So by now, I think you all know about my love for macarons. There’s something just so delicate and delicious about these little French cookies that gets me every time. As I’ve mentioned before, in the past I’ve had the most success with the Italian method, and I still feel like this is the most consistent and stable way to make macs. Of course, it does take a little longer than the French method, and dirties a few more dishes – so I decided to give the French method another go now that I have a better idea of what the batter should look and feel like. Well, theoretically… since the first batch of macarons I made the day I made these (some pistachio ones I had really high hopes for!) came out a hot mess – I stirred the batter probably 2 times too much, they spread too thin, I couldn’t get them to set and ended up overbaking them beyond salvation. So, of course, the second they came out of the oven I tried again.
Luckily, these chocolate peanut butter macarons were much more successful! The cocoa powder causes the tops to come out a little more wrinkly, but seriously, who cares? Chocolate and peanut butter is such a classic combination, and these made for a particularly delicious rendition. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for me, we brought them with us to a barbecue that night, which saved me from eating them 5 at a time like I usually do
For the shells:
- 110 grams blanched slivered almonds, or almond meal
- 175 grams confectioner’s sugar
- 25 grams cocoa powder
- 90 grams egg whites, at room temperature
- 30 grams granulated sugar
For the peanut butter buttercream*:
- 8 tablespoons butter, softened
- ¾ cup peanut butter
- 2 cups (8 ounces) confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk
*This will make more peanut butter buttercream than you need; you could probably get away with halving it, but I’m not positive. Either way, the leftovers taste fantastic sandwiched between 2 chocolate chip cookies – just sayin’.
Prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. I prefer to double up my baking sheets to get more even heat distribution.
Process the almonds, powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor until blended into a fine powder. Sift mixture into a large mixing bowl & set aside. You may need to re-process any pieces of almond that did not get ground finely enough (if using almond meal, skip the processing part and just sift the ingredients together into the bowl).
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and granulated sugar. Whip, gradually increasing to medium-high speed, until stiff peaks form. Add 1/3 of the meringue into the dry ingredients, and fold in until mostly incorporated. Add the remainder of the dry ingredients and fold into the batter gently but firmly, using a smearing motion. The batter should be thick and should reincorporate into itself when dripped off the spatula in 20-30 seconds. Remember, the batter will get mixed slightly more during piping.
Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. Pipe rounds of batter about 1-inch in diameter onto your prepared baking sheets. If the batter is the right consistency, it shouldn’t spread much, so you can pipe the shells fairly close together. You may see small peaks right after piping, but these should smooth out within a minute or so. Once your shells are piped, rap your baking sheet hard against the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. You might get some air bubbles that rise to the surface but don’t break; you can pop these with a toothpick.
Allow the macarons to rest for 20-30 minutes. While resting, preheat the oven to 300°F. Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes, or until the tops are set on their feet (not too wiggly). You can also test their doneness by trying to peel one off the baking sheet; if the top comes off of the feet, they’re not done. They may not be done after 18 minutes – make sure to give them enough time to fully bake! Once done, let the shells cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
To make the buttercream, beat the butter & peanut butter on medium speed for 2 minutes in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add in the powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and milk, then continue to beat for another 2 minutes.
To assemble, transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe rounds of buttercream onto half the macaron shells and top with the remaining shells. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Yield: about 30 macarons
Source: adapted from the Blonde Buckeye