Remember those days when not getting feet on a macaron was the biggest problem you could run into? Oh, those were the days. I miss those days. It seems that now that I've learned how to get feet on my macarons, I'm faced with a different, more complicated problem. Wrinkled.Tops.
Oh wrinkled tops, how I loathe thee. The first time I became acquainted with you was two Fridays ago when it was a humid, rainy day and I thought you were just a product of the weather. That was until I tried the recipe again the following day in beautiful, sunny weather, and there you were again. And then I tried it a second time, and a third time, and STILL, no such luck.
I don't think there's anything more frustrating in the world than not knowing how to fix something. I searched the interwebs high and low to figure out why my macarons were looking so beautiful in the oven, but then ever so slightly deflating when I took them out. Basically, all I could find was that they were underbaked. So I overbaked them, which did solve the wrinkly problem...but then they were macarocks. And no amount of "maturing" in the fridge could fix them.
So, back to the drawing board it was. I Googled some more and finally came across an article wherein someone was having a similar problem and was advised to let the macarons dry longer. This switched on a light bulb over my head because I realized that I wasn't letting my macarons dry as long as I usually do. So, I gathered my ingredients once more and tried again, this time drying those babies for a whole hour, and voila, no wrinkly tops!
What a journey right? Baking truly is a science. I know that now more than ever. And not that I hope that anybody experiences a case of wrinkled macarons, but if they do, it brings me great joy to know that they won't have to spend an exhausting two weeks trying to understand what they're doing wrong because they'll have my experience to learn from. Best part about my job :)
Chocolate Macarons with Nutella GanacheYield: Approximately 30 macarons
Ingredients:110 grams almond flour
200 grams powdered (confectioners) sugar, minus two tablespoons
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
90 grams aged egg whites (about 3 large eggs), room temperature
pinch of cream of tartar
30 grams granulated sugar
For the Nutella ganache:
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup Nutella
Directions:Add almond flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine and break apart any lumps. Sift this mixture into a clean bowl. Discard any large pieces that do not pass through the sieve. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar and beat on medium speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Do not overbeat.
Pour dry ingredients into the bowl with the beaten egg whites. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites, until the batter is thick and lava-like. This should take about 40-50 folds. The batter should slowly fall off your spatula when you pick it up and any peaks in the batter should settle down within 20 seconds.
Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Pipe 1.5 inch rounds onto the parchment paper. It is helpful to use a guide here, so all your macarons are the same size. Once all the rounds are piped out, slam the baking sheet against a flat, stable surface, then rotate and slam again. This is done to force any large air bubbles to the surface.
Let the piped macarons dry on the countertop for 1 hour, or until a dry skin forms on top.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Right before you put the macarons in the oven, decrease the oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Bake for 15-17 minutes.
Let cool completely on baking sheet, before removing from the parchment paper.
To prepare the ganache, place the chocolate chips in a small bowl. Heat heavy cream in a medium saucepan until simmering, then pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips. Let stand for one minute, then stir together until all the chocolate chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in Nutella.
Let ganache sit at room temperature until it thickens to piping consistency. You can pop it in the fridge to speed up the process, but keep an eye on it.
Match macarons up into pairs of similar sizes as best as you can.
Pipe a small dollop of ganache onto the flat side of half the macarons. Top them with the other half. Refrigerate in an airtight container for 24 hours to let the flavors develop. Bring to room temperature before serving.