In the week before I left for Italy, I got stuck into a huge macaron-making jag. I've already shared my Orange Macarons and Nutella Macarons, but there's plenty more where those came from. I usually tend to move from one recipe to the next without doing many repeats, but I must have churned out a couple hundred of these cookies in a week. I think the thing that keeps me going back again and again is the fact that the cookies are rather unpredictable. I've been fairly successful, but sometimes a batch turns out to be a flop for no apparent reason. And since I'm a bit of a perfectionist, it means that I have to try again...and again.
Gotta love the challenge. I've definitely been getting better at it, and so today, I'm sharing with you these chocolate raspberry macarons! Rich and decadent, yet slightly fruity, these macarons are sure to be a show-stopping dessert for any meal. I love how the slightly bitter and tart chocolate raspberry ganache filling balances out the sweetness of the shell.
Here are a few techniques that I've found have worked for me:
- Resting the macarons: while the Bravetart recipe I've been following doesn't call for the macarons to be rested before baking, I've found that letting them sit for 30-45 minutes gives me better and more consistent results.
- Double stacking the trays: this helps prevent the macarons from cracking.
Give these guys a try, and let me know how your macaron adventures go!
Chocolate Raspberry Macarons
Adapted from Bravetart
For the Shells
2 oz. (58 g) Almond Flour or Almonds (with or without their skins)
4 oz. (115 g) Powdered sugar
1.25 oz. (36 g) Granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon (1 g) Salt
2.5 oz. (72 g) Egg whites (about 2 eggs)
Red food coloring gel or powder
For the Chocolate Raspberry Ganache
4 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon raspberry jam, strained to get rid of any seeds
If you’re using whole almonds, you’ll need to grind them. Place the almonds in a food processor and roughly grind them. It doesn’t need to be too fine, but there shouldn’t be any large chunks. Add in two or three tablespoons of powdered sugar and continue grinding the almonds until they are very fine. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and grind for another 15-30 seconds.
Make the meringue. Mix together the granulated sugar and salt. In a very clean bowl, begin beating the egg whites on medium-low speed until frothy, about 1-2 minutes. Increase speed to medium, and gradually add the granulated sugar-salt mixture, and beat until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Increase speed to high, and beat until the meringue is very stiff and shiny, about 2-3 minutes. Add gel or powdered food coloring, if desired, and beat the meringue for another minute.
Hold a mesh strainer over the meringue, and sift the almond mixture over the meringue. Return any pieces that don’t pass through the strainer to the food processor, and grind them some more, and sift them again. There may still be a few bits that are too big (less than a tablespoonful); just add them to the meringue.
Begin folding the dry ingredients into the meringue. Be sure to scrape the edges of the bowl. When done, the batter should be thick, but somewhat fluid. Do the ribbon and/glop test to check.
- Ribbon test: hold a spatula-full of batter over the bowl, and it should fall into the bowl in a thick ribbon. The ribbon should re-incorporate into the batter within about 30 seconds.
- Glop test: drop a spoonful of batter onto a plate. The peak should smooth out within 10 seconds.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silipat.
Put the batter into a pastry bag with a round tip about ¼-inch wide. Pipe out 1-inch wide circles, leaving around 1 inch between circles.
Rap the baking sheet against a counter or tape several times to release any air bubbles trapped in the batter. You should see bubbles rise to the top and pop.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the batter to rest in open air for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until the tops are set; when you lightly touch the circles with a finger, no batter sticks to it.
Put the macarons in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the cookies can come cleanly off the parchment paper, and the insides are done. (They should be slightly damp on the inside, but not wet and sticky.)
While the macarons are baking, make the ganache. In a microwavable bowl, mix together the chocolate and cream. Heat the mixture in the microwave on low power for about 45 seconds, stopping every 15 seconds to give it a stir. Mix in the raspberry jam, and allow the ganache to cool off slightly, but without letting the consistency become too solid.
Allow the macarons to cool, and fill with ganache. Spoon about ½ tablespoon of ganache onto a macaron, and top with another macaron.