Chocolate Macarons with Almond Filling

I was peer-pressured into baking. I can’t say that it’s ever happened before. But recently, Jamie at Life’s a Feast and Deeba at Passionate About Baking encouraged me to join them and a few other food bloggers to a “Mac Challenge”: making macarons and sharing our results with each other while fielding questions via twitter. Jamie came up with the idea as it was the one thing she had shied away from for so long (macarons are notoriously difficult to make perfectly, with their long sought after “feet” on the bottom and delicate, chewy shells). I, too, tend to shy away from extremely fussy desserts. But I love the sweet, pastel-colored confections and thought I’d join in and try my hand at it.

(Friday): When I got the recipe that many of the ladies were starting with first, it was in grams and I don’t have a kitchen scale (“Dear Santa…”). So I found David Leibovitz’s lovely recipe for chocolate macarons using volume instead and set out for greatness. My meringue looked perfect and glossy.


I piped the little guys out without an issue, and I watched through the oven as they developed feet:


Next, I concocted a nice, subtle almond buttercream to pipe in the middle. What were these ladies stressing about, I wondered? Maybe I should go into business as I clearly have a knack for this. Then I tried one. While they looked lovely, the shells were a bit crispy. The recipe I’m about to give you is rock-solid. I just left them in the oven about two minutes too long (explains a few of the cracked shells you see below).

(Sunday): So I set out again with plans of making vanilla bean macarons and an undetermined filling (maybe hazelnut, maybe peach preserves). I was adapting Tartlette’s recipe for powdered strawberry macarons, essentially leaving out the strawberry. Well, the first batch I added the powdered sugar to the egg whites as I whipped away (the powdered sugar’s supposed to be folded in after you make the meringue). Because I was curious, I baked them anyway, knowing full well they’d probably be trash. And while they were nothing like macarons, they were kind of yummy. The talented blogger, La Fujimama, suggested calling them “almond crisps” and claiming I meant to do that. Not a bad idea.


(Sunday, again): Same recipe, sans the sugar mistake. From the get-go, I know something’s not quite right. My meringue looks lumpy and a little too airy. Out of the oven, they looked exactly the same. I think I overbeat the meringue, and I think my rough conversions into volume were potentially a bit off. Rapidly stocking up on my collection of almond crisps.


Lessons Learned: Must get a kitchen scale asap, sometimes your first go at something (before you have too much time to think/stress about it) is the best, Helen at Tartlette is a true macaron goddess, meringue takes a very gentle hand, staring at the macarons through the oven doesn’t speed up the process of developing feet, almond crips will be fabulous with vanilla ice cream.

French Chocolate Macarons with Almond Buttercream

French Chocolate Macarons with Almond Buttercream

  • Prep time: 40 mins
  • Cook time: 15 mins
  • Total time: 55 mins

Macaron recipe from David Leibovtiz; Buttercream adapted from Tartlette

Ingredients

For macarons:

1 cup (100 gr) powdered sugar
½ cup powdered almonds (about 2 ounces, 50 gr, sliced almonds, pulverized)
3 tablespoons (25 gr) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 tablespoons (65 gr) granulated sugar

For the filling:

2 egg whites
1 cup sugar
10 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp almond extract

Instructions

To make the cookies: 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 food processor.

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).

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. Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons, then bake them for 15-18 minutes. Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet.

To make the filling:
Combine the sugar and egg whites in a double-broiler and whisk until hot but not boiling, about two minutes. The sugar should be dissolved: Pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the meringue on medium speed until it becomes shiny, about four minutes. Add butter, a bit at a time, and beat until smooth. Once butter has been added, beat on high until thick and smooth, about 6-10 minutes. Add in almond extract at the very end. Can refrigerate up to a week or freeze up to a month.

Comments

  1. Deeba PAB

    Good for you Megan. Thanks for being part of the challenge. The David Lebovitz recipe was the only one that worked for me too. I have had a failed attempt this morning again with another recipe. Your feet are lovely. Great great macs! Pls do tweet Jamie to say you are done, so she can include you in the round up!

  2. Jamie

    I love all the trial and errors you put here.But you ended up with a great macaron! Yay for you! Just join us next month for another try and we'll all be whipping out perfect macs in no time! Thanks for being part of the mac gang!

  3. Amy I.

    I've been trying to get up the courage for a long time to make these, but I've never actually tasted one so I've been using the fact that I want to try one first as my lame excuse. Now that more & more bloggers are experimenting with them, I'm feeling inspired and think I might just go for it soon! Your chocolate guys look like perfection, and I'm glad you were able to use your almond crisps!

  4. Fuji Mama

    You are awesome! You definitely have some beauties there, and I think those almond crisps look DEE-VINE!!! Can I get the recipe for those? Heh.

  5. Aparna

    Looks so pretty. So good you joined the Mac Gang. I'm also one of those without scales and used David Lebovitz's recipe too.

  6. Barbara Bakes

    I made the Lebovitz chocolate mac recipe too. I overcooked mine too. I hope to give it another try today and get them just right! It's been a fun challenge and I've had fun getting to know all the other mac princesses!

  7. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite

    These look great! I would love to have done that challenge too but we were kinda busy this past weekend with BLTs from scratch for 15 people!!! (see blog yesterday)

    Check out my attempts here:

    http://www.eatlivetravelwrite.com/2009/07/macarons-attempt-3.html

    and here:

    http://www.eatlivetravelwrite.com/2009/06/i-heart-macarons.html

  8. Megan Gordon

    Thanks, ladies for all the sweet comments! Amy I and Marti-Join us next month! You'll be hooked before you know it. The David Leibovitz recipe certainly seems to be a good starter recipe.

  9. Rachael

    A friend of mine was JUST talking about how she needed a recipe for macs...thanks for the post, I was able to send the link along to her so she can try em out too!

  10. Kelsey B.

    Delicious! Let me know if you do another challenge - I love stuff like this!

  11. Chez Danisse

    I love these. Especially the rose geranium at Miette. Why haven't I ever attempted making them? They've always just seemed like something I purchase versus bake. Silliness... I'm inspired now. Kudos to you with being so thorough with your experimenting.

  12. Aparna

    Your macarons are beautiful. Almond buttercream is sometthing I must try.

  13. Amy

    Macaroons are my absolute favorite! I can't wait to try these recipe, because I don't think there is anything better than almond filled ANYTHING. I can't wait to try these.
    -Amy
    Raw Papers

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