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I have to say that I am proud of how my macarons have been turning out lately. Macarons are definitely a finicky cookie to make, but after a while the process dials in and they don’t seem so hard to make. Make no mistake, I have had some disastrous batches of macarons, but these latest chocolate ones turned out perfectly. I made the chocolate shells with the same batter and sprinkled chili powder on some an cocoa powder on others. When I made the ganache filling, I filled the chili ones with a chocolate-chili ganache, and the cocoa ones with chocolate and candied ginger. I like them both, but ginger and dark chocolate are such a delectable combination, that this is one I’ve chosen to post here.
At this point in my macaron-making, I have a reliable cookie shell recipe that I vary slightly depending on the flavors.
Chocolate-Ginger Macaron Recipe:
1 cup almond flour minus 1 tablespoon (90 grams)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar minus 1 tablespoon (90 grams)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (20 grams)
2 egg whites, room temperature (75 grams)
1/4 cup sugar (65 grams)
I used to use castor sugar or blend regular sugar, but I don’t think it is necessary anymore.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
a pinch of salt
CHOCOLATE GINGER GANACHE
75 grams bittersweet cooking chocolate
1/8 cup cream
25 grams candied ginger
1. Sift the almond flour, confectioners sugar, and cocoa powder together through a fine-mesh sieve.
2. Whisk egg whites, salt, and lemon juice at a low speed and add the regular sugar after a minute while the egg whites are still clear.
3. Beat the egg whites into stiff, glossy peaks. Whip for two minutes at a low speed, then two minutes at high speed. Create the meringue peaks without over-whipping the batter, because if the batter is over-whipped, the macarons tend to have air bubbles and hollow out underneath the shells.
4. Add half of the dry ingredients. Fold with a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, then press the flat side of the spatula firmly through middle of mixture and rotate the bowl slightly. This process is called “macaronage” and reduces air bubbles in the batter. Add the second half of the dry ingredients and continue the macaronage until batter is glossy and flows like lava. Getting this right is part luck and part practice, there are countless videos online for how to achieve a proper macaronage!
5. Add the vanilla towards the end of the macaronage process.
6. Rest a pastry bag inside a vertical cylinder to transfer the batter into the bag, then close the
top. Cut a small hole in the bottom tip of the pastry bag. The batter should be fairly stiff, but you don’t want it to come out too quickly, I cut my hole to less than 1 cm in diameter.
7. Either onto a parchment sheet or a macaron mat, pipe batter into 1 inch round cookies.
A macaron mat helps to make the cookies uniformly round and the same size, I also find the raised rims helpful to contain the batter from spreading out on the sheets. My macarons on parchment paper are never very round, but some people use a template with circles underneath the parchment paper.
8. Drop the baking sheets firmly onto the counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles. With a toothpick, pop any remaining air bubbles and smooth out the holes before you let the macarons rest. Sprinkle a little zest onto the surface of each macaron. Let the macaron sheets sit for 30-40 minutes to dry so that they create a slight crust on the surface.
9. Preheat oven to 170ºC.
10. Place the macarons in the oven on a lower rack and lower the heat to 160ºC. Bake macarons for 16 minutes, after 8 minutes it’s a good idea to take the tray out and face the front to the back, this way both ends of the tray get evenly baked. Only bake 1 sheet of macarons at a time. If your macarons are very large, bake a few minutes extra.
11. Chocolate ganache:
Heat the cream over a low heat and let the chocolate melt, mix together until smooth.
Chop the candied ginger into small pieces.
12. Once the macarons are completely cooled, remove them from the sheets and use a butter knife or spatula to spread the chocolate filling on half of the cookie shell bottoms and place some candied ginger bits on the filling and sandwich the macaron with another shell on top. Repeat procedure with the remaining shells. Store the macarons in a closed storage tin in the refrigerator or freezer.
Enjoy your macarons with tea in your favorite cup!
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