I know, I know… I posted some lovely, flowery, heart-shaped cookies recently, but I also know that Valentine’s Day is really about chocolate. So, I’m going to put myself to the macaron test, since I’ve always wanted to try making these. This blog is coming up on a year, and I think it’s time to celebrate!
Gotta have chocolate
I’ve always heard that macarons are a real challenge to make, and of course, there are lots of little tricky things to watch for, like making sure there are no bits of egg yolk in the egg whites, or any drips of water there, either. My dear friend Shirley in the U.K. tried this recipe a while back, and she said it was relatively easy, and they were totally delicious, too. So who am I not to try? Besides, it indulges the French woman in me.
Just so you know, I made these twice. I over-beat the egg whites with the first batch, and I had a feeling something was wrong, when I piped them onto the baking sheet. I hated those turd-y, funny-looking ones so much, that I actually made a second batch the next day. I figured that they were easy enough to make, and I could always give them away as little Valentine gifts to my neighbors. That’s the spirit of the holiday, anyway. Besides, I really didn’t want all that extra ganache to go to waste!
All I wanted for Christmas was…
I also will admit that we had a rather meager Christmas this year, and when Monty asked me what I wanted, I told him that all I really wanted was a pastry bag and a tart pan. He indulged me, thankfully. The pastry bag was of course for this project. The tart pan will likely make a showing in the summer.
Now, if you know me at all, you know I have a passion for passionfruit, or lilikoi, as it’s known here in Hawai‘i. So my thought was making the macarons chocolate, and then filling them with white chocolate lilikoi ganache, just to make things interesting. I collect the passionfruit juice all summer long, just so I can try little projects such as this. Besides, the chocolate-lilikoi combo sounds amazing!
Here’s that near-foolproof recipe:
For the macarons:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup almond flour
2 medium, free-range egg whites
Small pinch salt
¼ cup caster sugar (super fine or baker’s sugar)
For the ganache:
10 ounces white chocolate (or white chocolate chips, if they are of high quality)
½ cup passion fruit puree (or juice, or nectar, depending on what’s available
½ teaspoon Meyer lemon zest (organic is best)
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
You will need a pastry bag for this.
You’ll be baking these at 365º, but you might want to wait to pre-heat the oven until the macarons are resting. Why waste energy, is how I think.
You might also want to prep your baking sheets at this time, just so they’re ready. If you don’t have a silicone mat, (I don’t) you can use parchment paper. Some people draw little 1½” circles on the paper, just to have a guideline. If you don’t do that, just remember that the macaron mixture will likely settle and spread a bit as it’s baking, (it didn’t for me the with the first batch, but it might for you) so you’ll probably want to keep them small.
Sift with a sieve
Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder with a large sieve into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Whisk the dry ingredients together
Add in the almond flour, sifting in the same way. Gently whisk together.
Whisk egg whites into soft peaks… this may have been overdone
In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt together until soft peaks form. Just don’t beat those buggers into a real frenzy, or they might look like the photo below. Don’t overbeat! Add in the caster sugar and keep whisking until the whites are thick and glossy. Then, gently fold in the almond flour mixture.
Here’s where the pastry bag comes in. Fill it up with the macaron mixture and pipe small amounts with a 1/3″ nozzle, onto the parchment paper, or your macaron mat, if you happen to have one.
The piped macarons may look a bit.. umm.. odd, if you over-beat
Once finished, tap the baking sheet a couple of times to help settle the mixture and to release any air bubbles. This is where I pre-heat the oven to 365º. Allow the macarons to air dry for at least 20 minutes.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the macarons feel firm, and easily pull away from the parchment. It’s also suggested that you open the oven door once or twice during baking to release any steam. Macarons need to be dry.
We got “feet!”
Once done, cool completely on the baking sheet. Thankfully, the second batch turned out much better.
Now, we make the ganache. I adapted this from stickygooeycreamychewy.com, though I’m admitting I’m using beautiful, organic, white chocolate chips, which they advised not to do. I couldn’t resist, because they were on sale. I also added about a half teaspoon of Meyer lemon zest, just because I know that passion and citrus set each other off beautifully. I’ll let you know if I have regrets.
Put the white chocolate chips into a medium sized bowl and set aside.
Put the lilikoi purée into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.
In a heavy saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. (You don’t want to boil the cream and lilikoi together, because the acid in the fruit could cause the cream to curdle). While waiting for the cream and lilikoi purée to heat, work the butter with a spatula or a knife, so that it becomes really soft and creamy. Set it aside.
Combine the hot cream with the white chocolate
Once the cream is boiling, remove from heat and pour it into the white chocolate bowl. The heat should make the chocolate melt, of course. Let it sit for a minute, then whisk or beat to combine.
Next, add hot lilikoi
Then pour the hot lilikoi juice in and combine again. The chocolate should fully melt with this last addition.
Lastly, add the butter
Lastly, blend in the butter, beating with a rubber spatula. Once the butter is fully incorporated, the ganache should be very glossy and smooth. It will also taste totally divine! The white chocolate chips worked fine, by the way… just make sure you use high quality, if you choose to use them~ none of that cheap, waxy stuff.
Chill the ganache, until it’s a good spreading consistency.
A nice dab of ganache will fill
Put the lid on it
Spread or pipe it between the macarons, then chill for 24 hours, for best results. If you can resist.
Lovely by the plateful
This makes 10-15 macarons, depending upon size, or in my case, even more. Be prepared and have more than one cookie sheet at the ready.
A tropical treat
Chocolate Macarons with Passionfruit Ganache
Just so you know, they didn’t come out perfect. They are lumpy, because the flour needed more grinding, and my ganache is a bit goopy. I know I will be trying again, and I’m sure they will come out even better. All that aside, they are absolutely delicious!
Happy Valentine’s Day!