Workshop: French Macarons and Chocolate Ganache
Presenter: Shauna Cruz
French Macarons are thin flavorful meringue cookies that are sandwiched together with some type of filling. The meringues are what make the cookies unique. They have a smooth, crisp shell and a moist, chewy interior. They are made with egg whites and lots of ground nuts, which helps them to attain that chewy texture without drying out and becoming too crispy, like a simple meringue cookie made with just egg whites and sugar. The fillings can be almost anything that will stay between the cookies, from jams and preserves to caramel to buttercream frosting. I’ve even used Nutella to finish off a batch of macarons before. Although they can come in any size, macarons are typically small enough to be eaten in one or two bites.
French macarons are typically made in small batches and have a shelf life of up to one week when stored properly (refrigerated or frozen).
Yield: Makes 35 Macarons
For the macarons
1 cup confectioner sugar
¾ cup almond flour
2 ea large egg whites, room temperature
pinch cream of tartar
¼ cup granulated sugar
Suggested fillings for macarons
Chocolate: Chocolate Ganache (see below for recipe)
Coconut: 1 cup Swiss Meringue Buttercream, mixed with 1/3 cup angel-flake coconut.
Peanut: Chocolate ganache, or store-bought dulce de leche, jam or peanut butter
Pistachio: 1 cup swiss meringue buttercream, mixed with 1/3 cup finely chopped pistachios.
Raspberry: ¾ cup seedless raspberry jam
Swiss meringue buttercream
Pulse confectioners sugar and almond four in a food processor until combined. Sift mixture 2x.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk whites with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low, then add superfine sugar. Increase spee to high and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Sift flour mixture over whites, and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny.
Transfer batter to pastry bag fitted with ½” plain round tip, and pipe ¾” rounds 1-inch apart on parchement-lined baking sheets, dragging pastry tip to the side of rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap bottom of each sheet pan on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temp for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase oven temp to 375 degrees, heat for 5 minutes then reduce to 325 degrees.
Let macarons cool on sheets for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. (If macarons stick, spray water underneath parchment on hot sheet. The steam will help release the macarons.
Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon of filling. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.
Yield: 2 cups ganache
1 cup High cocoa chocolate (60-72%–the more cocoa the more chocolate it
1 cup heavy cream
1 T soft butter, cut in small pieces
1 TB corn syrup (corn syrup will make ganache smooth and shiny
Cut chocolate into small pieces for easier melting. Set aside in a metal bowl.
Combine cream and corn syrup in a small heavy-bottomed sauce pan and place over medium-high heat. Bring cream to a boil and take off heat. Immediately pour hot cream over chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, fold cream into chocolate until fully imcorporated. Once the cream and chocolate is fully incorporated stir in butter to create a glossy shine. Place plastic wrap directly onto the ganache and let it cool.