Monday, 15 October 2012

Chocolate macarons


100g double cream, 100g dark chocolate, 2g butter, 25g chocolate powder, 2 egg whites, 65g ground almonds, 60g caster sugar, 85g icing sugar, salt 
Serves: 10 Preparation: 1 hour

This recipe is dedicated to the lovely Shanda! See I promised I would make something conventional instead of a crazy lavender concoction... though I promise my lavender macaron recipe is coming... it's too good not to share!

I'm not going to lie to you, macarons are hard to get right and I've heard a million and one different ways to make them - French style, Italian style, even adding powdered eggs of all things but I think macarons are quite quick to make once you get the knack, don't be put off!

1) Whisk the egg whites along with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form, then add in the caster sugar, continuing to whisk until stiff peaks are formed.

2) Sift the icing sugar, chocolate powder and ground almonds together, fold it into the egg whites and then beat the holy crap out of it until it's a good piping texture.

3) Line a baking tray with baking parchment, then pipe the mixture into blobs. This next stage sounds weird, but trust me it's necessary - drop the baking tray a couple of times onto your worktop to flatten the blobs. Leave to rest for half an hour to allow the mixture to dry.

4) Bake for 5 minutes at 180 degrees, then open the door for a few seconds to let out some steam. Bake for a further 5 minutes before opening the door again, then a further 5-7 minutes.

5) The macarons should slide straight off the baking parchment if they're ready - if they stick then give them another minute for good measure.

6) To make the filling, melt your chocolate into your cream and set it aside to cool. Beat in your butter until a stiff ganache has formed, then pipe it onto half of your macarons and sandwich together with the other shells.

Personally I think fresh macarons are underrated - make them a day in advance so that the ganache makes the centre soft and the outside dries a little.

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