Sunday, February 23, 2014

Valentine's Day Munchies: The Classic Macaron

Well here I am again posting another previous recipe of mine, but this time a classic macaron shell in case green tea isn't your cup of...tea. (Haha get it? No? Okay.)

Classic Macaron
with Chocolate, Nutella Ganache

The Classic Macaron Shell:
  • 1 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour/meal
  • 3 room temp egg whites
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
Sift the confectioner’s sugar and almond flour into a large bowl and mix the sifted dry ingredients until combined.
Make sure the eggs are at room temperature before whipping them. Whip your egg whites at high speed and add the sugar approx. a fourth(1/4) at a time when the egg whites become white and foamy. Continue adding that amount of sugar as the eggs continue to thicken to ensure that all of the sugar is dissolved into the eggs. Whip the eggs until stiff peaks form. They shouldn’t really budge when your mixer is lifted and should maintain it’s shape and volume.
To combine the dry ingredients with the meringue, first pour half of the dry mixture into the meringue and begin gently folding with a rubber spatula. When combined, add the other half and continue. This portion of the process is the most crucial to getting a nice looking macaron. You do not want to over mix, nor do you want to under mix. You have the proper consistency when the batter ribbons off your spatula (almost like flowing lava).
Scoop your batter into a piping bag with about a 1/2 in tip or a Ziploc bag with the corner cut to that diameter. Pipe about 1-1 1/2 in circles onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. (To achieve nicer looking circles, I traced circles on the back of my parchment paper as stencils.)
When you are finished piping onto your baking sheet, bang it on your counter top…HARD. You want to do this a few times while rotating your pan. This is what gets the air bubbles out of the batter. 
Another very important step is to now let your piped macarons sit out for at least 15 minutes - 2 hours so they can begin to form their outer shell. (I let these sit out for 15-20 minutes.) At this time, preheat your oven to 300 degrees. When you put your macarons into the oven, only bake one pan at a time to ensure that the heat is evenly distributed. Bake for 20-25 minutes. When they are ready, allow them to completely cool before removing them from the pan.
While your macarons are sitting out, take this time to make this to-die-for ganache! You will need:
  • 2 oz dark or milk chocolate
  • 3 tbsp Nutella
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Coarsely chop the chocolate into chunks and place them in a heat proof bowl over a small pot of a little water and set it to low/med and allow it to simmer. The bowl should not need to touch the water, that’s how little needs to be in the pot. This is called a double boiler. Stir the chocolate occasionally and allow it to melt. Add the Nutella and mix until warmed and combined with the chocolate.
While melting the Chocolate and Nutella together, in another saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream until hot. It doesn’t need to boil. 
Pour the hot whipping cream into the bowl of melted chocolate and Nutella and stir until well combined. Take it off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Then put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow it to thicken some more. When you take it out, you can pipe it on your cooled macaron shells as is, or continue to whip it using an electric mixer on high. This will make it fluffier and lighten the color.

Seriously, who doesn't like Nutella?!

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