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.
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.
Aren’t they just the cutest? I am one proud “mama.”
Chocolate Macarons with Lactose-Free Ganache
- 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
- 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.