3 July 2013

Dark Chocolate and Blackcurrant Macarons

For some reason macarons have a notorious nature of being really difficult to make. I really don't understand where this comes from. There's this big rumor around the baking world that they're super temperamental and a massive challenge to take on. I'm going to try to set things straight - they're not. In fact, they're seriously easy. All you have to do is a little bit a whizzing with the food processor (and let's be honest, the machine does all the hard work), then a little bit of egg-white-whisking (and you can get an electric whisk to do that too), followed by a spot of folding together, and ta-dah. Macarons.  

At home we've had a blackcurrant bush for years now and every summer nothing grows. Not a one. But this year, it is flourishing. So I thought I'd get a little bit inventive with flavours and make a blacurrant and dark chocolate ganache to go in the middle of these bad buys. It might just be, but the combination of cream and chocolate makes me intensely happy. Pity, it will make me intensely fat if I eat it every day (and I so would). 

Anyway, macarons first.

Macaron ingredients:
110g icing sugar
60g ground almonds
2 egg whites
40g caster sugar

food colouring - optional

Start of by whizzing the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor. Now the first time I ever made macarons, I thought to myslef "no way am I washing up that big ol' machine. Icing sugar's crazy fine as it is so I'll just skip that step". Mistake. Do this step! 
Next, whip the egg whites to a stiff peak. If you're feeling lazy, or a little short of time, you are more than welcome to use an electric whisk. Or you could make like me and give your arms a little bit of a workout by doing this by hand

Once you have stiff peaks start to add the caster sugar. Do this a little at a time and make sure you whisk really thoroughly after each addition so that the sugar gets fully incorporated and the mix isn't grainy

Once all the sugar is added this is where you add food colour if you're using it. It's not necessary but I think it adds a little something. I was going for a pretty purple to match the blackcurrant flavour. It didn't really work too well; ended up being more of a pale pinky-grey. But ho hum. 
Finally, fold in the icing sugar and almond mixture. Do this carefully so that you don't knock all the air out of the egg whites.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and pipe small rounds of mixture onto lined baking trays. Once you're done piping bang the trays against the work surface a couple of times to get rid of any larger air bubbles. Then leave them for at least half an hour. This stage is crucial in achieving the final result. This time lets the hard shell and the 'foot' develop. The longer you can leave them, the better.
After they've sat, pop them in an oven set to fan 160 and bake for 10 minutes. You know they're done when they come away easily from the baking paper. If they're still sticking put them back in for a minute or two. Let the cool completely on the tray. 

Dark chocolate and blackcurrant ganache:
50g dark chocolate
50ml double cream
50g blackcurrants
1tsp caster sugar
1tbsp creme de casis

Start off by cooking the blackcurrants over a low heat with the caster sugar and a teaspoon of water. Cook them for about 5 minutes until they're soften and starting to burst. 

Push them through a sieve to get rid of the seeds then mix in the casis. 

Heat the cream until it just starts to boil then pour over the chocolate. Stir until completely blended then add the blackcurrant mix. 
Set aside until cool then sandwich between two macaron shells. 


  1. I see some cracking macaroons in front of me!!
    Looking very professional my dear, everyone always dreads them but they aren't so bad are they!?
    Loving the flavour combo too :)
    Emily xx
    My Ginger Bread Journey

  2. thank you so much.
    although maybe we shouldn't share that they're not so bad - that way everyone else will think they're that bit more impressive :)