Friday, December 5, 2008

Chocolate Earl Grey Macarons

Here's one recipe from

- 3 oz almond flour (2/3 cup) or blanched sliced almonds (3/4 cup) or slivered almonds (2/3 cup)
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature 30 minutes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon Earl Grey tea (from 1 tea bag)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (60 to 64% cacao if marked), finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
A food processor with a sharp blade (optional); an electric coffee/spice grinder; a large pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch plain tip or a qt-size sealable bag with a corner snipped off, plus another sealable bag for ganache; an offset spatula

Make macaron batter:
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Grind almond flour or almonds with confectioners sugar and cocoa powder in food processor until powdery, 30 seconds for almond flour, about 2 minutes for almonds. (If using grinder, grind in small batches.) Sift through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl (if not fine enough for almost all of nuts to go through sieve, regrind). Sift again into a large bowl. Beat egg whites with salt in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Beat in granulated sugar, a little at a time. Increase speed to high and beat until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks, about 1 minute. Fold meringue into almond mixture with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. (Meringue will deflate and batter will be loose.) Grind tea to a fine powder in grinder.

Pipe and bake macarons:
Put small dabs of batter under corners of parchment to secure to baking sheets. Spoon half of batter into pastry bag. Holding bag vertically just above baking sheet, pipe 1 1/2-inch-wide mounds of batter about 1 inch apart, stopping pressure and flicking tip sideways to avoid peaks (tamp down any peaks with a wet finger). Refill pastry bag and repeat. Sprinkle tops with about 1/4 tsp tea powder (reserve remainder). Let macarons stand, uncovered, at room temperature until a light crust forms, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Bake macarons, switching position of sheets halfway through, until crisp and interior does not give easily when a macaron is gently pressed, 22 to 28 minutes total. Cool completely on baking sheets (for residual heat to harden bottoms) on racks, about 30 minutes. Loosen macarons from parchment with offset spatula (they will be fragile). Meanwhile, bring cream and remaining 3/4 tsp tea powder to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate and butter until smooth. Chill, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to sealable bag and snip off corner.

Assemble cookies:
Pipe about 1/2 tsp ganache onto flat side of half of macarons, then sandwich with remaining macarons. (There will be ganache left over.) Layer macarons between sheets of parchment in an airtight container and let stand at room temperature at least 2 hours to soften before eating.

Cooks’ note:
Filled macarons can be kept in an airtight container wrapped in plastic wrap, chilled 2 days or frozen 1 month. Bring to room temperature in wrapped container (to avoid condensation), about 1 hour if chilled or 2 hours if frozen.

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