 2 hours if frozen.

Have fun making these & enjoy!

xoxo,

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