Chocolate mint ganache is sandwiched between beautiful light green macaron shells to create a lovely springtime dessert.
Macarons and I have a love hate relationship; I love to eat them and for a long time have hated to bake them. Now before anyone chimes in with how they’ve never had troubles baking these pesky little desserts let me stop you. I, too, used to be a macaron queen. I took one class several years ago at Sur la Table in San Francisco and proceeded to bake batch after batch of pure perfection. I used to stifle judgement and snide laughter while reading post after post of failed macaron attempts. They were clearly written by incompetent bakers because “give me a break, they’re so easy to make. I’ve never had a bad batch!”
And then we moved to San Diego and Karma hit me like a ton of bricks. I was now baking batch after batch of complete disasters. My shells were cracking, sinking, crumbling and, dare I say it, footless! I tried every trick in the book and then I did something that I very rarely do - I quit. Almond flour was just too expensive to keep tossing in the garbage and I couldn’t handle another inevitable failure. Not once did I conquer the climate changes or our gas oven in San Diego before moving back to the Bay Area last summer.
Back in January, I had the pleasure of attending TechMunch at Disneyland. On the second day, Karma extended an olive branch by introducing me to Pastry Chef Mario Ramirez. I spent the majority of our Taste of Disneyland lunch picking his brain about all things macarons and he was more than generous in gifting his knowledge. I’ll share more of his tips and tricks later this week, but it was with his support that I decided to give macarons another try.
Yesterday I put the luck of the Irish to the test as I set out to bake Chocolate Mint French Macarons. They weren’t the most beautiful macarons that I have ever baked, but they were definitely a success. They baked evenly, not a single shell cracked and, drumroll please… they had feet! They were absolutely delicious and just the encouragement I needed to continue on my macaron journey. If you’re up for a challenge, or if you’re currently sitting pretty on the macaron queen’s throne, these Chocolate Mint French Macarons are a delightful way to welcome spring.
- 165 grams almond flour
- 165 grams confectioners' sugar
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- 150 grams granulated sugar
- 115 grams aged egg whites (from approximately 4 large eggs)
- 3 grams cream of tartar (1/2 teaspoon)
- 4 to 6 drops green food coloring
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 11 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
- Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the almond flour, confectioners' sugar and salt into the bowl of an electric food processor and pulse three to four times to combine. Sift mixture through a fine-mesh strainer for smoother shells. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk together granulated sugar, egg whites and cream of tartar by hand to combine. Place bowl and whisk attachment onto stand mixer and whisk on medium-high speed until meringue is glossy with stiff peaks, approximately 10 minutes.
- To complete the macaronnage step, add the dry mixture to the egg white mixture and fold using a large spatula until mixture is smooth and shiny. Fold in food coloring when mixture is approximately 90% combined. Once all the almond flour mixture is incorporated, check for the correct consistency - the batter should be nicely firm and drip slowly from the spatula.
- Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip and pipe one-inch rounds on prepared baking sheets. Rap bottom of each sheet with hand to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Check for slight crust to form - macarons should not stick to finger when lightly touched.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake one sheet at a time for 15 minutes, rotating halfway through. Increase temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for an additional 9 minutes.
- Let macarons cool on sheets for 2-3 minutes and transfer parchment sheets to a wire rack to let cool completely before filling. Use an offset spatula to remove from sheets. If macarons are difficult to remove, place parchment sheet in the freezer for a few minutes.
- Place chopped chocolate in a medium heat safe bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, bring cream, corn syrup, and pure mint extract to a boil over medium high heat.
- Remove from heat and immediately pour over the chocolate. Allow chocolate to sit for two minutes before stirring until smooth. Add butter and stir until fully incorporated and the chocolate is shiny.
- Allow to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally until the chocolate sets up to a pipeable consistency. Transfer ganache to a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch round piping tip.
- Pair together shells of like size and shape before starting to fill.
- Pipe a generous layer of ganache on the flat side of half of the shells and sandwich with the matching shells flat side down. Dust with a fine coating of sifted cocoa powder if desired.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
If this is your first time making macarons, I highly recommend a book like Les Petits Macarons that gives you step by step photos of what each stage in the process should look like. Also, the class I took at Sur la Table was invaluable due to being able to see and feel the ideal consistency of the batter. And if at first you don’t succeed, keep trying – there will be no judgement here!