Thursday, September 9, 2010


When you read as many food blogs as I do, you have been overwhelmed by everyone making macarons.  You've read horror stories (they didn't have feet! they cracked! they stuck to the pan!), you've been wowed by a rainbow of colors, and you have been seriously tempted to try making them yourself, but you are intimidated by how finicky they seem to be, and you also don't have a kitchen scale.  (Ok, so that last part is probably just me, but luckily I was able to borrow one quite easily).  But if you aren't totally wrapped up in the food blog community, you are probably thinking (as EVERYONE i gave these cookies to did) what the heck are macarons??

No, they are not macaroons. There is only one "o," and yes, it makes a difference :P

Macarons are a French cookie, known for their hard shells, merengue-like interiors, and of course, their variety of colors and flavors.  So, in a totally boring (yet totally delicious!) fashion, I picked chocolate for my first attempt at macarons.  They definitely didn't turn out perfectly, but I was really happy with the results anyway, and everyone thought they were delicious.  I took lots of pictures of the process so that you can follow along at home :)

Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Ganache
recipe from Annie's Eats

For the macarons:
  • 110 gm blanched slivered almonds
  • 200 gm minus 2 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 100 gm egg whites (from about 3 eggs), aged at room temperature for 12-24 hours (I aged mine for 3 hours, because I am super lazy and forgot to put them out earlier!....but they still turned out really well!)
  • 50 gm granulated sugar
For the chocolate ganache:
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • (you can add 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder if you are a coffee lover.  i omitted this ingredient)
1. Weigh the almonds, then pulse them in the bowl of a food processor until finely ground. Then add the confectioner's sugar and cocoa

2. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy.

3.Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue beating until a smooth, shiny meringue with stiff peaks forms.

4. Add the ground almond mixture to the bowl with the meringue and quickly but gently fold together using a rubber spatula until no streaks remain.  You want to achieve a thick batter that ribbons or flows from the spatula when lifted. You may feel like you are over-mixing, but keep going until the batter really flows.

5. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats (if you have them...I have only one baking sheet and one silpat, so I employed the technique: "squeeze as many macarons as possible onto one silpat!" Then I put the remaining batter onto a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper).  Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a plain wide round tip.  Pipe into small rounds on the prepared baking sheets (each round should be about 1-1½ inches in diameter), spaced about 1 inch apart (unless you use my squeeze technique, then really these macarons are about 1/4 inch apart, if that!).

6. Let sit at room temperature for about an hour to develop a hard shell.  During the hour of sitting, make the ganache: put the heavy cream, butter and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Place the chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Bring the cream mixture to a simmer, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand 2 minutes, then whisk gently in small circular motions until the ganache forms. Let the mixture cool until it is thick.  (To speed chilling, transfer the bowl to the freezer or refrigerator and let cool, stirring every 10 minutes, until thickened.)

7. Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on size [NOTE! I actually baked mine for 15 minutes, and wish I had baked them for 20, but some were starting to crack...  don't be afraid of baking them for longer than 10 minutes]. Transfer the pans to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely before moving the cookies. (get excited if your cookies have "feet" like the ones shown below!)

8. GENTLY remove the cookies from the pans. THIS IS A DIFFICULT PROCESS. Be prepared to lose a lot of cookies :( Mine stuck a LOT to the parchment paper, and many even stuck to the silpat. Here is a picture of the casualties:

Conversely, here are the cookies that were perfectly removed from the silpat (MUCH fewer! haha)

9. With a knife, spread the ganache onto one side of a cookie, and sandwich with another matching size cookie.

And guess what...those cookies with less-than-perfect bottoms...totally hidden under the layer of ganache!! Look at all of the cookies I salvaged! :)



  1. Erin!! I have been wanting to make macarons for pretty much forever, but they are scary, you know? Also I've been dragging my feet on buying a Silpat (parchment works fine for everything else), but maybe this will be the impetus...

    Congrats!! The feet are beautiful. Maybe we could do them together sometime?! I'll bring the kitchen scale...

  2. Good job on the macarons. I bet the cracked ones are just as good. I can't wait to get my hands on these.

  3. Steph -- YES! And maybe we'll do some Italian cooking while we're at it ;)

  4. omg my heart stopped at the cookie graveyard


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