Sandwich #272—The “Perfect” Macaron

By 300 Sandwiches

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PerfectMacaron2 I did it. I finally overtook E in the 300 macaron bake off. I perfected the art of the macaron.

It wasn’t easy, but after a few patient batches, the pretty cookies above came forth from my oven.

These green tinged ones are stuffed with homemade balsamic chocolate ganache. I used Ladurée’s method to cook them off, and two cookie sheets in, I nailed it.

A few notes: I halved the recipe, because I wanted to do these in small batches in case I kept failing miserably. I would be able to assemble different batches without running out of ingredients. Weighing my ingredients with a small food scale made dividing the recipe a snap.

And now, thanks to the macaron mecca of the world, I bring you sandwich #272.

Macaron shells (from Laudree’s Sucre cookbook)
275g (2 3/4 cups + 1 tbsp) almond flour
250g (2 cups + 1 tbsp) powdered sugar
210g (6 1/2) egg whites, room temperature
210g (1 cup + 1 tbsp) granulated sugar
a few drops of food coloring, your choice of color

Chocolate balsamic ganache:
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons chocolate balsamic vinegar*

*(I bought a bottle for E for Christmas at the Florida Olive Oil Company in Naples, FL. You can find this stuff at gourmet grocers, too

Combine the almond flour and powdered sugar in a bowl, and sift them together either in a food processor or a fine sieve. Work through until the two are combined with no lumps.

In the bottom of a stand mixer, add eggs and beat on medium speed until frothy. Then, slowly add granulated sugar, and turn mixer up to medium high, until sugar is melted. Mix for about 5 minutes until a stiff shiny meringue forms. At the end add a few drops of food coloring and mix for a few seconds until you get the desired color.

Next, pour a third of the dry flour mixture in into the meringue mix, and fold just until the two are combined. Repeat until all of the powder mix and meringue are combined. NOT TOO MUCH—just until your colored batter is combined with the powder. Then stop the batter into a piping bag with a 1/2 inch pastry tip (baking hack: we used a squeeze bottle like you’d use for ketchup. Easy to handle and about the same size tip. Got the same beautiful results).

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, pipe the batter into 1-inch diameter circles in uniform rows. Then, tap the baking sheet onto a hard surface a few times, to pop out air bubbles and help the batter settle into shape. Let sit for at least 20 minutes. Pop into oven, and bake for about 15 minutes, until cookies rise and a crunchy foot develops around the edges. Remove, and let cool completely before removing from sheet.

While cookies cool, make ganache: place chocolate chips and balsamic into medium heat safe bowl. Pour 1 cup of heavy cream into small sauce pan and bring to simmer. Then, pour cream over chocolate chips , and let stand in bowl for about 5 minutes until chocolate melts. Stir until smooth, and let cool.

When ganache has firmed up and cookies have cooled completely, smooth a bit of ganache onto the bottoms of one macaron, and top with another. Repeat with the rest of macarons. Store sandwiches in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight. They’re best once they’ve settled overnight, giving the filling flavor time to permeate through the cookie.

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