I had the pleasure of meeting Mindy Cone from Creative Juice in New York recently at a Better Homes and Gardens event (more about that this week!) and hearing about her new book, Gourmet French Macarons. Where she convinced me they really aren’t that hard to make.
There are undoubtably many other books on this subject, but after reading this one, I can honestly say this one is really special! From the tips and tricks she presents to help you get your tiny pastries perfect to the engaging photos (shot by Mindy herself) and truly unique ideas presented with such great quality, i can whole heartedly say that this cookbook needs to be on your shelf! And yes with this book at your side, you CAN make macarons yourself!
I think everyone’s seen the typical french macaron – it looks just like a little round sandwich. Good, but now a predictable staple on the dessert table. Mindy has breathed some new life into this cookie by imagining them into over 75 different shapes and designs that will fit any occasion and add a bit of personality to your desserts. How cute are these Frankenstein macarons?? There is even an entire CD of templates included with the book to help you get all the forms absolutely correct while you’re baking.
All so pretty!
Okay, I’m totally jealous of those perfect macarons that all stacked up easily with perfectly squished filling. These little cookies made by Mindy are one of the base recipes for macarons in her book, that she was nice enough to share with everyone here. Now, this is a truncated teaser version of the recipe…if you read her book, she provides so many tips on getting these right the first time, they’ll feel downright easy to make. I totally admit to being very intimidated by macarons for many years, but after making them with her help I can’t wait to try out another batch. So I can avoid the very things she told me not to do (or do) because she meant it when she took the time to write all the steps down. You can find the template for the 1.5 inch circles on her website here.
As I said, I did try out Mindy’s recipe. It was first time making macarons ever.
I think I either whipped the egg whites too much or piped them on to the parchment to thick…but other than that, they were really absolutely fantastic. There was a nice thin crispy shell and soft gooey middle. Yum! Another try and I’m sure they’ll be 100% right. With that, on to the recipe.
Chocolate French Macarons
- 100g of egg whites aged at room temperature
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- 35g of superfine sugar
- 110g of almond flour
- 200g of powdered sugar
- 10g cocoa powder
1. Measure out all ingredients using a gram scale
As an aside, when you are measuring out your egg whites, drop your egg whites into a small bowl one at a time and transfer each to a larger bowl after you finish separating them.
I was being lazy this day and did all my egg whites into the same bowl. We ended up having fritattas with all the ruined egg whites that night!
2. Prepare the baking sheets by lining them with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Slide a printed 1 ½ inch template sheet underneath and set aside. Prepare piping bag to be filled and set aside.
3. Sift powdered sugar, almond mixture, and cocoa powder together two or three times through a sieve and set aside.
4. Place the egg whites in a large bowl or in stand mixer with wire whisk attachment. Whisk on low until egg whites become foamy. Add the pinch of cream of tartar. Continue to whisk until soft peaks form. Slowly add in the superfine sugar. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, scrape down the sides with a spatula.
5. Turn your mixer on medium-high and continue to whisk until you reach a stiff meringue. If adding liquid or gel food dye, do so toward the end of whisking.
6. Sift 1/3 of the almond flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder mixture through the sieve and into the meringue. Fold the dry mixture into the meringue. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Once all of the dry ingredients are incorporated, the batter will be thick and have a dull shine. Continue to fold. As you do so, the batter will loosen. Stop folding when the batter has a glossy sheen, a “lava-like” consistency, and falls in a ribbon like manner off the spatula.
7. Transfer the batter into a large pastry bag fitted with a round tip and pipe 1½ inch rounds on the parchment paper following the template.
8. When all of the rounds are piped on the parchment, rap the sheet pans evenly on work surface a few times. Remove templates from below your parchment paper carefully. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 20-40 minutes.
9. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake one sheet at a time for 12 minutes rotating the pan half way through.
10. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
11. Match up similar size shells into pairs and sandwich with filling.
MAKES: About 4 dozen 1.5 in shells (two dozen sandwiched macaron cookies)
Chocolate Ganache Filling
- 100 g (3.5 oz) chocolate*
- 1½ Tbsp. heavy cream
Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Boil cream and pour over chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate has melted and texture is smooth** When warm, pipe onto macaron shells.
*I prefer to use the mini chocolate chips when possible to speed up the process.
** If the cream is not able to melt all the chocolate, place bowl in microwave. Heat for 20 seconds on low power. Remove and stir. Repeat until chocolate is fully melted.
You can learn more about Mindy and her book by visiting her at:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/getcreativejuice
- Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/mindy_cone/
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/mindy_creativejuice
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Creative_Juice1
- Blog: http://www.getcreativejuice.com/