Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dark Chocolate Macarons – Better Three Years Late Than Never

I did it. I made macarons. Finally, I can apply for my food blogger merit badge! Hold on, I’m being told I still need to make mini-cupcakes and a quinoa salad to qualify. Oh well, I’ve waited this long.

Anyway, this was my first attempt at macarons, and for not having any clue what I was doing, I was quite happy with the results. They looked fine, and the texture was almost identical to the ones sold at Chantal Guillon, a famous macaron bar here in San Francisco.

So, was it beginners luck? Yes. You would think since I waited three years to make these, I would have done more research, but I did almost none. In fact, I literally used the first chocolate macaron recipe I found, which happened to be from David Lebovitz. He’s an American, but he lives in Paris, so I figured I was okay.

I watched a few videos, read a few articles, had a couple drinks, looked at a few step-by-steps, and off I went.  One thing I did notice was every single resource used a different recipe, as well as different times, temperatures, and techniques. So, I figured I would just use my instincts and try the most straightforward method possible.

I didn’t do any high-heat/low-heat tricks; no waiting for the tops to dry; no sugar syrups, etc. I just made the batter, piped it out, baked them off, and as you can see, they were not bad at all. One thing I did figure out all by myself was to use the ugly ones as the bottoms. By the way, there’s a very inappropriate metaphor there, if you’re looking.

So, here’s the deal; if you’ve never made these before, I hope this inspires you to give them a go. Believe me, if I can do these anyone can. However, if you’re an experienced macaron maker, we’d love to have you chime in. I can’t wait for this comment section to fill up with invaluable tips and tricks for what I should have done, and how I should have done it.

I know I piped them wrong. You’re not supposed to make a swirl, but keep the tip pressed in the center as you squeeze. I also heard that I should have cooked one pan at a time, because the bottom pan is more likely to crack. What else? Don’t worry about my feelings…after four years of posting videos on YouTube, I don’t have any left…so let me have it. And, as always, enjoy!

Basic Chocolate Macaron Batter (I found this recipe on
Makes about 18 finished cookies
*Weighing the ingredients is critical. Do not make these unless you have a digital kitchen scale!
100 gram powdered sugar
50 grams almond meal aka almond flour (the finer the better)
25 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large room temperature egg whites
65 grams granulated sugar

For chocolate ganache:
1/3 cup hot heavy cream
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
pinch of salt
*pour hot cream over chocolate, and stir until smooth. Allow to cool slightly before filling cooled cookies.

Bonus Coverage: For more chocolate macaron information, my friend Denise from ChezUs makes some amazing ones, and knows WAY more about these than I do, so you can bug her with your questions too! ;-)