Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chocolate Macaroons (Page 676)

RECIPE #839

  • Date: Sunday, September 28, 2008 -- 10pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: A-

When I first started this project I used to take a lot of requests. I would take specific requests, of course, from people I was cooking with or for. But I would also take general requests. I asked some friends for some numbers they liked and then I would make recipes from those pages in The Book. It was a good way to force myself to mix things up a bit. Plus, at the beginning the options seemed limitless, and it was nice to have a way to narrow down my choices. Lately, though, I haven't been fielding as many requests. So I was excited when my friend Philippe wrote a comment challenging me to make this recipe. Apparently he and his wife Vero tried to make these macaroons and something went awry. I was up for the challenge, so I went out and bought the ingredients, and on Sunday I put on my apron and made these cookies.

This recipe had several stages. First, I made the almond macaroons, which would later be sandwiched around some chocolate ganache to form the cookies you see above. I ground skinned almonds with powdered sugar and cocoa in the food processor. Not for the first time I wondered what size food processor they test these recipes in -- mine was practically overflowing. After the mixture was very finely ground I set it aside and separated some eggs. The recipe calls for 7/8 cup egg whites, claiming that it will take about 6 large eggs to get that quantity. I found that it took more like 8 and a half, but I had extra eggs in the fridge, so no worries. I beat the egg whites with salt and some sugar until they held stiff peaks. Then I folded the almond mixture into the egg whites in 3 additions. At that point I got a little worried. In the process of folding in the almond mixture I lost a lot of the air that I had beat into the egg whites, and my batter looked a little runny. But I plowed on. I put the batter in a pastry bag and piped out small mounds of onto a parchment covered baking sheet. The baking sheet went into the oven, and I was relieved to see that the cookies poofed up nicely (so there was still some air trapped in those egg whites!). Once they were done I took them out of the oven and transfered the sheet of parchment to a damp kitchen towel and cooled the cookies there for a few minutes before moving them to a rack to cool completely. While those cooled, I made the ganache. I mixed hot cream and milk with cocoa, chopped chocolate, and butter, then put it in the fridge to harden a bit. When it reached a good spreading consistency, I spread it on half the almond macaroons, placing the remaining macaroons on top to form little cookie sandwiches.

So after all that work, how were they? Mmmm.... Yum! The macaroons themselves were extremely light -- they practically melted in your mouth. Since they were mostly made of powdered sugar they were very sweet, which was a perfect complement to the not-at-all sweet chocolate ganache. In many respects the cookies and the ganache complemented each other beautifully. The ganache was rich and creamy, while the cookies were light and airy. Texturally these cookies were very interesting. The exteriors of the macaroons had a bit of crispness to them, while the interiors of the cookies were chewy. Paired with the smoothness of the ganache it was a textural wonderland! I have to admit, macaroons are not usually my favorite type of cookie, but these I liked quite a bit. They had a rich chocolate flavor that would make them go perfectly with a nice cup of coffee! The recipe was indeed a bit fussy and time-consuming, but it seems that it is possible to produce yummy macaroons from it!

This recipe isn't online.

7 comments:

vero said...

I knew it : Philippe and I suck!!!!

In our attempt the batter was so runny that the macarons spread all over the pan and became one big sheet. (And then burned in the oven). We put the second batch in muffin tins which was better but not perfect.

These are Philippe's favorite cookies. Since they are hard to find in North America, we'd like to have a good recipe for them. I think Philippe goes into withdrawal. In fact the last time he lived in Paris, he made a point of tasting all the macarons he could fine. He did the same with duck confit. Lets just say it was not the healthiest of summer.

We'll try these again. Do you have a suggestion to avoid our problem? We might buy a adult-size food processor. (Mine is a tiny little thing). We also did not measure the egg whites. My bad! We'll definitely do that.

Liz C said...

vero - I bet you a nickel you didn't have enough egg whites!

I'll definitely have to try these.

Jessica said...

I heart those! They are gorgeous! So would you imagine that I will have trouble making these at high altitude?

Philippe said...

Wow! R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
I have tried those for many years and never managed a single time to get such a nice result. Congratulations, you won the challenge!
Now that you love macarons, do you think you could maybe offer macarons at your wedding?? :)

Teena said...

Vero and Philippe: It's probably the egg whites. I measured out the 7/8 of a cup and that worked fine, but it definitely was not just 6 eggs, as The Book suggests. So if you only used 6 egg whites, that was probably the problem. You should try them again!

Macarons and duck confit, huh? Sounds unhealthy, but delicious!

I'll consider macarons at the wedding... :)

Jessica: I actually don't really know anything about high altitude cooking, so I'm not sure if this recipe would suffer or not!

Magdalen said...

Those macaroons look beautiful!

We had smoked salmon, duck confit, and Bakewell tart (which involved ground almonds ...) at our wedding, which would explain why no one ate the wedding cake. Those wacky Brits -- they serve dessert ("pudding") and then the wedding cake, which is traditionally fruitcake, occasionally inedible. But the Bakewell tart was lovely, so all was well.

Teena said...

Well, our current plan is also to have both dessert and wedding cake. We are going to space it out though, and hopefully the wedding cake will be so delicious everyone will want some even if they are full!