I found this book on sale and then on sale after that at Books A Million. My favorite kind of sale. There were so many delicious sounding cookies and they were just the right size for an afternoon tea. I
Chocolate Macarons with Hazelnut Filling
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup almond flour
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 egg whites, aged and at room temperature...2 days, remember?
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
5 Tablespoons granulated sugar
One site told me to age the eggs to get the best macarons. I did that. I have no idea if they would be as good if you don't, so put the egg whites in a small bowl, cover them with a paper towel and come back tomorrow.
Get the egg whites out of the fridge. Set them on the counter, fix yourself a cup of tea and read the paper.
Now you can start.
Place parchment paper on two cookie sheets. Take a piece of computer paper and draw some 1 1/2 inch circles on it. I have some cutters that size, so I drew around them and then placed it under the parchment paper.
Combine the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and almond flour (thank you, Aunt Donna. She found some for me. I couldn't find any here.) in a food processor. Pulse into a fine powder, scraping down the sides occasionally.
Sift the mixture into a medium bowl. There will quite a few large bits. I put these back into the food processor and ground them up some more. Sift again. There were still some large bits. Throw them away.
Beat the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer. I used my Kitchen Aid. Two egg whites were too low to get whipped, so I took the bowl off the mixer and used a whisk, vigorously, to get them started. Then I returned the bowl to the Kitchen Aid and whipped them eggs up!
When the eggs are foamy, add the granulated sugar and the cream of tartar, gradually, at high speed, scraping the sides down occasionally. It takes about 2 or 3 minutes. Stop when the mixture forms stiff, shiny peaks. Do not over mix or the eggs will break down. Remove the bowl from the Kitchen Aid.
Add half of the flour mixture and stir gently with a spatula. Use the least amount of strokes to combine. You don't want to smash all the air bubbles you just put into the egg whites. Add the rest of the flour mixture and combine with gentle strokes. Scoop up from the bottom of the bowl and over the top of the mixture until it is smooth and shiny. About 15 strokes. Do not over mix or under mix.
Attach a 1/2 inch piping tip to a piping bag. I only had a 1/4 inch and it worked OK, but I will be buying a 1/2 inch the next time I can get to a craft store. If you do not have a piping bag, you can use a quart Ziploc Freezer bag and cut so that you have a half inch hole. Fill the bag with the batter.
Pipe circles onto the parchment paper. I used the template on the computer paper and slid it around under the parchment paper to try to get even drops. I assume I will be able to do these without this assistance with practice. I did get them a little too thick, but once again I had the wrong tip and it was my first attempt.
Take a moist finger (water, not spit) and gently touch the Hershey's kiss curlicue on the top of each macaron. This will press it down enough that it will disappear upon baking.
Tap the cookie sheets on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Then let them sit for about 30 minutes to an hour. You want the macarons to harden slightly so they are no longer sticky. This will take longer on humid days. And longer if you used a very wet finger. When it is no longer sticky, they are ready to bake.
Preheat the oven to 325. Bake for 7 minutes and then rotate the pans, top to bottom and front to back. Bake 6 to 8 more minutes for a total of 13 to 15 minutes. If you can lift the macaron off the parchment paper it is done.
Set the cookie sheets on a cooling rack and let them sit until completely cool.
You can make a chocolate hazelnut filling, or you can buy some Nutella and use that. You can find it near the peanut butter in the grocery store. I don't KNOW why no one told you about this before. Now you know! It is delicious and easy and then you have some for bagels in the morning. Very continental.
If you are like me, not every macaron is the same size. So eyeball them and place similar ones next to each other. Take about 1/2 teaspoon of Nutella on a knife and spread on the flat side of a macaron. Top it with one the same size by pressing the flat sides gently together. Place them in a plastic container and put them in the fridge overnight. Yes, you can eat the lumpy, weird ones, but don't overdo it. They will be better tomorrow. Two day project, remember?
NOW you have to take them out and let them come to room temperature. The filling will have made the crispy macaron soft and gooey. The outside will still give a nice crunch and then the gooey goodness of the Nutella will come through. Seriously. You have to try these.
I want to try some other flavors, but these were so delicious that I am afraid to. How can you top them? Ooooh! I just found a recipe for salted caramel macarons. That's next!