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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chocolate for chocoholics!

I know, I know, of all the possibilities for macarons, why chocolate macarons?

You might think it's boring and surely, I should be able to come up with something more fancy. Well, there are reasons why chocolate is one of the world's most loved food. To put it simply, they're heavenly delicious.

Personally,  I found chocolate macaron is one of the easier one to make and, most importantly, delivers more predictable result. If done right, you're almost guaranteed to get the big feet (peid), the holy-grail for macaron baker.

I love making macarons and share them with friends and workmates. Well, I try not to keep too many macarons at home as I have a bad snacking habit and it's hard to stop at just one macaron.

This chocolate macarons batch was made for my girlfriend. I asked her to pick the flavour she'd like me to make. And she picked chocolate macarons. And why wouldn't she, they are so chocolatey, chewy and heavenly, especially for those chocolate lovers. It made my mouth watered thinking about them.  

Chocolate macarons recipe
make approx 24 macarons (3-cm size)

(for more details and photos about making macarons, you can visit my other blog here)

Macaron shell ingredients
100 g egg white (about 3 extra large eggs, aged 24- 48 hrs in advance)
110 g almond meal (almond powder, ground almond)
160 g pure icing sugar (powder sugar)
60 g caster sugar (fine sugar)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Chocolate ganache ingredients (macarons filling)
100 g semi-sweet chocolate (about 50% or more cocoa content), cut into small pieces
100 ml thickened cream (whipping cream)
20 g butter, cut into cubes

Making macaron shell

1.Sifting almond meal, icing sugar and cocoa powder together by pushing them through a sieve.

2. Beat egg white on a high speed until foamy, gradually add caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating the egg white until achieving a glossy stiff peak.

3. Mix egg white into almond meal mixture. Stir quite vigourously to break the egg white into dry ingredients for the first ten stokes or so. Continue to mix the egg white with dry ingredients until well combined (try the motion of lift, fold and push the mixture to the side of mixing bowl). The mixture should be thick, glossy and well-blended. The batter will look like a very thick cake batter.

4. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1-cm plain nozzle (#11).

5. Pipe mixture onto a tray lined with parchment paper or non-stick baking mat (Silpat) about one-inch in diameter and one inch apart.

6. Tap trays on a kitchen bench a few times to flatten the piped macarons and remove some air bubbles.

7. Leave the piped shell at room temperature for 30-60 mins until you can touch the shell without them sticking to your fingers.

8. Pre-heat the oven to 150c/170c (convection/conventional) about 15 mins before baking.

9. Bake the macarons for about 12-15 mins. Baking time will depend on the macaron size.

10. Remove macarons from the tray and put them on cooling racks. You may need a serrated knife to help removing macarons. Spraying a little water onto the hot tray underneath the paper also help releasing macarons (the steam gives that magic releasing power). 

11. Once they're completely cool, sandwich two shells together with chocolate ganache. Keep the macarons in a covered container in the fridge. They can be kept upto 5 days (or longer). Macarons taste better after they have been chilled for at least 12 hours.

Making chocolate ganache

1. Put chocolate pieces in a seperate bowl.

2. Heat thickened cream in a small pan over medium heat. When it comes to the boil, remove it from heat and pour over chocolate pieces. Let it sit for about 10 seconds, then stir the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted. Scatter the butter pieces and stir until it's melted.

3. Chill the ganache until ready to use. It needs to be chilled at least an hour or more until it's firm enough for the filling.

Enjoy! Let just call them Noir (for Dark Chocolate), so that it won't be as plain:)

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