Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Coconut Macarons w/Ganache

My intention was not to stop blogging for months...  how did it get to be December already?!?  I'm going forgo the excuses reasons and jump right back in with a cookie recipe I hope you'll enjoy.  As with most things, coconut is better with chocolate, and these macarons did not disappoint.

While you may not think of macarons as a traditional holiday cookie, I can't think of a day when I wouldn't want to eat one :)  And while they do require some time (they take me ~2hrs start to finish), one of the great things about macarons is that they are best made a day or two before you actually need them!

Coconut Macarons with Dark Chocolate Ganache
adapted from Annie's Eats & Chez Us
yield:  think I got about 70 using this template

There's no need to age egg whites when using this method, so once you have all your ingredients you can get to baking.

For the macaron shells:
106g almond flour
106g unsweetened coconut, finely shredded
212g powdered sugar
82 and 135g egg whites, divided
354g and a pinch of granulated sugar, divided
237g water

For the ganache:
200ml heavy cream
200g dark chocolate, chopped
1/2t cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350deg and make sure the rack is in the middle of the oven.

Combine the almond meal, coconut and powdered sugar in a large bowl and whisk together to blend well and break up any clumps.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the 82g of egg whites and blend into the dry ingredients until evenly mixed, forming a thick paste.

Combine the 354g granulated sugar with the water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Keep a candy thermometer attached to the side and be watchful! We're heating up the syrup to 248deg, but when it hits 200deg, begin whipping the 135g egg whites with a pinch of granulated sugar in a mixer on medium low speed.  Continue whipping the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form.  If soft peaks form before the syrup reaches 248deg, reduce the mixer speed to low to keep the egg whites moving.

Immediately remove the syrup from the heat when it hits 248deg.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and pour the syrup down the side of the bowl in a slow drizzle until fully incorporated.  Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip the meringue until stiff, glossy peaks form.

Add the meringue to the almond mixture in thirds, folding in each addition gently until smooth.  You may not use all of the meringue, so add it gradually.  The desired end-point is a smooth batter that runs in thick ribbons off your spatula. [Note: I made extra this time as the last time I tried a coconut batch they could've used a little extra meringue.]

Add the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip with a 1/2" opening (or a ziploc bag with a corner cut off to a 1/2" opening).  Holding the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet, pipe rounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.  I find a template slipped under the parchment works well for even piping, just be sure to remove the paper before putting it in the oven!  Small peaks that you may see immediately after piping should smooth out if the texture of the batter is correct.

Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325deg.  Bake for 9-12min, until the tops are smooth and set and feet have formed around the bottom.  Let the shells cool briefly on the baking sheet (~5min), and then peel them away from the parchment and place on a cooling rack.  They should come away easily and fully intact.  Repeat as needed with the remaining batter, replacing the parchment paper with each batch (I was feeling thrifty and used both sides) and bringing the oven temperature back up to 350deg before each batch.

While the macaron shells are cooling, prepare the dark chocolate ganache.  Add chopped chocolate into a bowl and set aside.  Pour cream into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat.  Once the cream comes to a boil, pour over the top of the chocolate.  Let sit for a couple of minutes, then stir until the chocolate has fully melted.  Add cinnamon and stir well.  Let sit in the refrigerator ~1hr before using to fill macarons.

Once the shells are baked and cooled, match them up in pairs by size.  To one macaron shell, add a layer of ganache, then top with the paired shell.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  These get better with a little time in the fridge, so don't hesitate to make them a ahead of time.

What are you baking up this holiday season?  Or perhaps what treats are you looking forward to receiving?
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