Chocolate Macarons with Nutella Ganache

I was happily surprised with how well these macarons turned out. Humidity can really alter these little cookies, which makes me feel a little better about messing up every batch I made at home this past summer. (Melida had one successful batch, but that was done at ICE) There I learned how delicate these macarons are, and just one extra fold can ruin it all. One good tip I took away was to beat the egg whites at a low speed to avoid over whipping the whites. For this batch, I beat the egg whites for almost 20 minutes, and I watched it closely to make sure they were the perfect consistency.

Speaking of the class we took back in July, a friend of Tim and mine took the same class that day. This friend says macarons are his favorite food. Now that was his answer to a question regarding favorite foods, not just desserts. So what does that say about this man? Simply put, he’s a fancy guy. Tim and I have had the pleasure of working alongside him in one of our church’s community groups, and we’ve come to know him beyond being fancy, as an intentional person with a big heart. So this one goes out to you, Ken. Happy Birthday, and thanks for all you do for everyone around you.

Chocolate Macarons
adapted from David Lebovitz

Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup almond flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
4 tablespoons granulated sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Line two baking sheets with Silpat liners and have a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch plain tip ready.
3. Using a blender of a food processor, grind together the powdered sugar with the almond powder and cocoa so there are no lumps.
4. Using a standing electric mixer and at slow-medium speeds, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, gradually beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm.
5. Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag.
6. Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1/2-inch circles, evenly spaced 1/2-inch apart.
7. Tap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons, then bake them for 15 minutes. Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet.

Nutella Ganache

Ingredients:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Nutella
2 ounces dark chocolate

Directions:
1. Bring heavy cream to a simmer.
2. Remove from heat and stir in Nutella and dark chocolate. Stir until reaching consistent texture.
3. Let cool to room temperature.

Assembly Directions:
1. Find matching similar-sized counterpart for each macaron.
2. Depending on size of macarons, spread 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of ganache on one cookie’s inside, and then gently press the matching cookie on top, forming a sandwich.
3. Store in an airtight container or in the fridge for at least one day before serving, to meld the flavors. Macarons can keep up to 5 days, after that they may be stored in the freezer.

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