132 g icing (confectioners’) sugar
132 g almond meal
20 g Dutch-process cocoa powder
32 ml water
132 g caster (superfine) sugar
45 g egg whites (A)
50 g egg whites (B)
QS brown colour
280 g fresh cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 g sea salt
350 g good-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 160°C. Cut a piece of baking paper to fit a large baking tray (you may need to prepare 2 trays). Trace 40 circle 40 mm in diametre onto the paper, leaving a space in between each one. Turn the sheet over. You can place a baking mat on top of the baking paper or pipe directly onto the overturned sheet.
- Place the icing sugar and almond meal into a food processor and grind to a fine powder. Add in the cocoa powder and grind again. Remove the mixture from the processor and sieve into a bowl.
- Place the egg whites (A) into the bowl of a stand mixer (do not start mixing yet). Combine water and sugar into a small saucepan and place on medium heat.
- Once the sugar and water starts boiling, start whisking the egg whites in the stand mixer and gradually increase the speed. Boil the sugar and water until it reaches 118°C. (If you don’t have a thermometer, place a small drop of the sugar syrup into a bowl of chilled water and when it reaches 118°C, it will make a soft pliable ball).
- Pour the boiled syrup into the whipped egg whites in a slow and steady stream. Ensure the hot sugar syrup doesn’t hit the whisk. Add in a couple of drops of brown colour. Continue whisking the macaron mixture until it cools slightly and starts to level out in the bowl.
- Add the egg whites (B) into the sieved dry ingredients and stir by hand to combine. When the meringue mixture has levelled out, remove it from the mixer and fold half of it through the egg white-almond base, before folding in the remainder.
- Transfer the macaron mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 10 mm plain round piping nozzle. Pipe the mixture onto your prepared tray using the marked circles as a guide. Once you have finished piping, tap the tray to level the surface of the macaron. Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes, the remove and leave at room temperature to cool.
- Place dark chocolate into a mixing bow. Boil the cream, vanilla and salt in a saucepan. Pour the boiling mixture over the dark chocolate and emulsify with a stick blender. Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface and leave at room temperature for 1-2 hours or until it reaches a piping consistency.
- Transfer the ganache to a disposable piping bag fitted with a 12 mm plain piping nozzle. Turn over every second macaron on the tray. Pipe the filling onto the base of the turned over macaron shell and place the second one on top and sandwich them together.
- The finished macarons can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to six weeks.