French Macarons with Chocolate Buttercream

French Macarons with Chocolate Buttercream

Mandala of Macaronage

Macarons are a treat of the highest order.  They remind me of the hindu monks who painstakingly draw out intricate designs in colored sand for hours, even days and/or weeks on end.  Once they deem their art piece is done, they gently sweep it away.  No Snapchat or Instagram for these fellows.  They say its an exercise in non attachment and it also serves to remind them that everything in this world is temporary.

French Macaron

Macaronage, in its own right, is an art form.  Like the monks’ sand art, making macarons takes time, practice, and patience.  You carefully craft your own miniature work of art and then… you eat it.  It’s gone, only a memory remains.  Thank God you made 40 of them!

3 French Macarons

Don’t worry if your macarons crack or come out of the oven hollow.  Even some of the best Parisian patisseries serve mismatched and cracked macarons.  They know the secret: the hollow and cracked ones taste every bit as good as their flawless brethren.

This recipe comes from master pastry chef Stella Parks of Bravetart.com.  Check out her macaron myths and 10 Macaron Commandments.  She stopped her blog in March 2014 and I miss her so much!  Thank goodness she still has it up.  It is a wealth of sweet inspiration!

Macaron tops and bottoms

French Macarons

French Almond Macarons - The perfect crispy chewy combo with a buttery chocolate center that will make you go weak in the knees. They're so good, they don't last long! | lakesidetable.com

Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 58 minutes
Servings 40 double sided cookies

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces almond meal (almond flour)
  • 8 ounces powdered sugar
  • 5 ounces egg whites
  • 2.5 ounces granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 10 ounces chocolate buttercream recipe follows

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300° and get a large (18”) pastry bag ready to go, fitted with a plain tip.

    Line two sheet pans with parchment.

    To get you started on the right track, use a 1 1/2" cookie cutter to trace circles to guide you. Fill the whole sheet with circles or just a line of circles down one side. I am terribly impatient and will only do two lines at most, ok maybe even just a 1/2 of a line. Then flip the parchment paper over, ink side down.

    Sift the almond flour with the powdered sugar and set aside.

    Get out your timer. The age and temperature of your egg whites do not matter. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt and turn the mixer to medium (4 on a Kitchen Aid). Whip for 3 minutes. They will be quite soft at this stage.

    Increase the speed to medium-high (7 on a Kitchen Aid) and whip another 3 minutes, then crank the speed to 8 for another 3 minutes.

    At this point, turn the mixer off and the almond extract and whip for a final minute on the highest speed, just for good measure, and to evenly distribute the flavor.

    Now you should have a very stiff, dry meringue. When you remove the whisk attachment, there should be a big clump of meringue in the center, just knock the whisk against the bowl to free it. If the meringue has not become stiff enough to clump inside the whisk, continue beating until it does.

    Transfer the meringue into a larger bowl for easier mixing and folding. Add in the dry ingredients all at once and fold them in with a rubber spatula. Use both a folding motion (to incorporate the dry ingredients) and a rubbing/smearing motion. You want to deflate the meringue against the side of the bowl. This is not a gentle process.

    After about 30 to 40 turns with the spatula, you should have what looks like molten lava. To test it, plop some of the batter onto itself. It should slowly reincorporate back into the batter in about 25 seconds. If it just sits there, keep folding. If it's much faster than that, like pancake batter, it's gone too far and it's back to the drawing board. Try not to let that happen.

    Put 1/2 of the batter into the piping bag. With the nose of the tip placed directly onto the parchment paper, pipe your circles stopping 1/4 inch from the edge. After piping, take your cookie sheet and rap HARD on the counter two times and then two more times after rotating your sheet 90 degrees. This will dislodge any remaining air bubbles causing your macaroons to crack.

    Bake for 18 minutes or until you can easily peel them off the parchment. Cool thoroughly on the pan and then fill them with a generous dollop of buttercream.

Recipe Notes

Recipe credit: Bravetart Thank you Stella Parks for inspiring me to jump head long back into the sweet side of the kitchen! 🙂

 

Chocolate Buttercream

French Almond Macarons - The perfect crispy chewy combo with a buttery chocolate center that will make you go weak in the knees. They're so good, they don't last long! | lakesidetable.com

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 8 ounces heavy cream
  • 5 ounces eggs whites
  • 5 ounces sugar super fine
  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoons extract) scraped
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Over very low heat, heat the heavy cream until warm and add the chopped chocolate. Stir with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until the chocolate has melted and remove from heat to cool to room temperature. Set aside.

    Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a large clean metal, ceramic, or glass bowl. Set the bowl over a pot of steaming hot water on the stove. Be careful not to boil the water, it just needs to steam. Stir so not to cook the eggs on the side of the bowl. If you have a Kitchen Aid Mixmaster, use that mixing bowl. Once the egg whites have reached 150 degrees (145 degrees is safe, but why not error on the side of caution?) remove the bowl and using the whisk attachment (or a hand held beater) whip on medium high until the mixture has doubled in volume and turned white.

    Make sure the mixture has no trace of warmth at all before you start to add the butter one tablespoon at a time. If you don't let your meringue cool sufficiently before start adding the butter, you will have a big oily mess on your hands. Keep adding the butter little by little. Right before it comes together, it will look like it has completely separated and fallen apart. Don't worry, keep whipping and adding the butter.

    After it has all come together, add the vanilla bean scrapping or extract and cooled chocolate mixture. Keep scraping the side of the bowl to make sure it is all fully incorporated.

    This icing keeps beautifully in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and up to 3 months in the freezer.



2 thoughts on “French Macarons with Chocolate Buttercream”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *