I said that it can be fuss free and fail proof if you uses the Italian meringue method but I won't think that it is easy.
With my countless of macaron baking, I have learned that:
(1) A digital weighing scale is necessary for macaron baking! Please do not assume that all egg whites are 30g each!!! I have to weigh all ingredients to make sure that its proportion is exactly right.
(2) Knowing my oven is critical. I have learned that fan forced baking is bad for macaron baking and baked mine in the middle rack at 150°C with no fan. Chocolate macarons are typically than denser than non-chocolate macarons and need extra 3-5 mins to bake.
(3) Modifying my Always-Successful-Italian-Meringue macaron recipe to bake chocolate maracon is not as simple as adding cocoa powder! I have added too much cocoa powder once and made chocolate macarons that are crinkled, dense and compact! Geez! Then, I found this recipe from here at Callebaut Chocolate and its proportion is spot on!
(4) Adding cocoa powder makes denser batter and macaron. For this reason, I had to scale up my usual recipe to make enough macarons to feed my macaron-loving family. Besides, I didn't want to scale down any recipe to anything that contains odd number. And, so instead of using 2-3 egg whites, I had stick to the recipe from Callebaut Chocolate and used 165g egg whites (about 5 egg whites) and eventually baked 60 chocolate macarons.
Is 60 chocolate macarons too many for us? I thought so but I was wrong. And if you are baking these chocolate macarons for Easter, I reckon that you might have to bake even more!!!
Talking about Easter... I can't believe it is now end of March 2015.
My family and I are going away to Singapore for our Easter break and I will be back at about 2-3 weeks later.
Before going, I like to wish everyone a good break and Happy Easter!!!
|The addition of cocoa powder made a firmer almond-egg-white paste.|
|Next, I made the Italian meringue.|
|Ta dah! The near-stiff peaks Italian meringue is ready!|
|Fold in the meringue into the almond paste in batches achieving the macaronnage and macaronner stage.|
|Very happy to see these perfect macarons!!!|
|Next, I made the chocolate ganache by combining equal amount of cream and dark chocolate.|
|Microwave with low power to melt all chocolate. Allow it to rest until it reaches a spreadable consistency.|
|This is me sandwiching the macarons :)|
|And, this is me enjoying the crispy outside and fudgy inside of this chocolate macaron :D|
No doubt that I love baking these because my family and I love chocolate macarons. However, I was feeling the urge to bake these because my friend's 13 years old daughter has been asking for a perfect chocolate macaron recipe whenever I see her at our picnics and gatherings. Here! Isabel, I have found the recipe for you.
Here are the recipes that I have used to bake these chocolate French macarons. It is mostly adapted from here at Callebaut Chocolate plus the chocolate ganache recipe that is mostly adapted from the book, I love Macarons by Hisako Ogita
Makes about 60 macarons or 120 shells
(number can vary depending on the sizes that you made)
250g almond meal (ground almond)
250g icing sugar
30g cocoa powder, Dutch processed cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
165g egg whites, divided into 2 portions, 85g and 80g
225g caster sugar
Make enough ganache to fill 60 macarons
250g cream (35% fat)
250g dark chocolate, Callebaut dark chocolate callets with 70% cocoa
Preheat the oven to 150°C (NO fan forced).
Combine almond meal, icing sugar and cocoa powder and sift them three times or more and set aside.
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat 80g of egg whites at medium low speed at first for about 10 mins. While beating, combine water and caster sugar in a small saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium high heat and cook the sugar water syrup to 118°C but not over 125°C.
Increase the mixer speed and continue to beat the egg whites while pouring syrup into the egg whites slowly in a steady and fine stream. Continue beating until the meringue is glossy and near-stiff peaks. Allow the meringue to cool to about 40°C.
Place almond meal-icing sugar-cocoa mixture in a mixing bowl and mix in the another portion of egg white (85g) to form a thick paste.
Fold in half of the cooled meringue first into the almond paste, scooping it up from the bottom of the bowl until the mixture is well-combined. Then, fold in the rest of the meringue into the almond mixture until the mixture is well-combined again.
Continue to mix in order to "deflate" some fluffiness of the meringue in the mixture and this step is usually referred as "Macaronner". In the book, I love Macarons by Hisako Ogita, it suggests scooping the batter from the bottom and turn it upside down for nothing more or less than 15 times but I like to gauge this stage by the look of the batter. I reckon it is ok when it looks firm and dripping slowly from a spoon.
Attach a 1 cm tip (I used Wilton tip 1A) to the pastry bag. Place the pastry bag, tip down, inside a cup or container and pour the macaron batter into it.
Pipe out the batter onto baking tray lined with silicon mats in circles and any shapes that you like. Gently tap the baking sheet firmly against flat surfaces to allow the batter to settle.
Allow the piped batter to rest at room temperature, uncovered, for 5 mins. Bake for 20 mins or until dried and slightly crisp. Note: My oven doesn't have bottom heat function and had to bake for another 5 mins at 130°C with NO fan forced to get the bottom of the macarons crisp. Please note that chococlate macaron is denser than non-chocolate ones. Typically, the non-chocolate macarons need 15 mins plus to bake and chocolate ones need an extra 5 mins of baking.
Allow macarons to cool on baking mat as they peel off easily only when they are completely cooled.
To make the ganache:
Place chocolate and cream in a heat proof bowl and place the bowl to microwave with low power for about 1 min or until the chocolate melts. Alternatively, place chocolate in a heat proof bowl and place cream in a saucepan and bring it to boil. Pour boiling cream into chocolate and allow mixture to sit for 5 mins.
Mix until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Allow mixture to cool at room temperature into a spreadable consistency. If ganache is too firm after cooling, warm it up slightly in a microwave with short burst of low power.
Using a spatula, spread a dollop of ganache onto the macaron shells.
Sandwich with another macaron shell. Press it slightly to secure. As these macarons are made with the firm kind of filling, they taste better after resting in the fridge on the next day.