Monday, January 24, 2011

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Dark Chocolate Ganache

After reading through numerous step by step tutorials on baking macarons, I finally got enough courage to tackle the infamous high maintenance macarons.  They weren't difficult to make at all.  They just required a few extra steps even before getting started: making vanilla sugar a week in advance, aging the egg whites for 24-48 hours, and definitely, owning a scale to weigh all the ingredients.

I couldn't believe I actually had macarons with feet!  A few things I learned along the way: I should've sifted the ground almonds as I still had a few chunks after pulsing for a few minutes and I need a better handle on using the piping bag as I piped a few HUGE macarons.

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Dark Chocolate Ganache
Adapted from Helen Dujardin (Tartlette)'s Demystifying Macarons article in Desserts Magazine

90 - 100 grams of egg whites (3 eggs)
50 grams granulated sugar stored for 1-2 weeks with a split vanilla bean
200 grams powdered sugar
110 grams blanched slivered almonds

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue.

Combine the almonds and the powdered sugar in a food processor and give them a quick pulse if you use already ground almonds.  It will break the powdered sugar lumps and combine your almonds with it evenly.  If you use whole almonds, pulse thoroughly for a minute or so.

Add them to the meringue and start to give quick strokes at first to break down the mass and slow down.  The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes.  Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flatten on its own, you are good to go.  If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple more folds.

Fill as pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto silpat baking mats.

Preheat the oven to 300F degrees.  Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to harden their shells a bit and bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on their size.  Let them cool completely before filling.

Pipe or spoon some of the ganache on one shell and sandwich with another one.

Dark Chocolate Ganache
4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup of heavy cream
In a heavy saucepan, set over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a boil.

Remove from the stove and add the chocolate to it.  Let stand 2 minutes and then stir until fully combined.

Let cool until firm enough to put in a small piping bag.

1 comment:

  1. I've been afraid to try macarons, but now that I have a stand mixer I think it's about time. These look perfect - I love vanilla bean anything, and I'm not big on the exotic (weird) flavors of macarons I've seen at stores. Thanks for the lovely step-by-step pics!


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