plate of macarons photo by bokchoyboy.
I must admit, I am a macaroon (also spelled "macaron") fanatic. To me, the perfect afternoon entails sweet wine or coffee, my husband or a good friend, and a plate of beautiful macaroons at our neighborhood patisserie. The following recipe for classic French chocolate macaroons comes from Lori Longbotham's Luscious Chocolate Desserts. Bake them and eat them in a bubble bath with beautiful music playing.
For the macaroons:
1/2 c. blanched whole almonds
1 3/4 c. confectioners sugar
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large egg whites
pinch of salt
2 tsp. granulated sugar
For the filling:
1/2 c. heavy (whipping) cream
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
5 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
To make macaroons: Pulse the almonds with 1 cup of the confectioners sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Add the cocoa powder and the remaining 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar and pulse until well-blended. Beat the egg whites with the salt with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl. just until the whites form soft peaks when the beaters are lifted. Add the granulated sugar and beat just until the whites form stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted. With a whisk or rubber spatula, gently fold in the almond mixture. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2" plain tip. Pipe out 1" diameter rounds about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the tops are cracked and appear dry but the macaroons are still slightly soft to the touch. Transfer the cookies, still on the parchment paper, to barely dampened kitchen towels and let cool for 5 minutes. Carefully peel off the macaroons and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
To make filling: Bring the cream to just a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder. Add the chocolate and butter and whisk until smooth. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until the filling is firm enough to hold its shape when spread. If desired, transfer filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2" plain tip. Pipe the filling, or spread it with a table knife, generously on the flat side of half the macaroons. Top with the remaining macaroons, flat side down, pressing together gently to form sandwiches.
-The history of macaroons.
-A mouthful of heaven.
-Macarons on Wikipedia.