chocolat macarons

January 30, 2012
Les macarons are beautiful.  Les macarons are also scrumptious.  But les macarons have always intimidated my britches off.  It's not the ingredients, but the technique that make (or break) macarons and I'd be fibbing if I said there wasn't some excessive celebration happening in my kitchen when these sweeties worked perfectly.
After extensive macaron research, I went with David Lebovitz's, who has scientifically worked out the perfect recipe for the perfect chocolate macaron.   And I must say, I'll be forever indebted to his contribution to my baking confidence.  I added my own version of a chocolate buttercream filling though David made prune filling that seems equally divine.

I'm already brainstorming the next macaron flavors to try next.   I'm thinking raspberry.  Or maybe lemon... or even strawberry...
Chocolate Macarons
gluten-free
1 cup  powdered sugar
½ cup powdered almonds (about 2 ounces, 50 gr, sliced almonds, pulverized)
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 tablespoons granulated sugar

Chocolate buttercream filling 
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
4-5 tablespoons milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch, 2 cm) prepared; Set aside.
  2. Grind together the powdered sugar with the almond powder and cocoa so there are no lumps; use a blender or food processor since almond meal that you buy is not finely ground enough.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. Slowly add in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm and continue whipping about 2 minutes.
  4. Gently fold in the dry ingredients in two batches into the beaten egg whites with a rubber spatula just until there are no streaks of egg white. Fold the batter into the pastry bag and pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.
  5. Firmly rap the baking sheet a few times on the counter top to flatten the macarons then bake them for 12-15 minutes. 
  6. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from baking sheet.
  7. To prepare filling, cream together butter and shortening.
  8. Add confectioners sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla and beat well.
  9. Add milk while continuing to mix until light and fluffy.
  10. To assemble, spread a bit of filling on the inside of the macarons then sandwich them together. 
  11. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or freeze.  David says that should you choose to freeze them, make sure to defrost them in the unopened container to avoid condensation which will make the macarons soggy.
Adapted from David Lebovitz