Three Things; Monday Lunch – Chocolate Macaroons

Chocolate Macaroons

Monday lunch recipe today is Green and Black’s chocolate macaroons either with orange curd filling or our own store cupboard ganache. Delicious either way!

Piped macaroons ready for the oven

The recipe today is from Green and Black’s Chocolate Recipes book which Laura received as a birthday present from her in laws several years ago. It is only now that she has summoned the courage to make the macaroons…

You will need:

125g ground almonds
25g cocoa powder
250g icing sugar
4 egg whites at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

One tin of sweetened condensed milk
200g dark chocolate

Chocolate macaroons with orange filling

To make the macaroons,

Line two buttered baking sheets with grease proof paper or baking parchment.

Sift together the ground almonds, cocoa and 225g of the icing sugar (keep 25g of icing sugar to whip with the egg whites)

In another bowl, weigh out exactly 100g of egg white and whisk until light and fluffy. Add the 25g icing sugar you set aside earlier and whisk until stiff and shiny but not dry.

Gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites a little at a time then leave to rest whilst you prepare your icing bag. If you don’t have a piping bag you can use a freezer bag with one corner snipped off. You will need a 2 cm nozzle on your piping bag or a 2cm snip of your plastic bag.

Add your splash of vanilla essence to the mixture and very gently stir to incorporate it. If you are making the chocolate orange version you could add some grand marnier orange liqueur instead.

Pipe the mixture into walnut sized rounds and then tap the tray on the bench top to burst any large air bubbles that would otherwise leave a void in your macaroon.

Now here is where I deviate from the recipe book… In the book it says to bake immediately for 1 minute at 240C, 475F, Gas mark 9 and then turn the oven down for 10-12 minutes at 180C, 350F, Gas mark 4. I tried this with my first batch and the tops cracked and they had no ‘feet’ the little bobbly layer beneath the shell. If you look closely at the orange filling picture you can see a cracked top and no feet. My second batch I left after piping for over an hour to form a dried skin on the surface before baking for about 12-15 minutes at 180C, 350f, gas mark 4. As you can see in the double chocolate picture below we now have perfect crack free domed shells and bobbly feet, hooray.

Chocolate macaroons with store cupboard ganache

You pick the macaroons up using the baking parchment and transfer the paper onto a cooling rack. Leave the macaroons to cool completely on the paper and then peel off ready to fill.

Match up similar sized macaroons and blob a generous teaspoon of filling onto one then sandwich the second shell on top.

We used two different fillings one was a microwave orange curd that I found here on the Salad in a Jar Blog. Super easy and super tasty.

The second filling was made up on the spot when we realised we had no cream in the fridge to make a standard ganache. Using her culinary cunning, Laura invented this super easy Store Cupboard Ganache.

In a small saucepan melt on a low heat a very small bit of butter, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add a tin of sweetened condensed milk and stir continuously until warm. You must stir like mad or the milk will burn. Take the pan off the heat and and the chocolate, broken into small chunks, and stir and stir until all combined. If necessary you can pop the pan back on the low heat for a few seconds at a time stirring all the while if the mixture needs to be a little warmer for the chocolate to melt.

The mixture will cool to a semi solid goo and is wonderful for cakes or puddings, topping ice cream or a sly finger dip as you go past the fridge.