Back when I visited Paris, that wonderful, magical food heaven, I made a dire mistake.
I did not try a French Macaron.
I know, I KNOW! But I was on a budget, both financially and with how much time I had there, and it just didn't happen. I'm sorry.
So I returned to the states, realized my mistake, and vowed to track down a pastry shop that would provide me with these gorgeous little pastries that I had failed to sample overseas. Unfortunately, French pastry shops are hard to come by here in the sticks. Very hard to come by. The closest thing I found was a large, dry, hamburger-sized THING that tasted like chalk. I knew this couldn't be it.
If I couldn't find a true French macaron, I was going to have to make one myself.
At this point, it was fall, and I'd yet to hit my culinary stride. I was deterred by forums and comments warning that these little beauties were quite difficult. They had to be whipped and folded just-so, and the feet (or "pieds" the foamy bottom part) would not appear on a first try. I let myself be scared, and I shelved the idea. But now, with all my blog hopping and recipe gathering, the little pastries are popping up in beautiful photos all over the internet.
And then I found this book for $3.
|Won't let me rotate, dang.|
I took it as a sign from fate.
So I decided to try. With my hopes low, I followed the directions, using the recipe provided in the book and Dave Lebovits' recipe. I Youtubed various techniques, and found a great tutorial here. Very helpful. I filled them with leftover chocolate ganache I had in the fridge. I did not take pictures of the process, since I was so sure they'd come out flat or feetless.
Lo and behold, the macarons developed pieds.
They were BEAUTIFUL, and delicious, and everything I'd hoped they'd be. I took them outside and took pictures of them. Do not judge me for my madness.
Chocolate French Macarons
(Adapted from recipe in "Macaroons" by Paragon, and French Chocolate Macarons by David Lebovitz.)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened powdered baking chocolate
- 1/4 cup bakers sugar, or granulated sugar that has been processed as fine as you can get it in a food processor
- 2 egg whites, aged 24 hours or at least until room temperature
-Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Use water to seal down any curling edges. Prepare your pastry bag and set it open in a tall glass for easy filling.
-Blend almond meal with confectioners sugar and cocoa in a food processor until well combined and ground fine. Set aside.
-In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Slowly add the bakers sugar until stiff and glossy.
-Slowly fold in the dry mixture, in thirds. Once fully combined, it should be of a "lava-like" consistency (Youtube lady calls it that, loved it). Carefully pour into pastry bag.
-Pipe inch-wide circles onto parchment paper. Let sit for about 10-20 minutes, until the discs are tacky but do not leave behind batter when touched lightly. Bake for 12 minutes, checking frequently. Macarons are done when the top is shiny and crusty and the discs do not jiggle when moved. Let cool slightly, then remove from the paper. Let cool entirely, then sandwich with filling of choice.
- 1 bag chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy cream
-Heat cream over medium-low heat until boiling. Immediately pour over chocolate chips (in a heat-safe bowl). Stir until chips are melted.
-Chill in refrigerator until at a spreadable consistency.