Espresso Macarons


Having a bit of a sweet tooth means that I often find myself taking unintended trips down the dessert aisle at my local supermarket. One observation is the increasing number of “healthy” and “wholesome” desserts, but that is not a surprise given our ever increasing health conscious lifestyles. It’s not all gloom and doom for us sugar tooth fairies though!  Luckily, I have noticed one sugar filled product that is becoming more and more common place. The macaron. The internet is littered with recipes, McDonald’s  now serves them around the world and even Tesco is selling them at a very reasonable price.

I am all for making food more accessible and offering more choice but having sampled a lot of these I do feel that they are often very one dimensional with an overpowering sweetness. Compared to the more traditional boutique patisseries such as Ladurée and Pierre Hermé, these “mass market” macarons lack the depth and character I want to be able to associate with such a luxury.

That is why I want to share this espresso macaron recipe, the bitterness of the coffee beans balances out the inevitable sweetness of the macaron shells. The espresso infused ganache not only adds yet another layer of complexity to the flavour but also extra texture to help the dark chocolate bond the two halves of the macaron together. Don’t just take my word for it, go see for yourself below!

 

The Recipe

Let’s get started! For these delicious macarons we will need:

Ingredients

  • 125ml double cream
  • 200g dark chocolate (85% cocoa)
  • 20 – 30g freshly ground coffee beans
  • 15ml coffee extract
  • 1g brown food colouring
  • 125g ground almond
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 120g egg white
  • 2g cream of tartar (optional)

Macaron is a quite a technical bake so I would recommend measuring out and preparing all your ingredients first. This will allow you to focus on the more difficult parts like the folding and piping.

Three things to prepare:

  1. Coarsely grinding up your coffee beans
  2. Grating your dark chocolate
  3. Sifting your icing sugar and ground almond together

Step 1: Making the ganache filling

Heat up the double cream to just below boiling point before removing from heat.

Slowly mix in your dark chocolate until it is silky smooth. Once combined, sift in your coffee beans and extract to give it that distinct espresso scent.

Transfer into a bowl and cover the surface with cling film and rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours. This will stop a hard “skin” from forming.

Hint: You do not want the cream to boil. High temperatures will cause the ganache to split. Also, save the larger coffee bean chunks for garnish later.

Step 2: Beat it!

Start by beating the egg whites together with the cream of tartar (optional). Slowly add in the caster sugar and brown colouring whilst keep beating until stiff peaks.

Hint: I recommend powdered colouring as macarons are very sensitive to moisture. Alternatively, using colour gels are also fine but try to stay away from the liquid colourings.

Step 3: Fold it!

Sift half of your almond and sugar mixture into the egg whites before gentling folding it in. Stop when the batter has a “gooey” consistency. Unfortunately, this is a very hard thing to quantify, so I would recommend watching my video and learning through lots of trial and error!

Hint: Sifting the flour again will prevent any lumps which is vital for those macaron feet! The folding process is also tricky as you don’t want too little (no feet) or too much (too tall) air in the batter. Practice makes perfect!

Step 4: Pipe it!

On a baking sheet lined with a silicon matt or non-stick parchment, pipe the macaron batter into small circles about an inch in diameter using a 1cm tip.

Tap the bottom of the baking sheet on the counter to release any excess air bubbles.

Set aside for at least 15mins for a “skin” to form. Touch gently with your fingers to check

Sprinkle with the remainder of the ground coffee beans before baking.

Hint: Control the piping bag with the palm of your hands. Remember not to move the tip whilst the batter is flowing to get those perfect circles.  The “skin” is needed to force the air to escape downwards to form those perfect macaron feet!

Step 5: Bake it!

Bake at 150 degrees Celsius for 18 minutes. Place on a rack to cool completely before filling

Hint: Do not be greedy with more than one tray in the oven at once. Macarons are very sensitive to moisture and temperature!

Step 6: Fill it!

Fill a piping bag with your espresso ganache and start filling your macarons!

Hint: Be generous with the filling because macaron shells are inherently sweet and it is the job of our filling to give it that delicate balance.

Step 7: Wait for it!

Do not eat them yet! Put the macarons in an air tight container to “mature” overnight in the fridge.

Hint: This will make sure nothing but the coffee flavours are soaked deeply into the macaron shells and soften the shells to give that infamous macaron texture.

I’d encourage you to try one before and after. You will notice that the flavours don’t gel well together before the macaron “matures”, the bitterness just gets in the way of the sweetness. However, just leaving it overnight will make sure the two extremes mellow out and blend together nicely.

Thanks for reading and enjoy your macarons~

Note: This recipe was originally posted on my good friend’s food blog Blender & Basil last year. Do check them out as they have lots and lots of hearty Italian and Chinese recipes!



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