Chocolate Macarons

I don’t think of myself as a Type A personality. You know the type, the need to micromanage, to have complete control, for everything to be “just so.”

I don’t think of myself as a Type B personality either. I’m not the laid back, surfer, come what may, “que sera sera” type.

I’m somewhere floating between the two, in a weird combination of acting one way when most people would act the other. I’ll give you a few examples.

With countertops, I’m Type A. They must be clean at all times. Not a crumb. And I can’t stand left-behind twist-ties or the little plastic ring that you have to pull off the milk container before you can consume it. Throw them out or I go crazy.

With dishes, however, the things that are most likely to breed bacteria and cause smells, I’m more “whatever.” They can sit in the sink for a day or two and I don’t mind one bit.

With planning vacations, I’m Type A. Completely Type A. I have to remind myself to schedule in “free time” or we’d be running around like chickens with our heads cut off. I budget, I compare prices, I shop around for the best deals, I research the weather, the local customs, find things to do off-the-beaten-path. I run the show.

With school, I’m Type B. I know when things are due and yet I often save them until the last minute. I do the bare minimum these days, just enough to get by, not even really concerned with getting Honors (the medical school equivalent of an “A”) anymore.

When Boy mentioned that I hadn’t made macarons in awhile, I was Type B. “Oh! You’re right! I should make a batch sometime.” And that sometime ended up being weeks after the fact. I wasn’t in a rush.

But when the egg whites were aged and it came down to it, I turned into a Type A monster. I read and reread the instructions umpteenth times, I watched videos over and over again to make perfectly sure I knew how stiff my peaks needed to be, I measured and measured again, careful in ever movement, worried that I’d ruined their feet before they were even in the oven.

Macarons still elude me in many ways. I’ve had success with them in the past but I’ve also had failure, and I have not been able to decipher what went right or wrong in either case. These? They had feet. Beautiful feet! But one pan completely fell once I took them out of the oven, the feet becoming miniscule, and they didn’t seem to want to come off the pan no matter what. The other pan didn’t fall quite as much but after chilling and upon serving, it seemed the center wasn’t as cooked as I’d hoped. Instead of a crunchy outside and a soft inside, the inside was much more dense and it seemed I had put gobs of ganache on. There was no space of air between the top and the insides. They looked perfect, but they were not (although they were, of course, delicious because gobs of ganache can never ever taste bad).

In my quest to have perfect macarons every time, this was another semi-fail but it was still delicious and I will try the same exact recipe again in the future. With macarons, it’s the technique and not really the recipe so it’s worth a shot to try the same recipe multiple times. The ganache was definitely a win though!

Chocolate Macarons
adapted from LA Times and David Lebovitz

Makes 24-30 sandwiched macs.

Ingredients

For shells:

  • 1 1/3 c blanched almond meal
  • 2 c + 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/2 aged egg whites (3-4 large, at room temperature after sitting out for a day or 3-4 days in the refrigerator)

For ganache:

  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 2 tsp light corn syrup
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces

Instructions
For shells, Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Strain together almond meal, powdered sugar, and cocoa into a large bowl. Whisk to blend. Set aside. Beat egg whites using an electric mixer over low to medium speed until foamy. Increase the speed and continue beating until the peaks are glossy and medium-firm. Fold in the dry ingredients in 3 or 4 additions until just incorporated. It will be runny and look like cake batter.

Spoon half of the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a half-inch round trip. Pipe  1 1/2 inch rounds by keeping the bag vertical and 1-2 inches above the sheet. Keep 2 inches in between rounds. Rap the pan against the counter and repeat with the second sheet. Allow sheets to sit for 30 minutes while preheating oven to 425F.

When ready to bake, dust macarons with extra cocoa powder and place each individual baking sheet atop a second spare sheet. Place in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 350F. Prop door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the macarons are just firm to the touch. Transfer to a cooling rack and bring the oven back to 425F for the second sheet of macarons.

Once the oven has been reset, remove the first set of macarons from the parchment. I did not do this but LA Times suggests pouring a little hot water onto the baking sheet underneath the paper and tilt the sheet to dampen the parchment evenly. Let sit for 15 seconds and then peel the macarons off.

For ganache, Heat heavy cream and light corn syrup in a saucepan until just bubbling around the edges. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Allow to sit for 1 minute before stirring until smooth. Stir in butter. Cool to room temperature before using.

For assembly, Match macarons up by size. Spoon or pipe ~ 1 tsp of ganache in the center of one macaron bottom. Sandwich with second macaron and press gently to spread ganache to edges. Refrigerate at least 24 hours, taking macarons out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to serving.

Love them feet.

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8 Comments »

  1. Kimmie Said:

    Running the almond meal through the food processor with half of the powdered sugar may help with your conisistency. I’ve also always aimed for stiff peaks and had pretty good luck.

    Regardless, your feet are adorable! =) My most lopsided macarons have tasted just as delicious as my prettier ones so it’s all relative.

  2. Shawn Said:

    I don’t see them as a fail…At least you got “feet”. Congratulations are in order 🙂

  3. I can see “feet” and they look perfect!

  4. briarrose Said:

    Lovely…..so much delicious chocolate. Heaven!

  5. Mandy Said:

    I think you are an “A” person for Awesome, Sharlene! 🙂 I love macarons, have you tried the Bouchon bakery ones?

  6. Joanne Said:

    At least you, my dear, have the GUTS to attempt macarons. Unlike some of us. Whose names I won’t mention.

    Those little feet are so cute! And with gobs of ganache, who cares whether or not they were airy!

    I say, blame it on the weather.

  7. biz319 Said:

    I had to laugh at your post today – because I am the same way. The first family vacation we took after my husband and I got married I had all these “ideas” on what we could do each day – I had a whole organized file folder with all my notes, weather, etc.

    My husband took one look at it and said “it’s a vacation, we need to relax!” So we got in late in the afternoon and hung out by the pool. The next morning we got up and he and our kids looked at me and said “so what are we doing today?”

    It pays to be organized on a vacation! 😀

  8. Ashley Said:

    Ooo I’d love one of these right now! I’ve been saying that I want to make macarons for so long but am so scared of messing them up!! I can definitely understand being Type A about making these.


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