a baker's dozen ~ french chocolate macarons

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

You know when you're in the car, driving along, minding your own business, and all of a sudden, you feel the need to dance.

A certain song comes on the radio, maybe it's Janet Jackson, maybe it's not, either way it's a great song and you feel overcome with happiness and emotion and you need to jam it out.

You know this has happened to you, don't pretend like it hasn't.
At this point, you've doing the slight head wiggle, maybe a minor sing-along, but then, there's that part, you know the part. Where the beat picks up and the chorus is about to come on and then it just takes over you. The next thing you know, the window is down, you're belting out the chorus at your highest possible volume, completely off-key and you have the one arm doing some strange movement you've never seen before.

You are jamming. Straight up one-person dance party.

People in other cars are staring, but you don't care. You are in the ZONE.

Then when the song ends, you feel like you need more, more dance-y, fun songs to keep going. Then you realize it's a Tuesday and you're driving home in your sweaty gym clothes and you are embarrassing.

You have to make cookies to help yourself recover from this dance party.

Cookies you've been obsessed with since you came back from France. Small, meringue cookies made with almonds and filled with chocolate.

Macarons were not the easiest thing I've made, bringing the egg whites to room temperature kind of weirded me out a bit, I didn't think I got the almonds fine enough, and the finished product looked a little off. But they tasted delicious. Chewy and crispy. Very good. Definitely making these again and hopefully this time they will look a little nicer.

French Chocolate Macarons
[ from David Lebovitz ]

Recipe calls for powdered almonds but I just placed some blanched, slivered almonds in the food processor until they were ground into a fine meal.

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 powdered almonds
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 tablespoons white sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
4 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. Prepare a pastry bag with a plain tip, or alternatively just use the coupler.

Place the powdered almonds and powdered sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until no lumps remain. Store bought almond meal is never fine enough.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat egg white until they begin to rise and hold their shape. Slowly add in the white sugar until stiff peaks are formed. Egg whites will look very firm and very stiff.

In 2 batches, carefully fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites with a rubber spatula. Once the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg whites, stop stirring and spoon mixture into prepared pastry bag.

Pipe 1-inch dollops onto prepared baking sheets, about 1-inch in between each. Tap the baking sheet firmly on the counter a few times to flatten the cookies.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, about until firm. Let cool completely before removing from the baking sheet.

To make filling, place cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until milk begins to boil around the edges. Remove from heat and add chocolate and let sit for minute. Stir until no lumps remain and is smooth and glossy. Add butter and stir until butter is completely melted. Let sit until it has come to room temperature.

Using an offset spatula, spread a good glob of the filling on each cookie and sandwich them together in pairs.
Let sit for at least 24 hours before serving. This will give you just enough time to have another solo dance party.

Will keep in an airtight container for 5 days.