Hot Chocolate French Macarons

My sister just returned from a trip to Paris, and because I told her she’d regret it until her dying day if she didn’t, she visited the famous Angelina of Paris and tried the hot chocolate.  Yes.  It really is the best hot chocolate in the world.  Her photos, naturally, made me start dreaming of that perfect hot chocolate bliss again, and since it IS Paris, there is naturally no better vehicle to dream of my Angelina hot chocolate obsession than through a French macaron.  So here are some hot chocolate French Macarons for you . . . and if you ever do get to Paris, do yourself a favor and try the hot chocolate at Angelina.  You can thank me later.

What are we waiting for?  Let’s do this!

Hot Chocolate French Macarons

Macaron Ingredients:

100 g. egg whites

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

50 g. white sugar

200 g. powdered sugar

105 g. almond flour

5 g. cocoa powder

Brown and White Food Coloring Gel, optional

Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling:

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Marshmallow creme, for the centers

Directions:

Whip room temperature egg whites, cream of tartar, and white sugar with the whisk attachment of your stand mixer until the whites reach stiff peak stage.  Meanwhile, pulse your almond flour, cocoa, and powdered sugar in a food processor until the mixture is well combined.  Sift your almond flour/powdered sugar through a sieve and throw away the pieces that are too large to pass through the sieve.  When the whites have whipped into stiff peaks, fold the almond/sugar mixture into the whites gradually and carefully until they reach proper “macaronage.”  Place 2-3 drops of gel food coloring into the batter and swirl gently before carefully pouring into a piping bag.  Pipe meringue circles onto a silpat using a template, if desired, and slam the cookie sheets several times on the counter to dislodge air bubbles.  Allow circles to dry for 20 minutes before baking at 300 degrees for 20 minutes, one sheet at a time, in the center of the oven (move oven racks, if necessary).  Do not open the oven until the 20 minutes are up, and use an oven thermometer for best results.  When your macarons are done they should feel “firm on their feet.”  If the macaron shells are soft or crack when gently touched, bake for 2 more minutes and test again until they are firm on their feet.  After baking, remove entire silpat to cooling rack and allow shells to cool, completely, before removing them from the silpat.

To make ganache filling, warm cream over low heat until it has small bubbles along the sides (but has not boiled).  Stir in chocolate chips just until melted.  You can also use the microwave, stirring after each 30 second heat.  It should take roughly 1.5 minutes for the chips to be warm enough to melt when stirred.  Allow warm ganache to chill in the refrigerator until it reaches the consistency of caramel sauce.  Whip with the whisk attachment of your mixer until the ganache is fluffy and then chill again until it reaches a pipeable consistency.  Fill cooled shells with circles of whipped ganache, with a marshmallow creme filling.  Chill finished macarons in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight.  Filled shells are perfect after 24 hours of curing but may be stored several days in the refrigerator or up to a month in the freezer.

Now, in pictures 🙂

 

Ode to a Macaron:

Ahhhh lovely macaron, love of my life.

You challenge me– anger me– Ah! It is constant strife!

But though you are decidedly difficult, too . . .

I will always have nothing but pure love for you.

The end. haha.

My love affair with the devilishly difficult French Macaron is a thread that runs lovingly all through my blog.  I have talked about the difference between French and Italian meringue methods. I have talked about swirling the macaron batter, Tiffany & Co. macarons, French Macaron troubleshooting, and even how to make Macaron bath bombs.  Each time I see the sweet little demon shells puff their little chests out with pride in the oven, I swell with pride of my own.  When I cut into one and it is fluffy and full instead of having the dreaded hollows, I rejoice.  The macaron magic never gets old.

But it all starts with proper meringue.  Meringue is a deceptively finicky beast.  You cannot have even one speck of oil in your mixing bowl, or your egg whites will just froth mischievously, never achieving the foamy, pillowy white texture that you need.  Your meringue is done when it is thick, beautiful, and glossy . . . and holds that delicious, perfectly stiff peak.  That never gets old either– seeing teeny Mount Meringue form in the bowl when you pull the whisk out.

Never.  Gets.  Old.

Making flavored macaron shells is an interesting concept.  Mostly, macarons take their flavor from the filling– which is why they are best after resting for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator.  The crisp shells actually absorb some of the filling (and flavor), creating one perfect, married, nougat-consistency bite.  So usually flavoring the shells is not really needed.  But you can add a little bit of flavor if you like (just be careful not to add too much or it will mess your ratios up and ruin the shells).  Today we are adding 5 g. of cocoa powder (and I have removed 5 g. of almond flour from my regular recipe to compensate).  Whirl your cocoa powder in the food processor with your powdered sugar and almond flour.  It won’t be “chocolate colored” yet, but that’s ok.  I will get to that in a minute.  The cocoa gives the shells a nice, chocolate essence, which goes perfectly with the deeeeelicious hot chocolate and marshmallow filling.

But of course you already knew that, which is why you’re adding the cocoa as we speak. You genius, you.

Coloring macarons is another thing that you don’t want to go overboard on.  Adding too much color can make the recipe too liquidy, which in turn (you guessed it) ruins your macaron shells.  It’s best to use gel or powdered colors rather than liquid color drops.  The more concentrated color allows you to get a nice, bright hue without adding lots of extra liquid.  Don’t give these macarons anything extra to drink. They can’t handle it.  Be their sponsor.  Just say no.

I always add some white food gel to white macarons, as well.  WHITE FOOD COLORING????  WHATTTTTTT????  Yes.  It really is true.

If you don’t do this then they won’t be a real white– more like . . . well, more like almond color, because that’s exactly what they are.  Go ahead and add some brown food coloring to your chocolate macarons, while you’re at it . . . because you’re feeling all generous doling out the food coloring.  I know you think that adding the cocoa will be enough, but there is so little in there that the shells will almost be a tan if you don’t add some food coloring.  So adddddddd it and bake.

Ahhhhhh aren’t those babies lovely?

It’s hard to pick a favorite part of macaron making– because each part is so tricky that you feel like a MACARON GODDESS when you get each step right.  But one of my favorite parts is definitely matching up and filling the shells.  Even if you use a piping template your shells will not be precisely the same size.  This means that whenever you buy a macaron, someone out there at some point matched the shells, by hand . . . like a delicious, confectionery form of “Memory,” and made sure that the sides looked similar.  For YOU.  Adorable, isn’t it?

Match up your shells and then lay them out on a silpat, waiting for their fillings.

After you have made, chilled, whipped, and slightly re-chilled your ganache, it’s ready for piping.  I used a small star tip to pipe cute little dark chocolate circles around the bottom shell, waiting for my creamy marshmallow filling.  I mean, seriously.  If you have to make circles, why not make them out of dark chocolate.  Makes sense to me.  I piped marshmallow creme into the ganache centers for the “hot chocolate with marshmallows” taste.  🙂  I can’t be the only person who adds extra marshmallows to my hot chocolate.  Since you are a genius, I’m assuming that you add extra marshmallow, too.

Carefully twist your top shell onto the bottom, filled shell.  Squish them together ever so slightly so that the chocolate seals in the marshmallow filling.  Don’t squish too hard or the filling will ooze out. Once these babies sit overnight in the refrigerator the chocolate will harden, and then you won’t have to worry about them being as messy as they are right now when the ganache is soft.  I always think that the star tip gives the sides an almost decorative flower feel.  I love it.

Hot Chocolate French Macarons

Cover the finished macarons with plastic wrap and let them, you know . . . chill . . . in the fridge.  “Just chillin’ . . .”

Hot Chocolate French Macarons

After 24 hours of rest, like any other beautiful Parisian lady, these beauties will be ready to go.  You won’t believe the difference– the shells will have soaked up the chocolate and marshmallow bliss, and the perfect marriage between the two will have you (and them) all soft and squishy inside.  Awwww so sweeeeeeeeeet.

Hot Chocolate French Macarons

You know, I really have said all that I have to say about these little beauties.  But there were so many cute pictures that I’m stalling, here, trying to think of something else to say.

Chocolate.  Chocolate should be enough to say.

Hot Chocolate French Macarons

Chocolate.

Hot Chocolate French Macarons

Chocolate.

Hot Chocolate French Macarons

An amazing bite of, oh, you know . . . CHOCOLATE!!!!

Hot Chocolate French Macarons

You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.

 

 


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