Day 9: French Macarons with Ganache
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December 21, 2017 by Nicole Collins
It's Day 9! And, today I'm helping you face your fears and achieve a MAJOR accomplishment!
Today, we're making French Macarons with Ganache!
Ok, so when we started this 12 DAYS OF COOKIES challenge, I promised you easy and delicious cookies. I'd say I've delivered on that promise so far, right?
But, I don't think French Macarons have ever been accused of being easy.
I'm not going to lie to you. They're a little temperamental, and they take A LOT of patience. But, they're 100% worth the effort involved.
The first time I made macarons, I was under the instruction of a professional pastry chef. I took a class at one of my favorite places, Baltimore Chef Shop; and it was 3 hours dedicated to the art of French Macarons.
Of course, it was pretty a much flawless experience with a seasoned macaron maker peeping over your shoulder all afternoon.
Attempting it on my own did not go so well at first.
Despite the very detailed notes I wrote from my class, I made some rookie moves on my first round of “by myself” macarons. I tried to shortcut some steps, and it was an absolute fail.
Moral of the story: patience is a virtue.
In the recipe below, I've got very detailed step by step instructions for the most PERFECT French Macarons! If you take your time, don't freak out, and follow my notes to a tee, you'll realize how easy and achievable making macarons at home really is. I've even got some links in the recipe and recipe notes to some of the products I use to help me get that perfect little cookie.
You're gonna save yourselves sooooooooo much money, if you're a macaron lover like me!
After you get over the initial freak out of me telling you that we're making macarons today, you can focus on another special trick I'm about to teach you.
Coffee Creamer Ganache!
Ganache is one of the classic fillings that can be used for macarons. Macarons generally hold all of their flavor in the fillings, so that part is super important.
Well today, the possibilities are endless. Because, with your favorite kind of chocolate and your favorite flavor of coffee creamer, you can have an incredible filling for your beautiful cookies!
I chose to do a semisweet chocolate and coconut crème mix, a milk chocolate and peppermint mocha mix, and a white chocolate and sugar cookie mix. I REALLY wanted to do a white chocolate and cinnabon creamer mix and a milk chocolate and Reeses creamer mix; but I realized I was at the point where I already had 3 jumbo bottles of coffee creamer in my fridge, and I don't even drink coffee.
I had to draw the line somewhere, as tough as it was.
But, you guys can use whatever flavor combos you like! There are some good ones out there right now in the special holiday flavors.
You guys are going to be superstars when you present these macarons to your friends and family; but let's take a look at the other treats we've also put in the line up:
Day 7: Butter Toffee Cookies
Day 6: Cookies and Cream Bark
Day 5: Cookie Butter Cookies
Day 3: Vanilla Chai Shortbread
Day 2: Samoa S'mores
Day 1: Brownie Biscotti
Please don't be nervous. I promise you, I'm setting you up for success today! But remember, these things are expensive to buy for a reason. They don't always come out perfect the first time...or the second time. Practice makes perfect!
Enjoy, let's impress, and let's bake!
French Macarons with Ganache Serves: 24 sandwich cookies Print
For the Macarons:
3.5 oz egg whites (about 3-4 large eggs)
3 oz granulated sugar, sifted
4 oz almond flour
4 oz powdered sugar
1/3 cup chocolate chips (milk, dark, semisweet, or white)
2 tbsp coffee creamer (flavors of your choice, but I used Coconut Creme, Peppermint Mocha, and Sugar Cookie Creamers)
In the bowl of a stand mixer (clean and oil free), add egg whites. Let sit for at least 5 hours or up to overnight to come to room temperature.
Meanwhile, pulse almond flour and powdered sugar in a food processor until well combined, about 30 seconds. Sift the almond/sugar mix a total of 3 times. The first 2 times, sift the mix through a fine mesh sieve. The third time, use a sifter. If you don't have a sifter, use the fine mesh sieve a total of 4 times.
When the egg whites are ready, fit the stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Add 1 tbsp of the sifted granulated sugar, and beat on speed 8 until the egg whites are frothy. When the whites are frothy and bubbly, increase the speed to 10, and gradually add the remaining sugar. Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. The egg white will lose their glossiness on the outside. That's when they're done. When you raise the whisk out of the egg whites, the peaks should hold their form (stiff peaks).
Add the almond mix to the egg whites. Using a silicone spatula, fold the almond mix in to the egg whites. This should take about 4-5 minutes of folding. Be aggressive, but don't overmix. The batter should be smooth and glossy. To test to see if you have the right consistency, use your spatula to move the batter over to one side of the bowl. The batter should take 3 seconds to spread back over to the other side. Another test is to move the batter over to one side of the bowl and form a peak. The peaks should fold in half in to themselves. The peak should not hold it's shape. This process is called Macronage. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a large round open tip. I use Wilton 2A.
Line 2 large baking trays with silicone baking mats. Pipe batter in to circles just larger that 1 inch around. Hold your piping bag at a 90 degree angle (straight up and down) to the mat. Start your tip in the center of what your circle will be and apply pressure to release the batter to desired size. Gently lift up your tip with a quick flick of your wrist to finish the shell without leaving a peak in the center. Repeat until all batter has been used. Tap trays on the table 2 or 3 times to flatten out your shells. I use this baking mat with macaron circles already outlined for the perfect size every time. If you want to add sprinkles to the shells, now is the time while they're wet. Allow shells to dry and rest for 1 hour. When you carefully touch the outside of the shell, it should feel dry and not stick to your finger.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place 1 tray of macarons in the oven for 10 mins, rotating the tray at the 5 minute mark. You should see the classic “feet” on the macarons. Repeat with the second tray of shells. Allow to cool for about 30 mins-1 hour on the baking mat before very gently removing the cookie shells from the mat.
Make the ganache: In a small glass bowl, place chocolate chips in the bowl and top with coffee creamer. Microwave for 45 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir until mix is combined and smooth. Set aside for about 10-15 mins to thicken up just a bit. I used a combination of semisweet chocolate with coconut crème creamer, milk chocolate with peppermint mocha creamer, and white chocolate with sugar cookie creamer. You'll need at least 2 batches of ganache for this recipe of macarons.
Fill the macarons: Using a small spoon, dollop about 1-2 tsp of ganache in the center of the flat side of one cookie. Top with another cookie. Repeat until all cookies have been used. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week. Alternately, store the macarons in an airtight container in the freezer for 3-4 months. Remove from the freezer about 30 minutes before you're ready to enjoy!
*A kitchen scale is necessary for this recipe. This is the one I use. This batter is so temperamental, guesstimating is not an option. The weights must be exact. Most scales have “tare” feature, so you can measure your ingredients in your mixing bowl without having to do the math to account for the weight of the mixing bowl.
*It may seem redundant to sift the almond mix so many times, but it's necessary for a perfectly airy shell. I find that my sifter gets pieces that my sieve doesn't , so I like to use both. This is the sifter I use. Don't try to skip the sifting steps. You'll regret it.
*The egg whites MUST be aged and at room temperature. Your batter will not mix correctly if you try to use cold egg whites. Trust me. I learned the hard way.
*You can use whatever flavor of coffee creamer mixed with whatever type of chocolate you like. I certainly intend to try cinnabon creamer mixed with white chocolate and Reeses creamer mixed with milk chocolate!
*You could make your own almond flour instead of buying it, but it will take some extra sifting rounds. You'd have to grind raw almonds in a food processor to the point where it's as fine as you can get it before it turns in to almond butter. That's a REALLY fine line. That's how we did it in the class I took, but I certainly prefer buying almond flour since the hard part has already been done.
*Patience is one of the biggest lessons you'll learn while making this cookie! But, it'll be sooooo worth it!
*Macaron recipe was adapted from my class at Baltimore Chef Shop.