I was looking at some other food blogs tonight and I came upon one who described making macarons to be a bitch, I agree. See here for more tips and pictures of what a fantastic macaron should look like courtesy of the Novice Chef. For such a tiny, plain and humble meringue it sure can be a giant pain in the ass! There are numerous factors to take into account before deciding to put these down on their parchment bed, ranging from using egg whites which are left at room temperature for up to three days, to not even attempting them when rain is forecast. The more I research the macaron the more I see the same tips coming from seasoned bakers and pastry chefs so I don’t dispute them. I have tried making them a handful of times now, see my last try here, but I suspect even if I’m able to get the process locked in I’ll still experience the odd hiccup along the way.
The problem for me is that it’s become a challenge and I wont give up until I get perfect results at least a dozen times in a row. This means many trial and error attempts including this chocolate candy cane version. I did not age my egg whites which may be the reason for the small feet and the cracks or sprinkling candy cane on the tops is not my best idea. These macarons are not my worst though, I once made a batch and took them from the oven and threw them straight in the trash. Those I tried to flavor with apple using powdered apple and adding it to the mix. That’s the beauty of making these, the ingredients aren’t all that expensive although the Bobs Red Mill almond flour is kinda pricey, so if they take a dive then I really only get frustrated with the time I lost mixing them. Even though these candy cane macarons aren’t Laduree worthy they still tasted really good and didn’t meet the trash can this time.

 

Here’s the recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 1 1/4cups slivered almonds
  • 3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3cup plus 3 tablespoons egg whites (from about 3 large eggs), room temperature, whisked to loosen
  • 1/4cupsugar

Ganache:

  • 3 1/2ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 table spoonfinely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoonground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoonground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoonkosher salt

Arrange racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 325°. Line 3 rimless baking sheets with parchment paper. Pulse1 cup powdered sugar and almonds in a food processor until nuts are very finely ground (but not to a paste), 60–90 seconds. Add cocoa powder and remaining 1 cup powdered sugar; process to blend well. Sift mixture through a medium-mesh strainer into a large bowl.
Using an electric mixer, beat 1/3 cup egg whites in a medium bowl on medium speed until white and frothy, about 1 minute. With mixer on medium-low speed, gradually add sugar by teaspoonfuls. Increase speed to medium-high; beat until firm peaks form.Stir in remaining 3 Tbsp. egg whites. Fold meringue into dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing well between additions.

Spoon meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4″ tip. Twist top of bag and pipe quarter-size rounds onto 2 of the 3 prepared baking sheets, spacing 1″ apart. Let stand until tops appear dry, about 10 minutes or up to one hour!

 

Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through baking, until puffed and dry, about 16 minutes. Slide cookies on parchment onto a wire rack. Let cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter on third baking sheet. 
Place chocolate and butter in a medium bowl. Bring cream just to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; stir in orange zest, cloves, allspice, and salt. Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate and butter; whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.

 

Spoon ganache into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4″ tip. Twist top of bag and pipe about 1 tsp. ganache onto flat side of 1 cookie, leaving 1/4″–1/8″ plain border. Top with a second cookie, flat side down.
Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled

I’m linking this recipe up to Jane Deer’s Fusion Friday!!