The Mystery of the Macaron: part deux

Final Count: Macaron:1, Julia and Megan:1.  So, technically its a stalemate BUT since there were two of us (not to mention the fact that a macaron isn’t exactly an intelligent entity) I’m going to count us each as having one WHICH results in Macaron:1, Julia and Megan:2.  We win!   Yesterday Megan (of Modern Megpie and Whirly Girl Coffee) and I convened at her cute, tucked away house at a secret location in Cincinnati to carry out our plan of attack on macaron a la pistache.  And, after all was said and done, I have to say that we are pretty much awesome (sometimes youve just got to toot your own horn, even if it is softly).

As I mentioned before in my post about macarons and their mysterious nature the clue to the whole sha-bang really is in following instructions and being precise.  Take any macaron recipe (there are many  many many) and read it over a few times before trying it out.  Get everything prepared ahead of time.  Then just follow the instructions to the teeth, dont be afraid of your egg whites, and be patient in assembling the final product.  It takes thoughtfullness, precision, planning, and a little more then a touch of passion to get it right, but once you do its pretty damn near the best thing ever (and yes, we were so excited that we did sit and watch them rise in the oven, granted, with coffee and lots of talk about things non-macaron related).

I am re- including the macaron recipe from Nigella Lawson that was originally a flop due to my own haphazard-ness. I refuse to abandon it as a bad recipe (nobody likes a quitter), try it out and let me know how yours turn out!

*Thanks to Megan and Steve for the great photos!*

CHOCOLATE MACARONS

For the Macarons:

* recipe from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess*

1 2/3 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of ground almonds

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

4 large egg whites

1 tablespoon of sugar

2 baking sheets

1/2 inch plain pastry tip and pastry bag

For the ganache filling:

6 tablespoons of heavy cream

5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate (we used Ghirardelli), chopped

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Sift together the confectioners sugar, ground almonds, and cocoa powder
  3. Whisk the egg whites until half stiff, and sprinkle the granulated sugar into the egg whites.  Continue to whisk until very stiff, but not dry.
  4. Fold the sifted ingredients into the stiff meringue in increments using a silicone spatula.
  5. Fit the piping tip into the bag, sit it in a tall glass, turn the bag back to form a cuff, and fill with the macaroon mixture.
  6. Pipe out 2-inch rounds on the baking sheet and leave to stand for 15 minutes (will form a skin).
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes.  The macaroons should be dry on top but chewy underneath.
  8. Remove the macaroons from the oven and let them cook on a wire rack.  When they are cool, spread the ganache on the underside of one, and stick another (right side up) on top to create a sandwich. Should make around 18 macaroon sandwiches.
  9. To make the ganache filling:  Basically heat all the ingredients in a sauce pan on low heat until the chocolate is JUST melted.  Take the saucepan off the heat and whisk the chocolate for approx. 3-4 minutes until it is visibly thick (almost a pudding consistency). Let cool, and then spread between two macaroons.
  10. These are best the day of, so pig out and enjoy!