1-1/4 cups plus 1 tbsp (224 g) confectioner’s sugar
1-1/2 cups (140 g) almond flour
4 large egg whites
Tiny pinch fine sea salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp (60 g) granulated sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup (185 ml) heavy cream, not ultra-pasteurized
4-5 oz (120-150 g) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1. Fit a pastry bag with a point that measures about 3/8 inch (1 cm) across. Line 2 or 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Place confectioner’s sugar and almond flour in mixing bowl, or bowl of an electric mixer, and whisk at lowest speed until the mixture becomes just slightly golden and—when you tip the bowl to the side—leaves no dust on the bowl.
3. Place egg whites and pinch of salt in another large bowl, or bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk. Add 1 tsp granulated sugar and whisk gently until egg whites are just beginning to be frothy. Slowly add remaining granulated sugar and whisk gently until mixture is frothy and beginning to turn white, about 6 min. Increase speed of mixer, or pick up the pace of whisking by hand, and whisk just enough to “tighten” the whites slightly, no longer than 30 seconds. You don’t want stiff peaks. Start and stop the machine to check the consistency.
4. Carefully fold in the almond and sugar mixture by hand until it is almost, but not quite, thoroughly mixed. You’ll see streaks of almond flour and sugar mixture—this is fine.
5. Fold in extract.
6. Pipe out small rounds of batter onto baking sheet, 2 inches apart.
7. Rap baking sheets sharply on counter, and let macarons sit at room temperature 20 min.
8. Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C).
9. Bake macarons until they are puffed with a little fringe, 14-16 min. You may need to turn the baking sheet halfway through the baking time, so they bake evenly.
10. While macarons are baking, put heavy cream in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate, then whisk until chocolate is melted. Transfer mixture to a bowl to cool.
11. Remove macarons from oven and let them cool on the baking sheets. When cool, carefully remove them from the parchment paper.
12. Whisk filling so it lightens slightly, then put an equal amount on half the macarons. Top with the other half. Voilà!
Originally published in the March 2010 issue of France Today
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