What feels like way back when, before I started working full time, I was baking macarons from home and selling them to a little cafe/champagne bar. I would bake them every week, typically making about three different flavours, which always included salted caramel, and then varied through from rice pudding to lemon tart depending on my mood and what was selling well. These chocolate hazelnut ones were probably my personal favourites! Rachael also picked them out from all the posts on my blog as something she’d like featured, so I thought I’d share them with you today. My advice to you when making macarons is not to over-complicate it. Don’t read horror stories. Don’t scare yourself about whether or not your macarons will grow feet. Just follow the steps, and you should be fine! Then you’ll have your own, delicious, chewy macarons to enjoy at home. x
TO MAKE THE MACARON SHELLS
Line 4 - 6 trays with baking paper. Sift the almond meal, icing sugar and cocoa into a large bowl and mix well.
Pour 110g egg whites, the coffee and vanilla over the dry ingredients. Do not mix. Set aside. Make an Italian meringue. Put the remaining 110g egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Do not turn on.
Put the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir. Place over a medium heat and fit with a candy thermometer.
Watch the sugar as it boils. When the mixture reaches about 110 C, turn the egg whites onto a high speed. Whip these until they form very soft peaks. The sugar should be 115 C at this stage.
When the sugar reaches 115 C, turn off the heat. While the egg whites are still beating on high, pour the sugar syrup, very slowly, into the eggs. Aim for a point in between the side of the bowl and the moving whisk. Continue to beat until the mixture cools (feel it through the base of the bowl).
Fold the Italian meringue into the almond meal mixture in three batches, until well incorporated and smooth. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with medium round nozzle and pipe small 1 inch rounds of mixture onto the lined trays, allowing a little room for spreading. Tap each tray onto the bench a few times, HARD, to remove air bubbles. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
Set the trays of macarons aside for about 30 minutes so they can develop a skin. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F).
Bake the macarons for 11 - 12 minutes, opening the door at the 8 minute mark and the 10 minute mark, in order to let out any steam. If they grow and develop little “feet”, they have worked. They are ready when you can gently lift one off the tray without leaving its foot behind. Set the macarons aside to cool completely while you make the ganache.
FOR THE CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT GANACHE
Place the finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to the boil and pour it over the chocolate. Set aside for 2 - 3 minutes, then stir, starting from the middle, until the chocolate is melted and incorporated with the cream.
Set aside in the refrigerator until the ganache firms up. Add the butter and Nutella to the ganache and use a stick blender to blitz the mixture until it is light and fluffy (you can also do this in a food processor).
Match the macaron shells up so they have partners of similar size. Upturn one shell of each pair of macarons. Spoon the ganache into a piping bag fitted with a medium round nozzle.
Pipe a little ganache onto the center of each upturned macaron. Sandwich it together with its partner. Keep refrigerated. Makes 50 - 60 macarons. Happy baking!