The devil says: “Just one more.” The angel says: “One is enough.” You bite. The meringue shell cracks under gentle pressure. The salt crystals hidden in the swirly dark cream kindle your lust for chocolate. After all, the Master of the Macarons, Pâtissier Pierre Hermé, created this recipe. You can make these in an afternoon. They’re naturally gluten-free. Leave me your comments below.
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- Makes about 75-80 2” shells
- 5¼ ounces/150 grams 68% high quality chocolate
- ½ teaspoon (2 grams) fleur de sel or sea salt
- 4½ ounces/120 grams unsweetened chocolate (100% cocoa solids)
- 10½ ounces/300 grams confectioners’ sugar
- 10½ ounces/300 grams ground almonds
- 8 ounces/220 grams egg whites at room temperature (about 7-8 large egg whites)
- 1 teaspoon (.5 grams) liquid red food colouring
- 5 tablespoons (75 grams) water
- 10½ ounces/300 grams white granulated sugar
- Cocoa powder for dusting (optional)
- ½ cup (4 ounces/110 grams) butter at room temperature
- 12½ cup/330 grams high quality chocolate 62-65%, chopped
- 1½ oz/40g unsweetened chocolate(100% cocoa solids)
- 1½ cups (14 ounces/340 grams) heavy cream
SALTY CHOCOLATE GARNISH
FOR THE CHOCOLATE MACARON SHELLS
DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE
PREPARE THE SALTY CHOCOLATE GARNISH
- The day before, crush the salt either in a mortar and pestle or with a rolling pin between two sheets of parchment.
- Melt the chocolate between 113ºF (45ºC) and 122ºF (50ºC). You can use a microwave set to low or over a bain-marie.
- Stir the salt into the melted chocolate
- Pour the warm chocolate into a freezer zip lock bag
and smooth the chocolate into a thin layer. Seal the bag well.
- Lay the bag of chocolate flat in the refrigerator and let harden until needed.
MISE ENPLACE THE MACARON SHELLS
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF (180ºC) on convection setting, keeping in mind that convection is hotter than standard settings. I set my oven at 325ºF or 335ºF to achieve 350ºF on convection. If the oven gets too hot, the shells could rise too quickly and crack the shell.
- Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Line the two trays with two tray.s
With the long edge facing you, draw 4 circles along the top edge of the paper, spacing them about an inch apart. For the second row, trace three circles spacing them between the first circles. Then trace 4 circles for the third row and 3 circles for the fourth row. You will have 14 circles in total on each sheet.
- Lightly spray the trays, flip the paper over (ink side down), and adhere the parchment. This will keep the parchment flat during baking.
- Sift the flour/sugar mixture through a medium mesh sieve into the large wide bowl. If bits are too big for the sieve, run them through the food processor again until they pass. This step is important because it makes for an evenly textured macaron shell, and prevents lumpy shells.
- Chop the unsweetened chocolate and put it in a bowl over a pan of just-simmering water, leaving it to melt and reach a temperature of 122ºF/50ºC. Once the chocolate is melted, set aside to let it cool slightly.
- Divide the egg whites into two equal portions.
- Mix the food colouring into one portion of egg whites and this portion to the bowl with the icing sugar and almonds. Mix together.
- Set the other portion of egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer .
- Mix the water in a small pan and add the granulated sugar.
- Get out your spatulas andthermometer and set them aside.
- Ready a large 18 inch piping bag with a round ½ inch tip.
COMPLETING THE MACARON SHELLS
- Turn the heat to low and stir to dissolve the sugar and water. Stir constantly until the mixture is clear and the sugar is no longer visible. Stop stirring and raise the heat
- When the syrup has reached 203ºF, reduce the heat.
- Set the speed to medium low, breaking up the mass of egg whites. Slowly increase the speed to medium high. Whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Please consult The Finer Cookie's How to Whip Egg Whites
- Return to the sugar syrup, and increase the heat. Without stirring, bring the syrup to 248ºF. As soon as it reaches temperature, turn off the mixer and slowly pour the hot syrup between the whisk and the side of the bowl, being careful not to let the hot sugar touch the whisk. Turn the mixer to high to incorporate the hot sugar and repeat until all the meringue and the syrup are incorporated. The egg whites will increase in volume and let off a lot of steam.
- Let the mixer run for approximately 5 minutes to cool the meringue.
- After 5 minutes, the bottom of the bowl will still be warm, but the meringue will be cool, not cold. Keep in mind, that as the sugar cools, the meringue will become stiffer. You want the meringue to remain flexible, so don’t allow the meringue to cool too much.
- Fold about ⅓ of the meringue into the melted chocolate, then fold the rest of the meringue to the bowl with the icing sugar and almonds.
- Fold the chocolate meringue into the meringue with the sugar and almonds.
CRITICAL STEP FOR SUCCESSFUL MACARONS
- It is at this point, you want the meringue to deflate, be shiny, and pour off your spatula into thick ribbons that dissolve into itself very slowly. You are looking for a batter with a specific consistency that takes time to develop. As you fold the batter, it will deflate and loosen a little at a time. This is what you want. You will be wondering: "Am I there yet?" If you're asking, you're probably not. The longer you fold the batter, the smoother it will become. As it loosens, it won't hang on to your spatula. It will flow off your spatula in thick ribbons. Is the batter melting into itself? If not, keep folding You want the thick ribbons to slowly dissolve. Time yourself in one minute intervals. It usually takes me 3-4 minutes to get the right consistency. It is possible to go past the optimum texture. If you do, the batter will be a bit runny and liquefy. It won't hold its ribbon and will melt into itself fast. When properly mixed, the baked macarons will have a little foot on the bottom where the eggs have risen. Each foot should be the same thickness on each cookie.
UNDERSTANDING THE MACARON
- The loftier the egg white foam/meringue, the more rise you will get on the cookie and the more cracking will occur because of the rising. In other words, if you are making a soufflé, you want to keep the loft because you want the meringue to rise. When making macaron, you don't want a lot of rise. Deflating the meringue will allow the shell to rise only a little without cracking or heaving. The finished shell will be on the thin side.
PIPING THE SHELLS
- When you feel you've arrived at the right texture, fill a large pastry bag with the batter. The batter should still be thick so that it won't run out the tip, and will be very easy to pipe.
- Holding the bag straight up and down, pipe enough batter to fill the inside of the circle. The batter will gentle spread the entire diameter of the circle and the nipple left by the tip will melt away. It's important not to hold the bag off the side because the cookie will bake unevenly.
- Keep count in your head as you pipe, and use the same count for each circle.
- Be careful not to pipe too much batter into each circle, or add more batter to those that don't have enough.
- The finished cookie should be flat, thin and shiny.
BAKING THE SHELLS
- After you pipe the shells, let them rest for at least 30 minutes. You will see the meringue settle out, become smoother and shinier, and the nipple left by the piping bag should melt away. Resting the meringue will also allow a dry skin to form over the surface.
- Bake one tray at a time in the lower to middle of the oven.
- Avoid the top rack as the temperature could be too hot. If you have a convection oven, you can place two trays at the same time.
- With convection, bake for 10-12 minutes
- If you use the standard oven setting, bake for 10-15 minutes, opening and shutting the oven door twice during the cooking time to let the steam escape.
- They are done when the tops are shiny and crisp.
- Let trays cool on a wire rack, and then peel the cookies off the paper and let cool completely.
DIRECTIONS FOR THE GANACHE
- Cut the butter into pieces and set aside.
- Put the chopped chocolate into a bowl and set aside.
- Warm the cream gently and heat until steam is rising off the surface. Don’t let the cream get too hot as it will separate the chocolate.
- Pour about a third of hot cream onto the chopped chocolate, mixing thoroughly.
- Repeat until all the cream has been added to the chocolate.
- Allow the chocolate mixture to cool to 122F/50C.
- Add the chopped butter and beat until smooth.
- Pour the ganache into a wide dish.
- Let cool until thick enough to pipe. Can be refrigerated overnight if necessary.
FINISHING THE SALTY CHOCOLATE GARNISH
- Remove the flat, cold chocolate from the fridge and peel away the plastic bag from the chocolate.
- With a mallet
or a muddler
, break the chocolate into small pieces.
- Collect the small pieces and put them in a bowl and set back in the fridge until ready.
TO ASSEMBLE THE MACARONS
- Spoon the ganache into a pastry bag fitted with a #9 plain round tip .
- Pipe around the outside edge and fill the center
- Sprinkle the salty chocolate garish in the center of each shell then top the chopped chocolate with a dab of ganache.
- Cover the ganache with another shell, twisting lightly so that the filling spreads evenly.
- Store covered in the fridge for at least 24 hours to allow the inside of the macaron shells to soften.
- Bring back to room temperature before eating.