I have come to spread good news and bust myths my fellow bakers, for I have some good news for you! And it is that... chocolate macarons aren't difficult to make. Wait, what?
I know that in many tutorials and demonstrations they tell you to steer away from this chocolate cookie. In fact many patisseries just dye their macarons brown and put the chocolate flavour in the filling! I have come to tell you that it is not so different from a normal vanilla shell. Making these is actually quite enjoyable and they taste even better than the regular ones. Like, waaaaaay better.
While I don't suggest attempting the chocolate macarons the first time, they are still quite easy to accomplish and are very rewarding. Get your sleeves rolled up and put on an apron because it's baking time! This macaron shell recipe is adapted from Joy of Baking!
Chocolate Peppermint Macarons
100g ground almonds
170g icing sugar
100g egg whites
4 tbsp sugar
pinch cream of tartar
Grind the almonds in a food processor sift the almonds and dispose of any large lumps. Sift them again with the icing sugar and cocoa. In a large bowl whip the egg whites with the sugar and cream of tartar. Whip until glossy and stiff, about 6 minutes. Dump the dry ingredients in one third at a time and fold, scraping down the sides and mixing until fully incorporated. When ready it should drip from the spatula to form small ribbons. Fill a piping bag fitted with a round tip with the mixture. Pipe onto large tray with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Let you cookies sit at room temerature for about an hour, or until they form a dry skin. Bake for 8-10 minutes. You can test by touching the sides, if they wobble, they aren't done. Let the shells cool completely before removing from the sheet.
1 cup heavy cream
9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 tsp salt
4-5 mini candy canes
In a small sauce pan over medium heat, bring cream to a simmer. Meanwhile, chop the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute. Add the extract, salt and butter and whisk until glossy and smooth. Cover in plastic wrap and chill for about an hour, until thick but spreadable. While waiting, take your candy canes and place in a plastic bag, take a mallet and whack them against your counter until there are tiny shards. Place those in a bowl. Once the ganache has cooled, scoop it into a plastic bag with a round tip and pipe on one side of a macarons and sandwich two together. Roll the sides in the crushed candy canes. Repeat until finished. Store in airtight container and refrigerate. Enjoy!
These were probably some of the best macarons I have made. They were really soft and chewy and had the most wonderful refreshing peppermint-y flavour. Also, please excuse the slightly blurry photos, the Christmas tree was blocking the light and made it hard to take pictures in the usual spot. I also wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas!