Chocolate macarons have the "impossible" quality of being light, yet rich and fudgy. The surprise in these bite-size dark-chocolate cookies is the burst of refreshing mint flavor in both cookie and filling. To make a basic chocolate macaron, eliminate the peppermint extract.
This batter is thick, so the cookies will not spread a lot. Because the batter firms quickly after it is piped, 20 minutes is sufficient resting time before baking.
Make Ahead: The assembled macarons can be covered and stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Servings: 60 cookie sandwiches
- For the cookies
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup (4 ounces) slivered or sliced blanched almonds
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (see headnote)
- For the filling
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (see headnote)
For the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (to allow for a thoroughly heated oven). Line the bottoms of 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
Combine the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder in the bowl of a food processor and process with several short pulses to aerate the mixture. Add the almonds, and process for about 2 minutes, until the nuts are finely ground, stopping the motor every so often to break up any clumps that form in the bottom of the bowl. Transfer to a large bowl, breaking up any clumps.
Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer on medium-low speed until frothy. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form; then, still beating, gradually add the granulated sugar. Beat until the egg whites are glossy and voluminous and form stiff peaks. Reduce the speed to low; add the peppermint extract and mix just to incorporate.
Use a spatula to fold half of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture to partially combine and lighten it. Fold in the remaining beaten egg whites until no white streaks remain and they are completely incorporated; do not overmix.
Fit a large pastry bag with a 3/8-inch (1-centimeter) plain tip. Spoon the batter into the bag. Holding the pastry bag upright, pipe blobs of batter about 1 inch in diameter, spaced 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets; you should be able to fit 36 cookies on each sheet. Let sit uncovered on a flat surface at room temperature for 20 to 40 minutes. The tops will look smooth and lose their shine, and the batter will spread slightly.
Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack for about 12 minutes or until the tops feel firm and crisp when lightly touched. If using a parchment paper liner, allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then peel the cookies from the paper by pressing them off from the underside. Or, to ensure that the cookies release easily, as soon as you remove the baking sheet from the oven, carefully lift the parchment one end at a time and sprinkle a total of about 2 tablespoons of water under the paper, moving the paper around a little to distribute the moisture more evenly. The steam will loosen the cookie bottoms from the paper. After 3 minutes (and no longer), lift the paper liner from the baking sheet and peel the cookies from the paper. If any of them stick, slide a thin metal spatula under the bottoms to loosen them. If using a silicone liner, let the macarons rest on the lined baking sheet for 10 minutes, then peel off the macarons. Transfer the macarons to a wire rack to cool. Repeat to use all of the batter; you should end up with at least 120 bite-size cookies.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Heat the cream and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until the cream is hot and the butter has completely melted. Do not let the mixture bubble or boil.
Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate chips, making sure they are all submerged, and let them soften in the hot cream mixture for about 30 seconds. Then stir until smooth and all of the chocolate has melted. Add the peppermint extract and stir to incorporate. Let sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes or until the mixture thickens enough to hold its shape.
When ready to fill, turn half of the cooled macarons bottom side up. Use a small rounded knife to spread about 1 rounded teaspoon of the filling over each cookie bottom, or use the pastry bag and tip to pipe the filling onto the cookies. Press the flat bottoms of the remaining cookies onto the filling to create about 60 small macaron sandwiches. (You may have a little filling left over.) Serve, or cover and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
From cookbook author Elinor Klivans.
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
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