Sunday, February 15, 2009
Delicate, simple, colourful, even cute. I love French macaroons, or macarons. I've been seeing them EVERYWHERE lately, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and make them this weekend.
Many recipes call for ground almonds, but since I'm making chocolate hazelnut macarons, I want to use hazelnuts throughout the recipe. The only drawback is that I have to skin the hazelnuts myself, so that took a while. I used the more time consuming method, which is to boil them first, and then roasting them to dry out the excess moisture. I was pretty happy with the result, except for two things. The hazelnuts were not ground fine enough, although they looked like a fine powder, so the macarons look bumpy and grainy. Secondly, my pans warped after being in the oven for a while, so some of the macarons were slanted.
What are some of your favorite macaron flavours? What are the most outrageous or exciting flavours you've tried? Where do you usually buy them? I think I'll try to incorporate some Asian flavours to them, like lemongrass, ginger, lychee, etc.
CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT MACARON
Makes 25 - 30 cookies
3/4 cup whole filberts, skins removed
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3 large egg white
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup dark chocolate
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup hazelnut butter
1 tbsp sugar
In a food processer, process hazelnuts until finely ground. Sift in powdered sugar and cocoa powder, and process until the mixture becomes a fine powder.
Preheat oven to 300F.
In a bowl of an electric mixer, or large bowl if using hand-held mixer, whisk egg white until soft peaks form. Add cream of tartar and granulated sugar. Continue to mix at high speed until glossy and hard peaks form, about 3 mins.
Gently fold in nut mixture in two batches until well incorporated, trying not to deflating the egg
mixture. Fill a piping bag fitted with a round 1 cm tip (#805) with the mixture. Pipe mounds 1 inch in diameter onto a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving an inch space between mounds. To flatten the peaks, moisten finger with water and lightly dab down on the peaks. Let sit in room temperature for 10 - 15 mins to dry out the surface.
Bake for 20 mins, until the outside of the macarons are dry. The center should still be moist. Remove from oven, and let cool for 5 - 10 mins before removing from parchment. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
To make the filling, combine chocolate, cream, and hazelnut butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until cream is hot and chocolate begins to melt, stirring consistently. Remove from heat, and continue to stir until all the chocolate is melted and mixture is creamy and smooth. Cool completely before using.
To assemble, spoon a small dollop of filling onto the flat side of a macaron. With a second macaron, press the flat side onto the filling, creating a sandwich.