By Lisa Maliga, copyright 2016
I’ve tasted chocolate macarons from Trader Joe’s and Laduree. To your left is a photo of what a true chocolate macaron looks like.
For my chocolate macarons, I used a different ratio of ingredients, different filling and different oven temperature from my other three batches. What could go wrong? Or right?
I used a good brand of cocoa powder: Divine. Yes, it smells and tastes as good as its name so I thought that was perfect for my favorite flavor.
Major differences included changing the oven temperature, using the center rack, and adding salt to the egg whites. That last step resulted in a longer time to get the first signs of froth and the finished meringue texture.
This batter was unlike the others as it was much thicker. I probably used too much cocoa powder. It had only been sifted once, when added with the sugar and almond flour. Whatever it was, this batch was very difficult to mix and I got so tired I just stopped. As soon as it was awkwardly piped onto the parchment paper, it was already dry. With my other three batches, when first touched, some of the batter stuck to my finger. With this batch, I was able to touch the batter and feel a thin film had already formed! That was a first. It was the complete opposite of the previous week’s 90-minute wait for the shells to get that film. Still, I had to wait for at least 30 minutes while I preheated the oven and made my chocolate ganache filling.
That’s when the fun began. I used the standard unsweetened Baker’s Chocolate. Instead of opting for the double boiler, I used a microwave to melt the heavy cream, then pour it onto the shredded chocolate, melting it that way. The recipe also called for butter and vanilla extract. It mixed up well with a whisk. I added it to the piping bag and let it rest [sideways] on the counter to cool off.
Meanwhile, I’d discovered something amazing going on with the macarons – at the seven-minute mark I switched on the oven light and looked through the window – feet! The macs were all forming feet. “I’ve got feet!” I shouted. “Feetsies! I’ve got feet! Feet don’t fail me now!”
And they didn’t! I was able to turn the tray and see the feet up close. I impatiently waited for them to finish. When they were placed on a cooling tray, I admired the little frills that surrounded each round and semi-round shell. Later, I’d easily slide them off and note very little residue on the parchment paper. There were no hollows; each shell was solid on the bottom.
But the tops looked a little rustic. No shiny and smooth finish. Oh well, can’t have everything.
Time to pipe the ganache. Nothing happened. Some butter had separated and solidified at the edge of the nozzle. The ganache was stuck inside. Squeezing from the top, even shaking it, that dark brown filling wasn’t budging.
Time to make another batch of ganache. I followed the same directions, using Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels. They melted even faster and the resulting ganache was like thin syrup. I put it in the fridge. Two hours later, it was still the same texture, only colder. I melted a small amount of morsels in the microwave and then had something that could go into a piping bag and become the filling for the nicely chocolatey brown shells.
The macarons looked and tasted like brownies with commercial chocolate rather than a French delicacy I’d hoped to make. 24 hours later, the macs tasted no different, definitely like brownies with semi-sweet chocolate fudge filling.
But at least they had feet!
NEXT WEEK: More adventures as I bake Pink Lemonade Macarons.
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