Chocolate French Macarons

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French Macarons are the classiest, prettiest, daintiest cookie on the planet. That being said, they are also the most finicky cookies I have ever made… Sometimes I feel, is there such thing as a perfect macaron?!

I’ve been making macs since 2014, but I only bake them on occasion because they can be so infuriating sometimes! Every time I make them it seems to be a hit or miss.

Macarons can be lopsided, brown on the bottom, hollow, brown on the top, be too lumpy, be too flat, have cracked tops, have wrinkled tops, feet that are too tall, no feet at all-those are just a few things that can go wrong with macarons!

If those things didn’t deter you from baking French Macarons, keep reading to find solutions!

What can cause these issues? Macarons can show issues like these if they are uncooked or overcooked,  if the egg whites are under or over beaten, if there is too much humidity in the air, if the oven temperature is too high or too low, or if the batter (macronage) is over or under beaten.

I decided to set out on a mission to bake the perfect (or almost perfect) french macaron. I made a few batches and did some research and I think I have struck gold!

The thing with baking perfect macarons is that every step has to be intentional. It’s not like baking chocolate chip cookies. I know you’re technically supposed to separate the wet and dry ingredients, but I use one bowl instead and the chocolate chip cookies come out delicious.

No short cuts with macarons I am afraid! Make sure when you are making macarons, it sounds silly but you need to be focused. So don’t try to “whip them up real quick” if you are wanting a quick dessert or need to make a last-minute dessert for your kid’s teachers. Turn the TV off, don’t be talking on the phone, FOCUS!

Sift the almond flour and the powder sugar together before putting them in the food processor. Discard the almond bits and powdery lumps. Fight the urge to push the little bits through the sifter.

Next, use your food processor to pulse the combined almond flour and powder sugar. A couple of pulses will be just fine.

Pour the dry mixture back into the sifter and sift for the last time. Again, discard the little almond bits.

Separate your egg whites and leave them uncovered for two hours. This “ages” them to reach room temperature. They have to dry so don’t skip this step! Also, do not use liquid egg whites from a carton.

Add cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites. Beat on high speed just until foamy (no longer that yellow translucent look), then slowly add in granulated sugar. When the mixture reaches soft peaks, add vanilla and gel food coloring until you get stiff peaks. You should be able to turn the bowl completely upside down where the egg whites won’t fall out of the bowl.

Add in cocoa powder to almond flour and powdered sugar mixture. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet, about 1/3 of the dry mixture at a time.

Stir heartily until everything is incorporated and when you pull your spatula up and let the batter drop back into the bowl, it slowly blends back into the rest of the batter.

Pour the macaron batter into the decorator bag and pipe circles on the silicone mat (or parchment paper) that is on the air-insulated cookie sheet. I can’t emphasize it enough, I strongly recommend using a silicone mat that is meant for macarons because they will have circle guides, be evenly spaced and your macs will be perfectly round and uniform! When I first started making macarons, I would hand trace circles on parchment paper…that got really cumbersome.

Tap the baking sheet a few times on a table to release air bubbles (this prevents the tops from cracking). I also go in with a scriber needle (a toothpick works too) and gently remove air bubbles. Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. I mistakenly put macarons in the oven too soon because they passed the touch test. The touch test is when the unbaked macarons form an outer skin and your finger doesn’t get cookie batter on it when gently touched.

Place in oven at 300 degrees F and bake for 22 minutes.

Let the cookies cool completely before piping in the ganache.

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