Monday, March 30, 2015

Chocolate French Macarons (Italian Meringue)

Who says that baking French macaron is easy???

I didn't.

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!!!

chocolate French macarons Italian meringue
Chocolate French macarons (made with Italian meringue)
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
60g water

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.

To assemble:
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.

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  1. No, no, macaroons are not easy to make, although they are just egg whites.. Must have tactics one.. Your macaroons look so so pretty, light, fluffy, sweet, yummy.. I saw Delifrance selling for 4 at RM10+, crazy, not gonna buy it.. I want your chocolate macaroons now !! They are so light, and melt in the mouth, I believe I can eat 100 !

  2. Most beautiful home made chocolate macaron!

  3. Happy Easter! Your macarons are absolutely gorgeous. I still haven't gotten up the courage to try making them. :)

  4. Sexy feet... Sexy shells... Lovely tips... Thanks for this Zoe!

  5. The effort is worth it ;) It's gorgeous, Zoe!

  6. Oh wow! These macarons are to die for :D

  7. Zoe, you sure bake gorgeous macarons! No, I have never thought they were easy to bake and possible will never dare to try! LOL!

  8. They look amazing! I have not yet dared to try macarons...

  9. Zoe, you are really good in macarons. All those macarons you made were so petty! I failed few times in making macarons and haven't got back the confidence yet. hahaha!

  10. Hi Zoe! Thank you so much for the messages you have left on my blog, I have been away from blogging for a while due to a hectic schedule and many changes! Sorry I missed your last contest as I don't check my blog often. I miss coming round to all your blogs and looking at those beautiful pictures.... I haven't been baking much and hope to start up again soon. Take care!

    1. Hi Mich,

      Welcome back!!! I know that it is very difficult to juggle with 3 kids and I think you are amazing! Good that you have decided to stay at home and focus more with your kids. You know... blogging is always our last priority... I always tell myself it is only a hobby :p

      I'm so glad to hear from you again :D


  11. They look so pretty...too pretty to eat. If I were to eat this, I will take very small bite and eat bit by bit to savour

  12. Sooo perfect! Can you post few to me :D

  13. Zoe, they look perfect!!!

  14. Ohhh they are sooo nice...they r telling me eat me, form the pictures....I've jsut had my breakfast and feelign so hungry already

  15. wow... they look so beautifully made...I want one right now :(

  16. Oh my! I dont know how many times I have tried to make these and they always end up in a disaster that have given up trying. Maybe I should follow your tips and give a nother go cos these look delicious!! have a safe trip to singapore and enjoy your holiday

  17. Hi Zoe,
    Lovely Chocolate French Macarons ! Enjoy your Easter break in Singapore!

  18. These look absolutely beautiful and perfect and delicious Zoe!! Love them!!!

  19. Gosh, they're perfect, Z. I wish I could grab one through my computer! xo

  20. I have only succeeded in baking macarons twice! I gave up after that. However, you made it sound easy. I shall bookmark this and try. Thanks for sharing.
    Welcome back to Singapore Zoe! Have a wonderful holiday with your family. :)

  21. I must say that if I ever were to attempt to make a macaron, these would be the ones I'd try. Chocolate and chocolate. Zoe you are my kind of girl. Have a Happy Easter!

  22. Zoe, this macarons look perfect...I yet have to try to bake macarons...any macarons...and from your description about the density, chocolate will probably not be my first trial.
    Thanks for all the tips...have a great week head :)

  23. Absolutely perfect looking (and i'm sure tasting too) Macs!! The way you described them made my mouth water so badly! Definitely keeping this recipe for reference the next time I'm up for making some Macs. :) Thanks for sharing!!

  24. Thank you for the recipes. I have tried French macaron before but not Italian macaron. Yours looks like made by professional.
    Have a wonderful trip!

  25. Perfectly made macarons with Italian Meringue method........ :)

  26. Lovely macarons! I have this book but have not tried any macarons from it yet!
    Enjoy your holidays!

  27. These look gorgeous! Good tip on not using the fan in the oven. I hope you save some of these for me! :-)

  28. Zoe, you seemed to have mastered the art of making macarons. They look so perfect! xoxo

  29. Zoe, I love to look at your lovely, beautiful and yummy Macarons but too scare to make it myself. Don't like wastage :(

  30. Beautiful. You have done the good feet.

  31. These macarons are sheer perfection, Zoe! So delicious, and the pictures are simply stunning :)

  32. Love the recipe!! Tried it replaced coco with green tea powder. Thank you.. baking in SGP. Conditioned room for preparation.