Thursday, October 6, 2011

Coffee Chocolate Macarons

I know, I know, everybody has been posting about macarons. I know that it isn't very original to post about it. But I don't care. I love macarons. I really do. So I don't care what you think about this post. Okay, I admit I really do care about what you think, but you gotta cut me some slack. I love macarons and so I am going to write about them.

This is my first time ever making macarons and to tell you the truth....I was scared. Really scared. This summer, while eating my way through France, I bought a beautiful book about macarons. I read the entire book (well, the words I could understand.... my French isn't very good). I read some more on the internet. And then I read some more on the internet. I just love Google!

Every time I thought about making macarons I found an excuse not to make them. But I finally gathered all my courage and just jumped. And you know what? I was pleasantly surprised. The actual making isn't very difficult, it's just a tricky batter that makes it difficult. Let me put your mind at ease. They weren't perfect.

I overmixed the meringue and I overmixed the batter (hmmm.... am I detecting a patron? Surely not?). When I was baking the cookies I had to let them in the oven for a lot longer. When the cookies had cooled off they were a bit chewy and tough.... not exactly the result I was going for. And of course they didn't have the pretty feet you expect in a good macaron. But despite that they still tasted good, so I decided to finish them with a ganache. No surprises there.

The big surprise came actually the next day. For some mysterious reason the cookies were absolutely perfect the next day. The texture had changed from chewy and tough into crunchy on the outside, but soft and light on the inside. How is that possible? Maybe it had something to do with the ganache? I have absolutely no idea, but I also don't really care.

So all in all I am very pleased with the end result and can't wait to make more macarons. (what? More macarons? Yes, more macarons. Don't hate me for it...). Oh, and I can't really tell you how much macarons this recipe makes, because mine were a bit on the (really) big side. If you need a bit more info on macarons I can recommend the blog of Tartelette, the queen of macarons.


Coffee Chocolate Macarons


For the cookies:
90 grams egg whites (about 3, 1-2 days old, room temperature)
30 grams granulated sugar
200 grams confectioners' sugar
110 grams almonds
1 teaspoon espresso powder

For the filling:

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 teaspoons espresso powder


Line the baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Whip the egg whites into a foam in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.

Gradually add the sugar so the egg whites turn into a glossy meringue. Don't overbeat the meringue.

In a foodprocessor mix the almonds, confectioners' sugar and espresso powder until the almonds are very finely ground. If you want you can sift the mixture to make sure there are no big pieces left.

Add the almond mixture to the meringue.

Start with a quick mix in, then slow down. The batter should still be thick but should also be able to form a slight ribbon.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the batter and pipe small rounds onto the baking sheets.

Preheat the oven to 150˚C (300˚F).

Let the macarons sit on the counter for 30-60 minutes.

Bake the macarons for 15-20 minutes. Let cool.

Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan.

Put the chopped chocolate with the espresso powder in a bowl.

Pour the boiling heavy cream over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes.

After 2 minutes gently stir the mixture until all the chocolate has melted.

Let the ganache cool down until it is thick enough to pipe.

Pair the cookies to make sure they have the same size.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip with the ganache.

Pipe a big dot of ganache on one cookie and gently press the other cookie on the ganache. Make sure the ganache spreads evenly to all the sides.

 Source: adapted from Tartelette

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Split-Level Pudding

I can't remember the last time I had homemade pudding. I really can't. And when I think about pudding it doesn't make me very happy. But somehow, while reading Baking, from my home to yours, I found myself lingering at the pudding recipes. Especially the vanilla-chocolate pudding appealed to me and so I decided to make some.

I think it was the first time I ever made pudding and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The recipe worked really well and the taste and structure are exactly as you would expect. It is a handy dessert because you have to prepare it in advance and of course serving it in one-person sized ramekins never hurt anybody.

Oh, and don't worry... I don't have incredible small hands and don't walk around with chipped nailpolish on my fingers. Azira was kind enough to assist me. And of course for her it is okay to walk around with chipped nailpolish on her fingers.... just so you know.


Split-Level Pudding

Yield: 6 servings


For the chocolate layer:
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream

For the vanilla layer:
2 1/4 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces, room temperature
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Set out 6 ramekins or pudding cups, each holding 1/2-3/4 cup.

Put the chocolate in a small bowl.

Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate.

Let sit for 2 minutes, then gently stir to blend.

Divide the chocolate ganache among the cups and set aside.

Bring 2 cups of milk and 3 tablespoons of sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan.

Meanwhile, put the cornstarch and salt in a food processor and blend. Set aside.

Put the remaining sugar and the egg yolks in the processor and blend for 1 minute.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup of milk and pulse briefly to mix. Add the dry ingredients and pulse again to mix.

Let the machine run and slowly add the hot milk mixture.

Process for a few seconds, then pour everything back in the saucepan.

Put the pan over medium heat and whisk continuously until the pudding thickens and start to bubble.

Don't let the pudding boil.

Put the pudding back into the food processor and pulse a couple of times.

Add the butter and vanilla and pulse until everything is well blended.

Divide the pudding over the cups. The chocolate might come up along the sides, but that doesn't matter.

Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of each pudding to create an airtight seal.

Refrigerate the puddings for at least 4 hours.

Source: Baking, from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan