French Macarons are meringue-based cookies that are sandwiched together with a filling. They are crispy on the outside with a chewy texture on the inside and, while they are challenging to make, once you learn the basic technique there are endless flavor combinations you can make. These chocolate macarons filled with an espresso ganache are one of my favorites and in this post, I share all of my tips so you can make them, too!
As I alluded to in my macaron ice cream sandwich post, after my first attempt at macarons, I was eager to try again. Of course, because the recipe requires egg whites aged for 48 hours I had to wait.
I debated whether to stick to the same recipe or check out another one. Annie had blogged about chocolate macarons as being her first successful attempt. This seemed like a sign. Of course, like Annie, I was slightly concerned. I had read an article by David Lebovitz that chocolate macarons are the hardest to master.
I debated whether to stick to the same recipe or check out another one. Every Day Annie had blogged about chocolate macarons as being her first successful attempt. This seemed like a sign. Of course, like Annie, I was slightly concerned. I had read an article by David Lebovitz that chocolate macarons are the hardest to master.
However, Annie’s recipe seemed simple enough and she had success with it. So, I gave it a shot. Learning from my mistakes on my first attempt, this time the process of making macarons went pretty smoothly. And rather than having some misshapen shells, almost all my macarons puffed up completely and had perfectly round circles. Hooray!
Tips for Making Macarons
I’ve learned a lot after making two batches of macarons and while I’m no master yet at making them, I did feel like these chocolate macarons were easier to make than the matcha version I made earlier. Here are my tips for making them:
- Macaron shells are made with confectioner’s sugar, egg whites, granulated sugar and, for this version, cocoa powder. I recommend using Dutch-process cocoa powder for this recipe.
- You will also need blanched almond flour. I like to use JK Gourmet Almond Flour*.
- Macarons are all about precision so it’s very important to use a kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients. In my research, this is one thing that was repeated over and over. Without a scale, you risk altering the ingredient amounts which will change the texture and appearance of your cookies.
- Although it sounds weird, you must age your egg whites at room temperature for 48 hours. This aging process reduces the amount of moisture in the egg whites making it easier to whip them into a stiff meringue. The consistency of the meringue is important in creating a macaron shell with the right texture.
- Macaron shells should be nice and firm on the outside. After piping them onto the baking sheet you should let them sit at room temperature for about an hour. This allows them to set up properly before they are baked. Recipes may vary in how long to let the shells set before baking and I found for these chocolate ones an hour was the right length of time.
- Sometimes it helps to see the process so be sure to check out this great video with step by step process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDo0SgDKLVw&feature=player_embedded
Espresso Ganache Filling for Macarons
Once the macaron shells are baked the hard part is over! The filling is a simple ganache flavored with espresso and is easy to make.
- Warm cream, butter and sugar in a saucepan on the stove. Once it’s hot, pour it over chopped chocolate in a bowl. Let it stand for two minutes and then gently whisk it until combined and uniform. Add some espresso powder to the ganache and stir to combine
- As the ganache cools it will thicken. Transfer it to a piping bag and you are ready to fill your macaron shells.
- When I’m ready to fill the shells, I like to match them up by size so the cookies are uniform. Pipe some of the espresso ganache filling on the flat side of one shell. Top the ganache with the other shell with the flat side on the ganache.
- You can store the macarons in an airtight container at room temperature or you can freeze them in an airtight container for several months.
*Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. Much like referral codes, this means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product I referred (at no extra charge to you).
- 110 g blanched almond flour (see note)
- 200 g minus 2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder Dutch-process preferred
- 100 g aged egg whites from about 3 eggs, aged at room temperature for 24-48 hours
- 50 g granulated sugar
For the Espresso Ganache
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 4 tbsp bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
- 1½ tsp espresso powder
- Add the confectioners' sugar, almond flour and cocoa powder to the bowl and process until blended. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy.
- Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue beating until a smooth, shiny meringue with stiff peaks forms. Add the ground almond mixture to the bowl with the meringue and quickly but gently fold together using a wide rubber spatula until no streaks remain. You want to achieve a thick batter that ribbons or flows from the spatula when lifted.
- Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a plain wide round tip. Pipe into small rounds on the prepared baking sheets (each round should be about 1-1½ inches in diameter), spaced about 2 inches apart. Let sit at room temperature for about an hour to develop a hard shell.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on size. Transfer the pans to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely before moving the cookies.
- While the cookies are cooling, make the ganache. Combine the cream, butter and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Place the chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Bring the cream mixture to a simmer, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand 2 minutes, then whisk gently in small circular motions until the ganache forms. Blend in the espresso powder. Let the mixture cool until it is thick enough to pipe.
- Once the cookies are totally cooled, match them up by size. Pipe a layer of ganache onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair. Sandwich together with the remaining cookie, pushing the filling to the edges. Store in an airtight container.
- I used JK Gourmet Almond Flour*
- Recipe found on Every Day Annie who got the recipe from Use Real Butter, who adapted it from Tartlette
- *Some of the links contained in this post are affiliate links. Much like referral codes, this means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product I referred (at no extra charge to you).
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
More Macaron Posts
When I’m not making them, I love finding new macarons to buy and try and so here are a few posts about places I’ve found some favorites!
Honey & Butter Macarons | Located in Orange county Honey & Butter Macarons sells all sorts of macarons out of their super charming trailer/store including special character macarons that are so cute!
Pierre Herme | Some of the best macarons I’ve ever had were from Pierre Herme and I’ve been lucky enough to visit them twice in Paris. Their macarons are so unique!
‘Lette Macarons | While I don’t love all the flavors they sell here, this macaron shop is worth a visit if you’re in Los Angeles. The store is very cute and I love their Madagascar vanilla, violet cassis and passion fruit flavored macarons.