This was the first batch of macarons I have ever tried and luck must have been on my side because they turned out really well. These are French macarons, not to be confused with the Italian variety which uses a hot sugar syrup. I made these macarons for a Twitter Mac Attack challenge where many food bloggers from across the world decided to give them a try.
Macarons are known to be extremely tricky for some so I was a little concerned, but this first try turned out great. The egg whites used for macarons need to be “aged” for 3 to 5 days. I do this by placing them in a container covering the container with plastic and then peeling back about 1/3 the top to expose them to the air to help them dry out. I leave them there for 3 days at room temperature and then store them in the refrigerator for another two days.
I used the basic Coffee Macaron recipe sent to me by Jamie of the wonderful Life’s A Feast blog, our fearless leader who agreed to organize this challenge and made just a few minor changes from the basic recipe. Not finding espresso powder in our stores (sounds crazy in Italy doesn’t it?) I used an American freeze dried coffee powder instead.
To enhance the coffee flavor, after piping the macs I pushed the coffee granules through a sieve and sprinkled them onto the top of my cookies. As for my filling, I decided to include a second challenge into the mix and created a Nutella ganache which went really nice with the coffee flavor.
For The Shells:
- 90 Grams Egg Whites (About 3) At Room Temperature And Aged For 3 Days
- 30 Grams Sugar
- 200 Grams Powdered Sugar
- 110 Grams Finely Ground Almonds
- 2 Teaspoons Instant Coffee (Additional for Topping If Desired)
For The Nutella Ganache:
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
- 3/4 Cup Dark Chocolate
- 3 Tablespoons Nutella
- In a food processor, blend the almonds, coffee and icing sugar until very finely ground, then set aside. (I also found it helpful to push the mixer through a sieve to remove any larger pieces.)
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the egg whites until foamy, then slowly begin to add the granulated sugar until you have created a glossy meringue.
- Add the almond mixture to the meringues all at once, and quickly fold to blend and break up some of the air.
- Continue to slowly mix until the almonds are incorporated into the meringues and the mixture resembles lava. (It should not take more than 50 strokes to accomplish this.)
- Once you have the right consistency, fill a pastry bag with a plain tip with the mixture, and carefully pipe circles of about 1.5 inches in diameter about 2 inches apart onto parchment paper.
- Once you have completed piping allow the macarons to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour to develop a skin. (You can tell if this has happened by lightly touching the top with your finger. If the mixture does not stick to your finger they are ready for baking.)
- Preheat the oven to 280 degrees F. and carefully slide the parchment sheets onto a baking sheet and bake the macarons for 15 to 20 minutes depending on how large you piped them.
- While baking they should rise with airy feet developing.
- Once baked remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
- Carefully remove from the parchment using a small metal spatula.
- If you have any trouble with the macarons sticking you can place a couple of drops of water under the parchment.
- Store macarons in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to add the filling.
- To make the filling heat the cream in a small pot until just before it begins to boil, then break up the chocolate and mix it into the hot cream until it has completely melted.
- Add the Nutella and stir to blend.
- Refrigerate the filling for an hour or two until it begins to firm up enough to be of spreading consistency.
- Either pipe or spoon some of the filling onto one half of a macaron, and then top with another of equal size.