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We have mint growing in our garden. Every winter it dies and every spring it returns in abundance. I love looking at images of macarons, some of the colors are so lovely. I was inspired to make minty green macarons using our garden mint.
After taking a break from baking macarons, I had a couple of batches fail, or at least not turn out with a proper macaron foot, or “pied” as it is called in French. I think I finally figured out that I had been putting the macarons on the bottom rack in my oven, they turned out perfectly when I placed them on the middle rack again. I had read somewhere that it was best to bake them on the bottom rack, but I guess every oven is different. At this point my recipe for the shells is pretty dialed in for my oven.
MINTY CHOCOLATE MACARON RECIPE:
1 cup almond flour (100 grams)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (100 grams)
2 egg whites, aged, at room temperature (75 grams)
1/4 cup sugar (65 grams)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional, I use it when I have it)
3-4 drops blue-green food coloring gel (gel colorant is better than liquid)
MINT CHOCOLATE GANACHE FILLING
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, very finely chopped
100 grams semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup cream
1. Sift the almond flour and confectioners sugary together through a fine-mesh sieve. Blend any almonds that are too coarse to filter and re-sift.
2. To age the egg whites I usually separate the yolks a couple of days in advance and let the whites sit in a jar on my counter. I use the yolks to make Caesar salad dressing. Whisk egg whites at a low speed for 1 minute and then add the regular sugar and cream of tartar, beat 1 more minute at low speed. I only started using cream of tartar in my recent batches, it helps build the meringue but is not essential.
3. Add the food coloring and beat the egg whites at high speed for 2 more minutes so they form into stiff, glossy peaks. I set a timer for this because I’m not good at estimating the minutes, and if the batter is over-whipped, the macarons tend to have air bubbles and hollow out underneath the shells.
4. Add half of the sifted dry ingredients. Using a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, fold the dry ingredients into the meringue, 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! I think the main thing is not to over mix the batter.
5. 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.
6. Either onto a parchment sheet or a macaron mat, pipe batter into 1 inch round cookies. I do this in a swirl and make each cookie quite small because they rise considerably in the oven. A macaron mat helps to make the cookies perfectly round and the same size and the raised rims contain the batter from spreading out on the sheets. Some people use a template with circles underneath the parchment paper, but I love my macaron mats.
7. Drop the baking sheets firmly onto the counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles. Let the macaron sheets sit for 30-40 minutes to dry so that they create a slight crust on the surface.
8. Preheat oven to 160ºC.
9. Place the macarons in the oven on the middle rack and lower the heat to 160º C (320º F). Bake macarons for 16 minutes, after 8 minutes, take the tray out and face the front to the back so 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.
10. Mint Chocolate ganache:
Over a low heat melt the chocolate in the cream. Turn off the heat and stir in the finely diced mint. Let cool.
11. Once the macarons are completely cooled, remove them from the sheets and use a butter knife or spatula to spread the chocolate ganache on half of the cookie shell bottoms, then sandwich each macaron with another shell on top. Store the macarons in a closed storage tin in the refrigerator or freezer.
Enjoy your macarons with tea!
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