Chocolate Macarons

Serves 12

  • Preparation time: 15 minutes (plus 1-4 hours standing time)
    Cooking time: 12 minutes
    Makes: 12

    1 cup pure icing sugar
    2/3 cup almond meal
    2 tablespoons cocoa
    2 large egg whites, at room temperature (see tip)
    ¼ cup caster sugar
    ganache
    75g good quality dark cooking chocolate, chopped
    2 tablespoons thickened cream

1. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper. Place icing sugar, almond meal and cocoa in a food processor and process for 2 minutes. Sift icing sugar mixture into a large mixing bowl 3 times - discard any larger pieces left in the sieve after each sifting.
2. Beat egg whites and caster sugar with an electric mixer until thick and glossy. The mixture should make firm peaks. Add the egg mixture to icing sugar mixture, mixing well with a plastic spatula. The mixture should slide freely when pushed against the side of the bowl.
3. Spoon mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain round nozzle. Pipe rounds 3cm in diameter onto prepared trays; 3cm apart. Tap trays firmly on bench several times to knock out air bubbles. If the macarons have peaks, gently flatten with a lightly wetted finger. Set macarons aside, uncovered, for 1-4 hours, or until a skin forms (see tip). When you can lightly touch the macarons and they do not feel sticky they are ready to bake.
4. Preheat oven to 130oC. Bake macarons for 20 minutes or until firm, changing tray positions halfway through cooking time. Cool on trays.
5. Place chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the water does not touch the bowl). Stir occasionally until smooth. Remove bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes or until thick, but still spreadable. Place ½ teaspoon ganache on flat sides of half the macarons. Sandwich with remaining macarons.

Tips:

- Older eggs work best for macarons as they are less elastic and contain less water.
- The piped macarons need to stand until a skin forms. This will help achieve a smooth shape during baking. The standing time is dependant on atmospheric conditions. The more humid the weather, the longer the standing time.
- Store macarons in an airtight container for up to 2 days.