Sunday, November 17, 2013

Coconut And Chocolate Macarons

Calling all Almond Joy fans, you are going to go love these coconut and chocolate macarons.

To assemble them I coated the bottom of each macaron shell with a dollop of melted dark chocolate and sandwiched them between a coconut filling made by combining a vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream with oven toasted coconut and coconut extract.

No coloring was added to the macaron shells since they don't need the extra bling. These macarons are simple standouts.

Here's how to make them:

Coconut and Chocolate Macarons 
For the macarons:
180g ground almonds, sifted
270g powdered sugar, sifted
150g egg whites, aged 2 to 4 days in the fridge and then brought to room temperature
100g granulated sugar

Line four heavy baking sheets with good quality parchment paper and set aside. Also, set aside two pastry bags for the piping of the macarons.

Sift together your ground almonds with the powdered sugar and set aside.

Whisk the egg whites (at room temperature) to glossy firm peaks adding the granulated sugar gradually in four parts.

Incorporate the dry ingredients into the beaten egg whites using a large rubber scraper.  Mix well. 
Fold the mixture with the rubber scraper by pulling down the sides and flipping the mixture over. Do this until you have a smooth mixture that falls like a “ribbon” off the scraper.

Transfer the mixture into the two piping bags. Use rubber bands to close the piping bags. Clip the tip of the bags, one at a time, and pipe small quarter sized rounds, leaving 1-inch of space between each because they spread as they set.

Macarons resting before baking.

Leave to set for about 30 minutes or until the top has formed a crust and is not sticky to the touch.
While they are setting, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. A convection oven is preferable. 

Bake one sheet at a time in the center of the oven for about 12 minutes or until the cookie is firm, matte and doesn't wobble when touched.

Leave on the baking tray until cool then lift them all off the parchment carefully. You may need to use a thin knife to help lift them off.

Let the macarons cool before removing from the sheetpans. You may need to use a thin spatula to ease them off.

Toasted Coconut Buttercream:
2 large egg whites
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of cream of tartar
2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup shredded and sweetened coconut, toasted
Pinch of fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the coconut on a lined sheetpan and bake for 7 to 12 minutes or until the coconut is toasted and golden brown. Set aside to cool.
Place the whites in a clean mixing bowl. Whisk in sugar and cream of tartar.

Place bowl over a double boiler on medium heat, stir frequently until the mixture is very hot (120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit).

Move to mixer and whip whites on high for 2 to 3 minutes; turn down to medium low until cool (use the bowl as your guide).

In a separate bowl with a wooden spoon, stir butter to soften.

With mixer on medium/high speed, add the butter one tablespoon at a time, adding the next tablespoon just as the previous one is blended in. Once all the butter incorporated, add in the extracts and sea salt. Whip until light and fluffy.
Finally, add the toasted coconut and transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a tip large enough to allow the coconut to go through or skip the tip and use a clipped disposable piping bag.

Chocolate Filling:
Place 1 cup of chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)  in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir. Keep microwaving for 10 to 20 second sessions and stirring until the chocolate is melted. Let the chocolate cool a bit before transferring to a piping bag. 
To Assemble:

Sort the macarons into pairs and flip them over. Pipe a dollop of chocolate onto the back of each macaron.

Use a small knife to spread out the chocolate a bit.

Pipe a dollop of coconut buttercream onto one of each of the paired macarons.

Top with the other macaron and gently press together. Store the macarons in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.

An easy way to package macarons is place two of them in a cupcake paper.

Slide two sets of the macarons into a self-sealing cellophane bag, seal and and you have a nice little gift to give your friends.

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