To me, macaroons means the delicious sunken sand-coloured hemispheres with a slight chew that we got at Pesach (/ Passover) that were pipped to the post for my favourite festival treat by cinnamon balls.
These delicious, ganache-filled sandwiches, which have recently become the new cupcake (though I’m sure something else has in turn become the new them) have always been “macarons”.
In fact, of course, the two are the same – and the latter feature two of the former sandwiched around whatever flavoured filling (of the right consistency) you might like to pair with the shells. In spite of the reputation, I don’t think these are super-hard to get right. Have a go!
- 6 large egg whites
- 250 grams ground almonds
- 250 grams icing sugar
- 50 grams cocoa
- 250 grams caster sugar
- 250 grams super-dark chocolate
- 300 ml double cream
- 50 grams butter (salted will add flavour)
- Whisk (use the electric!) the egg whites, along with half the caster sugar at a medium speed for a couple of minutes, then even faster for a bit. Once the mixture starts to firm, add the rest of the sugar, and keep beating to stiff peaks. The stiffer it is, the more room you have to 'lose air' as you fold this is, so take your time. It should look glossy and brilliant white.
- Mix the ground almonds, icing sugar and cocoa powder, and fold into the egg whites with a large spoon, using a figure of eight action, until completely incorporated.
- With a piping bag, pipe large-marble-sized blobs onto baking paper, leaving space for these to flatten themselves. You'll probably need several batches, so have a large table or surface to lay out a number of lots ready to bake.
- Important: leave the blobs to sit for 25 minutes, until slightly drier.
- Bake on a baking tray for 12 minutes at 165 degrees C. Be brave about believing that they are done at this point.
- After cooling for ten minutes, the shells should be easy to lift and set aside.
- For the ganache, melt the chocolate in a bain marie (a bowl sat atop a pan of boiling water), add the cream and stir quickly to mix in. Add the butter, and stir this in too. Allow to cool until thick enough to spoon, but not set.
- Press the tip of your thumb into the flat side of a shell to make extra space for ganache, and generously add ganache, pressing another (intact) shell on top. Twisting may help to spread the filling evenly.
- Refridgerate overnight before serving (oh, go on, you can have one!) and store up to a week (genuinely) in the fridge in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature before eating.