Macarons are one of those sweet confections many are terrified to tackle. Something about whipping meringue and making sure you get the perfect feet sends home bakers into a panic. I am here to tell you... it's not that tricky I assure you.
You see I am an impatient baker. Recipes that require a lot of patience, time, and many many steps I tend to pass by. I like easy. So if I can make French macarons... you can do it!
Last summer, I spent a couple weeks perfecting methods and recipes. I read countless blog posts on how to make the perfect French macarons. I was all hyped up and scared to attempt. Then I did it. First batch... I made my own almond flour.... they did not come out as great as I hoped. But not horrible. Second batch nailed it... I used some Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour and it worked like a charm. Third, fourth, fifth batches.... all just fine. All with the perfect little feet, perfect crackly top and a chewy center.
I have my method and base recipe nailed I can now bake them in my sleep.
This month for our Chocolate Party, I figured I would attempt chocolate macarons, not all that different from what I spent my summer baking but just enough different I needed to work on perfecting them.
First batch came out fine, however the second, cracked down the centers. The difference between the batches? I baked the second on a slightly lower rack in my oven.... I raised the rack and rotated the cookie sheets on my third batch and they were perfect.
One bit of advice to first time macaron bakers, don't get frustrated... it's not that hard, and if they do not come out perfect the first time who cares! You can still eat them right? Everyone's oven runs a bit differently and every home has a different humidity level which can all effect the results of almost any baked treat. A little trial and error and you will get it I promise!
For my chocolate macarons I knew I had to use some coconut (this months Chocolate Party assignment) I just had to make my favorite frosting. Coconut pecan which is normally used on top of German chocolate cake. What a perfect filling for my macs!
German Chocolate Macarons
(Recipe adapted from bon appetit)
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup almond flour
3 tbs of cocoa powder
The egg whites from 3 large eggs (1/3 cup+ 3tbs)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
FOR THE FILLING:
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup of chopped pecans
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 tsp salt
In your electric mixer mix the egg whites until foamy. Slowly pour in the granulated sugar. Whip on high until stiff peaks form.
In a large bowl sift together almond flour, coco, and confectioners sugar.
Using a rubber spatula carefully fold egg whites with your dry ingredients.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. Transfer cookie mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a 1m tip or larger. Pipe 1 1/2 inch circles onto your cookie sheets spacing them approximately 2 inches apart. Recipe should yield about 24 cookies. After you have finished piping the cookies out using a wet finger carefully smooth any bumps on the top out. Then give the cookie sheets a good whack on the counter. This removes any air bubbles that might have formed.
Allow cookies to sit out on your counter for about an hour. Or until the tops have started to dry.
Bake at 325 on the center rack of your oven. The cookies are done when they have risen and formed a wider layer around the bottom (also called the feet) and they are dry and hard to the touch. Should take about 15 minutes.
Allow cookies to cool at room temperature and remove from cookie sheets.
TO PREPARE YOUR FILLING:
In a medium sauce pan whisk egg and condensed milk together. Over medium low heat whisk constantly until the mixture has come to a boil. Mix in coconut and pecans. Remove from heat and refrigerate until cold.
Spoon filling onto one cookie and top with a second creating a sandwich.
Store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I find they are best the next day. But also quite yummy if eaten right away!