Emboldened by my recent success with the Cashew Macaroons, I decided to give these elusive French Macaroons one more shot. Truth be told, I had rather two, catastrophic incidents with the macaroons in the last few years, and I had almost completely given up on them.
But recently, I’ve been a little active on Facebook, and I see all these lovely ladies in the ‘Home Bakers Guild’ group post such amazing pictures of French Macaroons, and I guess it just inspired me, and I got the courage to give it one last shot. Believe me, if this attempt too had failed, I vowed never to try it again, and to write off these evil Macaroons, and all things French forever!
But thankfully, nothing of the sort happened. I was rewarded, finally, and after years of continuous pursuit, I can say that I have finally, finally made the French Macaroons.
The reason why I decided to go with a Chocolate Macaroon is because I have this unusual surplus of chocolate at home, thanks to my recent visit to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Asheville, NC. You can read all about it here: A foodie’s travelogue #3: French Broad Chocolate Factory
I should definitely thank Stephanie Jaworski from Joy of Baking. Her videos are so helpful, and her instruction style makes even beginners think ‘I can do this!’. I would also like to thank the growing years, which seems to have imparted on me a very special gift: patience.
When I first started baking, I would always be in such a hurry to take the cake out of the pan, or to take the cookie out of the tray, or in the case of these Macaroons, never wait for the piped macaroons to dry out before it goes into the oven. This time, I waited, for about an hour and a half, and it paid off. The ‘feet’ developed perfectly, as it should have.
Please check Joy of Baking for the recipe and instruction video, it is absolutely essential that you follow the steps exactly.
Here are some useful notes, from someone who had tried, failed and succeeded:
1. Please use *aged* egg whites. Aging is a process where you place the egg whites in a bowl, covered loosely with a light paper napkin (or plastic wrap with holes, basically letting it breathe), and refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hours to max of 5 days.
2. Almond meal/almond flour is basically blanched and powdered almonds. You can make them yourself by pulsing it in a food processor and sieving. Repeat until all the large particles are processed fine.
3. Make sure that the confectioners sugar (icing sugar) has a small amount of cornflour. This will stabilize the macaroon.
4. After piping the macaroon onto the baking sheet, tap the baking sheet on the counter hard a couple of times. Then let it sit for 1- 1.5 hours until the top is almost dry to the touch. This is crucial for the ‘feet’ to develop.
I used the cacao nibs I got as sample from the French Broad Chocolate Boutique to top the Macaroons. If I may say so myself, I think they look fabulous! I’ve made these at least a half-dozen times and each time, it gives perfect, consistent results.
There are only three steps to making these macaroons:
Whip egg whites and sugar till you get stiff peaks.
Fold in the almond flour, cocoa and icing sugar and keep folding until the batter falls off in ribbons – this process is called the Macaronage
Now you pipe it into tiny circles and let it dry – the tops must no longer stick to your fingers when touched and have a matte sheen.
All there’s left to do, is Bake! Watch the ‘feet’ develop as the macaron ‘rises’ in the oven. Pair up same-size macarons and fill with a rich chocolate ganache.
The macaroons taste best the next day, after the flavours have ‘matured’. The moisture from the ganache seeps into the dry macaroon, softening the overall texture of the macaroon, so that when you bite into it, it sinks into your teeth like a soft, spongy, chewy cookie.