French macarons are my latest obsession. Picture the most amazing sandwich, but replace the bread with two perfectly round, crunchy on the outside/chewy on the inside meringue-like cookies and replace the meat with filling of choice (ganache, buttercream, preserves…the possibilities are endless). Yup, I’m pretty sure that a macaron beats a regular sandwich by a landslide.
Now, if you know about macarons, you know that they are notoriously tricky to make. Between the egg white meringue and the fact that you have to pipe them to make those perfect little circles, I had my work cut out for me. Plus, this was my first time ever trying.
Though macarons often come in punchy colors, I’m not such a big fan of food dyes, so I wanted to think of another way to spruce up my macarons. Hmm, I do love some chocolate…
CHOCOLATE NUTELLA MACARONS! Chocolate cookies with a nutella shmear in the middle. Heaven! All in all a great first attempt at making macarons.
Find the recipe at yumsugar (extremely thorough and with great instructions). This saved my life – er, my macarons. The only alteration I made was to add 2 Tbsp of cocoa powder to the dry ingredients.
First, make the macoranage (the egg white/almond meal mixture). This should be the consistency of molten lava and should flow in one continuous stream from the spatula to the bowl (if it drips rather than flows, you need to continue to work the batter).
Then fill your piping bag and pipe small circles onto a silicon mat. This is the only thing I “screwed up.” I should have used a larger tip on my piping bag. I used a smaller one and actually swirled little circles on rather than putting a circular dollop down. The latter would have created a puffier, taller cookie. Mine were flat…but other than that, they worked out.
Make sure you rap the pan on the counter a couple times to settle the cookie. Also, it’s crucial to let it sit for at least 15 minutes so that the tops form a shell (so when you touch them they’re not sticky). Once that shell is formed, bake at 280 for 15-18 minutes.
See the feet at the bottom (the bubbly-looking part)? That’s what you want. The cookies should be easy to get off the sheet. If not, they need a couple more minutes in the oven. My first batch wasn’t in for long enough, and so as you can see, the bottoms got a little messy when I tried to take them off the sheet.
Spread some Nutella on the good bottoms (the ones that didn’t get stuck to the pan), and voila! Amazingly chocolatey French macarons. They had the perfect crunchy shell and smooth, chewy inside.