I hadn't planned on making macarons for Thanksgiving, but my cousin-in-law begged for them, so I gave in. Who am I to let someone down like that? Besides, I wanted to try some new flavors. I have apple, rose, lavender, and orange blossom flavorings, but they weren't sufficiently Thanksgiving-y enough. Even caramel apple macarons didn't sound appetizing this time around.
But then I went to Starbucks the week before. And you know, for all the hype, I'm not really a pumpkin spice latte kind of girl. I mean, they're fine, yes, but not my favorite. My favorite Starbucks (or independent coffee shop) holiday drink is a peppermint mocha. And behold, it came to me: chocolate peppermint macarons.
I found this recipe on Pinterest (who would've thunk?). The ingredients are only slightly different from the typical macarons, and the method of making them is the exact same. It's nice because the cocoa powder both flavors and colors the macaron shells so you don't have to worry about using food coloring or flavoring, both of which can make the batter a little too runny. So that was a help - WE DID NOT LOSE A SINGLE MACARON SHELL, Y'ALL. Every single one came off the parchment like a champ. That's HUGE.
Another big help was my husband. Every so often I get in over my head in the kitchen, and three batches of chocolate macarons was enough to do it, especially when my math skills are not good enough to deduce that we didn't have enough powdered sugar for the third batch. I'm not sure what we're going to do when we don't live across the street from Bi-Lo anymore.
But these turned out great. Once we got the three batches done, we filled each of them with a different filling: salted caramel, marshmallow fluff (we were out of graham crackers, or they would've been s'mores), and these chocolate peppermint beauties. They are my favorites, but anyone who knows me even a little bit knows I'm crazy about chocolate peppermint stuff. Christmas is my FAVORITE. We put the leftover ganache on a batch of brownies and sprinkled crushed peppermints on those, too, which was a perfect way to use up extra ingredients.
This was also the first time I'd made ganache, and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and tasty it was. For some reason I'd gotten it in my head that it was complicated. It's not.
So there you have it, our chocolate macarons in a nutshell...erm...macaron shell? If you're looking for an easy-ish (okay, semi-easy) Christmas cookie that's sure to impress, try these.
E & B
Chocolate peppermint macarons
For the macaron shells:
100 grams ground almonds
170 grams powdered/icing sugar
15 grams cocoa
3 egg whites
30 grams granulated sugar
For the ganache:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
crushed candy canes or peppermints
For the macaron shells:
Make these macarons just like you make the caramel apple macarons (see post for more details):
Use a food processor to blend the ground almonds, powdered sugar, and cocoa. Sift it in batches into a large bowl and set aside.
Whip the egg whites and sugar in a KitchenAid mixer using the following scheme:
-3 minutes at speed 4
-3 minutes at speed 7
-3 minutes at speed 8
-1 minute at speed 10
Gently, GENTLY, fold the almond mixture into the egg white mixture, being verrrrry careful not to deflate the egg mixture.
Also gently, scoop the batter into a piping bag or a plastic bag with the tip cut off.
Squeeze into circles roughly 1 to 1.5-inches around.
Next, lift up the cookie sheet a few inches and let it drop on the counter. Repeat. This is to get any air bubbles out.
Preheat your oven to 275.
While the oven preheats, let the macarons sit for 30-60 minutes to "dry out" - when you touch the top of them lightly, they shouldn't stick to your finger.
Whenever you feel they're sufficiently dry, place the macarons in the oven for 12-16 minutes, but keep a close eye on them.
Start checking the oven after 12 minutes. The macarons should be solid on top, and the bottoms should lift up without any batter sticking to the parchment. If you're seeing batter underneath, keep baking.
Take them out and let cool completely on the cookie sheets.
Fill with ganache and roll the sides in crushed peppermints.
Refrigerate immediately for 24 hours.
For the ganache:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to a simmer.
Meanwhile, chop chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl.
Pour hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute.
Add the extract, salt, and butter and whisk until glossy and smooth.
Cover and refrigerate for an hour, until it's thick but spreadable.
Once it's cooled, use it to fill your macaron shells (or to top your brownies)
ENJOY, loves. Peppermint and chocolate is the best combination.