So this weekend, I started again. I measured more carefully, sifted more thoroughly and piped more quickly. The first two trays were just like the last batch - the macarons crumbled and cracked. After reading several "trouble-shooting macarons" blog posts (seriously, what is with these little cookies?!) and trying out a few different things, I realized that while Ladurée calls for leaving the piped batter on the counter for 10 minutes, it actually needs more like an hour. After that, everything went smoothly, and after their rest in the fridge, these were even more delicious than last time (and perfectly smooth on top).
These are absolutely my new favorite recipe, and I can't wait to adapt it to make all of my favorite macaron flavors. Enjoy!
Chocolate Macarons (Macarons Chocolat)
(from Ladurée Sucré, The Recipes)
10 oz / 290 g chocolate (minimum 70% cacao solids)
1 cup + 2 tbsp / 270 ml heavy (double) cream
4 tbsp / 60 g butter
2 3/4 cups / 260 g ground almonds (almond flour)
2 cups + 1 tbsp / 250 g confectioners' (icing) sugar
2 3/4 tbsp (15 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz / 65 g chocolate (minimum 70% cacao solids)
6 egg whites + 1/2 egg white
1 cup + 1 tbsp / 210 g granulated sugar
Piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch / 10-mm plain tip
1. Prepare the ganache. Using a knife, finely chop the chocolate on a cutting board and place in a large bowl. In a saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream in 3 parts over the chopped chocolate, mixing with a wooden spatula between each addition to homogenize the preparation.
Cut the butter into small pieces and stir into the ganache until very smooth. Transfer to a baking dish and cover with plastic wrap, so that the plastic is in contact with the ganache. Allow the ganache to cool at room temperature and then refrigerate for 1 hour until it has a thick, creamy consistency.
2. Combine the ground almonds, confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor and pulse to obtain a fine powder. Sift or strain through a sieve to remove any lumps. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water or in the microwave oven until it is lukewarm (approx. 95 F / 35 C).
3. In a clean, dry bowl, whisk the 6 egg whites to a foam. Once they are frothy, add a third of the granulated sugar and whip until sugar is dissolved; add another third of the granulated sugar and whip for another minute; finally add the remaining granulated sugar and whip for 1 more minute. Pour the melted chocolate over the whipped egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, roughly incorporate the chocolate, and then immediately and delicately fold the sifted mixture of ground almonds, confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder into the chocolate and egg white mixture. In a separate small bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 egg white until just frothy. Then add to the final mixture, folding gently to slightly loosen the batter.
4. Transfer mixture to the piping bag fitted with a plain tip. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, pipe small macaron rounds 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 inches / 3-4 cm in diameter. Lightly tap the sheet so the macarons spread fully.
Preheat the oven to 300 F / 150 C / gas mark 2.
Allow the macarons to sit uncovered for 10 minutes and then place in the oven. Bake for approximately 15 minutes until they form a slight crust.
5. Remove baking sheet from the oven, and with a small glass, carefully pour a tiny amount of water in between the sheet and the parchment paper (lift the paper ever so slightly corner by corner). The moisture and steam that result from the water on the hot baking sheet will allow the macarons to peel off more easily once they are cool. Do not pour too much water as this could cause the macarons to become soggy. Allow to cool completely. Remove half of the macaron shells and place them upside down on a plate.
6. When the ganache has a creamy consistency, pour into a clean piping bag fitted with a plain tip. Pipe a coin of ganache onto the macaron shells resting upside down. Top each with the remaining macaron shells. Keep macarons in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 12 hours before tasting.
-My biggest issue with this recipe is the 10 minutes of resting time - I had to increase this to an hour.
-I found that the step of pouring water onto the baking sheet to create steam was unnecessary - the macarons came right off the paper without a problem.
-Be sure to keep these in the fridge overnight - it makes a huge difference.
-Don't worry if your macarons crack or don't form feet on the first try (or, like me, the second or third try) - they might not look great, but they will taste almost the same!