Chocolate Macarons

Oh my goodness. I’ve been eyeing macarons for some time as the ultimate kitchen challenge. I’m not talking about dense, chewy, coconut macaroons typically eaten for Passover. These are French macarons: a soft filling sandwiched between two light, crispy meringue shells. They are notoriously finicky treats, which is obviously why I wanted to try making them.

I was convinced– absolutely convinced– that they wouldn’t turn out properly on my first attempt. But I forged ahead and piped these babies out on a silicone baking mat, let them dry for an hour, and then hovered over them like an anxious new mother as they baked in the oven.

Unbaked macaron shells

After a few minutes, something magical happened. Like adolescent tadpoles, they grew feet! (Which is the cute name for the ruffled edge around the bottom of a macaron.)

And then I started dancing around the kitchen like a crazy woman, gleefully shouting, “They have feet! They have feet!” After a few delirious minutes, I finally settled myself down enough to make the ganache filling.

Ta-da!

Aren’t they just the cutest? I am one proud “mama.”

Chocolate Macarons with Lactose-Free Ganache

Macarons

  • 110 grams almond meal
  • 200 grams minus 2 Tbs. powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbs. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 100 grams egg whites (from about 3 eggs), room temperature
  • 50 grams granulated sugar

Lactose-Free Ganache

  • 1 cup lactose-free whole milk
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 10 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Whisk together almond meal, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder until there are no more chunks. Using a stand mixer or hand blender, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until they are foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar and whip until a smooth, shiny meringue with stiff peaks forms.

Add the almond mixture to the bowl with the meringue and quickly but gently fold together using a wide rubber spatula until no streaks remain.  The batter should be thick and should form “ribbons” when drizzled from the spatula.

Pipe the batter into round shapes (1- 1 1/2 inches in diameter) on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone mats. Let sit at room temperature for one hour.

Bake at 300° F for 8-12 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to a wire rack and don’t disturb the shells until they’re completely cool.

To make the ganache, stir together milk, sugar, and butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, turn off heat, and stir in vanilla and chocolate chips until smooth. Let cool.

Sandwich a smidgen of ganache between two meringue shells and gently press together. Repeat with the rest of the shells. Store in an airtight container.

Source: Macarons slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats. Ganache adapted from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook.

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