Chocolate Almond Macaroons

from a recipe in Pure Chocolate, by Fran Bigelow

Fran Bigelow

Fran Bigelow

Chocolate Macaroons on a silver dish
Renowned Seattle chocolatier Fran Bigelow first began to cook as a young wife, watching Julia Child on TV in her Berkeley home and taking classes in San Francisco from Cordon Bleu-trained chef Josephine Araldo. Her business degree led to accounting jobs, but in 1982 she swapped spreadsheets for pastry sheets and opened her first chocolate shop in a Seattle storefront bakery. Today Fran’s Chocolates has three retail stores, nationwide wholesale distribution and a web site, www.franschocolates.com.

 

Recipe: Chocolate Almond Macaroons

Summary: Adapted from a recipe in Pure Chocolate, by Fran Bigelow. Makes 18 cookies.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE DARK CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE FILLING:
  • 4 ounces heavy cream
  • 4 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate (52%–62% cacao), finely chopped
  • FOR THE COOKIES:
  • Dark Chocolate Truffle Filling (prepare 1 day in advance)
  • 10 ounces almond paste (should contain at least 50 to 60 percent almonds), at room temperature, cut in small pieces
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond flour (11/3 ounces slivered, blanched almonds, finely ground)
  • 3 large egg whites (3 fluid ounces), separated

Instructions

  1. FOR THE DARK CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE FILLING:
  2. In a saucepan, heat the cream over medium-high heat just until it begins to boil.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is smooth and melted.
  4. Pour the ganache into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, touch the plastic wrap to the ganache surface to prevent a skin from forming, and set aside.
  5. Let the ganache sit at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours or overnight. (To speed things up, you may let the ganache sit at room temperature, uncovered, for about 4 hours.Gently fold with a spatula every 20 to 30 minutes until it thickens and becomes the consistency of soft butter.
  6. FOR THE COOKIES:
  7. Position 2 racks in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°.
  8. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
  9. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the almond paste, sugar, cocoa powder, and almond flour until smooth.
  10. Add the egg whites, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl between additions.
  11. Mix until smooth and uniform.
  12. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2″ round tip (#808).
  13. Holding the pastry bag vertical to a prepared cookie sheet, pipe 18 disks on each sheet, 1 3/4″ round and 1/3″ high.
  14. For a smoother finish, dampen a smooth cotton tea towel or napkin. Lightly pat the top of each macaroon to moisten.
  15. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until puffed.
  16. Let cool on cookie sheets for 10 minutes.
  17. Then transfer to racks and let cool completely.
  18. FORM THE SANDWICHES:
  19. To form the sandwiches, spread the bottoms of half the cooled cookies with about 1/2 teaspoon of ganache.
  20. Top with a second macaroon, bottom side down, to make a sandwich.
  21. Store in dry airtight containers for as long as a week or two.

From the March/April 2007 Anniversary edition of Northwest Palate.
Photos: Cameron Nagel

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