Ever since I started reading blogs I have read about and wondered over, and over and over, etc etc, all the macarons I've seen. I've never seen them in person and really didn't know what to expect. I just knew it was something, someday, I had to try.
Well, yesterday was finally that day. I've debated over flavor combinations for a while because I didn't want to just recreate something I've already seen. While I was at it I also wanted to create something to celebrate the start of the magical Autumn season which we love!
Until recently I never really enjoyed pumpkin - probably only the last year or two that I have found the flavor interesting. There is a local bagel place that makes chocolate chip bagels (my favorite) and every year around this time through December they make them into pumpkin chocolate chip bagels. It used to always bug me because that meant that every year for a couple of months I had to switch to a different flavor bagel. Now, I am starting to enjoy pumpkin flavors more and more - perhaps even pumpkin pie come Thanksgiving - who knows!?
Anyway, when I was trying to decide what to make for my first attempt at macarons I knew they would have to be chocolate and that I wanted to make some kind of flavored ganache to fill them with. There are so many versions out there to choose from!
For my first time I decided to use Aran's recipe she recently posted. She also had a recipe with that for a fruit flavored ganache which is what I decided to base my filling off of as well. Huge thanks to Aran at Cannelle et Vanille for a great recipe (linked below). I have modified the details slightly below to reflect the changes in ingredients I made.
I wanted to try a different nut than just almond in the macarons and since I still had some roasted hazelnuts left from that cake a little while ago I decided that was the way to go. I also used white chocolate for the pumpkin ganache so that the flavor and color could really shine through. The ganache was very pumpkin-y so it looks like more of a puree than a smooth ganache, but it really tasted amazing with a little hint of cinnamon in the pumpkin as well.
A perfect tribute to Autumn! So, don't forget to check out the Art You Eat Event and create your own seasonal dish - sweet or savory, main, side, dessert, whatever - and join in the fun!!
My first attempt at macarons went better than I expected it to, and though they weren't perfect, they sure tasted amazing and now I have at least tried, so I won't be so afraid to give it a shot next time - and there will be many more times. If you still haven't tried making these, I encourage you to give it a shot - what's the worst that can happen? They bomb and you learn something.
Chocolate Hazelnut Macarons
SOURCE: Adapted from Aran at Cannelle et Vanille
100 grams egg whites
25 grams sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
225 grams powdered sugar
75 grams almond flour
50 grams hazelnut flour
15 grams cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
Separate the egg whites at least 24 hours prior and even let them sit at room temperature for a few hours before starting to make the macarons. This will help them get rid of some moisture and become more acidic, which will help form a stable meringue.
Whip the egg whites and the lemon juice until they are almost fully whipped. Sprinkle in the sugar while still mixing. Continue to whip to a full meringue.
Sift the powdered sugar, salt, almond flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Add the meringue into the dry ingredients and fold until a shiny mass is formed. We want it to spread a bit but not too much.
Pipe the macarons onto a silicon mat and sprinkle with cocoa nibs. Let the macarons dry at room temperature for 20 minutes or so. Bake them in a 300F for about 8 minutes. Rotate the sheetpan and bake for another 8 minutes.
White Chocolate Pumpkin Ganache
100 grams white chocolate
40 grams pumpkin puree
20 grams heavy cream
15 grams butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Boil the pumpkin and heavy cream together and pour over chocolate. Stir until incorporated and the ganache forms. Wait a couple of minutes for the ganache to cool a bit and add the softened butter and cinnamon. Stir to create an emulsion. Let it harden a bit until it is pipeable and fill the macarons.