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Friday, November 25, 2011

French Chocolate Macaroons

After spending some time in Paris, France this past April, I've been dying to make french macaroons. They are so light and delicious and I love a new challenge! I always have to work some chocolate into my baking one way or another, so my best bet was chocolate macaroons. For a first timer, I must say that I think I did pretty well in my macaroon making. It took a bit of time, considering I wasn't a pro at it, but overall, I will definitely make these again.


FRENCH CHOCOLATE MACAROONS
Macaroons:
1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Filling:1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
 Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
To make the macaroons: Pulse the almonds with 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar in a food processor until finely ground. Add the cocoa powder and the remaining 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar and pulse until well blended.
Beat the egg whites with the salt with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl just until the whites form soft peaks when the beaters are lifted. Add the granulated sugar and beat just until the whites form stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the almond mixture.
Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe out 1-inch-diameter mounds about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the tops are cracked and appear dry but the macaroons are still slightly soft to the touch.
Transfer the cookies, still on the parchment paper, to barely dampened kitchen towels and let cool for 5 minutes. Carefully peel the paper off the macaroons and transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
To make the filling: Bring the cream just to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder. Add the chocolate and butter and whisk until smooth. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes, or until the filling is firm enough to hold its shape when spread.
If desired, transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe the filling, or spread it with a knife, generously on the flat side of half of the macaroons. Top with the remaining macaroons, flat-side down, pressing together gently to form sandwiches.

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