This post is now archived as it was written before I became a vegan and rebranded my blog. Comments on this post are closed, although it will remain available for viewing. You can now browse my full collection of vegan recipes.
I’m a big fan of macarons (The French sandwich cookie kind, not a coconut macaroon, although I’m a big fan of those too!). They are the ultimate “fancy” cookie, and yet they carry such a bad rep for being almost impossible to make.
I’m here to fix that. Anyone can make these. I believe the key is being prepared and not being scared of the batter. There are only a few ingredients needed and they can all be found in your local grocery store. I’ll admit they are temperamental, however if you set out knowing what to expect and what to look for at each stage, you should have success with these little almond delights. Before you start, if you haven’t made these before, please read my “macaron how to” post, which should tell you everything you need to know about each stage of making a macaron.
Don’t they look so pretty?
Now… back to the recipe. These macarons are chocolate coffee flavoured. The coffee flavour isn’t overwhelming, just enough to enhance the flavour of the chocolate and impart a touch of bitter espresso-ness. Yum. I’ll make an exception to my usual cup-of-tea-with-cake rule for these, because they should really be enjoyed alongside a nice coffee.
So whip up a bunch of these and transport yourself to a Parisian promenade with a soft accordion playing in the background and the Eiffel Tour just in sight in the distance… or you know… your sofa.
Chocolate Coffee Macarons
Yield: Makes 10-12 macaron sandwiches.
Macaron Template – PDF to download and print
For the Macaron Cookies
120g Powdered Sugar (Icing or Confectioners Sugar)
100g Almond Meal (Ground Almonds)
40g Caster Sugar
2 Egg Whites
1 Tsp Cacao Nibs slightly crushed
For the Chocolate Coffee Filling
150ml Heavy Cream (Double Cream)
170g Dark Chocolate (Preferably 70% cocoa solids)
3 Tsps freshly brewed espresso
Please read my “How To – French Macarons” post before starting for detailed instructions on what to expect at each stage of the process.
1. Thoroughly sieve the almond meal and powdered sugar into a large bowl. Ensure that no big lumps remain as these will stop the tops of the macarons being smooth. You can blitz the almond meal in a food processor briefly on a pulse setting to grind further, however don’t blend for too long or the oil in the almonds will cause you to end up with almond butter. Make sure all the dry ingredients are evenly distributed.
2. In another large bowl separate the egg whites and yolks, for this recipe you only need the whites. It is vital that no trace of yolk ends up in the bowl, and that the bowl itself is free from any grease.
3. Either using a free stand mixer or an electric hand whisk (you can use a manual whisk if you are brave!!) whisk the egg whites until they are bubbly and frothy. At this point add the caster sugar 1 Tbsp at a time and mix after each incorporation. Once all the sugar is incorporated, whisk the egg whites until you have soft peaks which don’t hold their own weight. At this point, add any food colouring you want to add. I normally use gel colours as they are a bit more intense. With macarons, the colour you make the raw batter is likely to be 1-2 shades darker than how they will look when cooked, so you want to make your batter a little darker than the final colour you would like. For these macarons I used an ivory colour, but use whatever colour you like!
4. Once the colour is added, keep whisking the egg whites until you have stiff peaks. This will be when you pull the whisk up through the egg white and the “peak” it forms, stays straight up with it’s own weight. At this point they are done!
5. Add the egg whites to the bowl with the ground almonds and fold in gently using a spatula. Regularly scrape down the bowl. Keep folding until the batter has a soft consistency and drops off the spatula and just sinks back into the batter in the bowl.
6. Place the batter in a piping bag with a round nozzle attached. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and pipe even circles onto the paper. If you would like a guide, you can download and print off my Macaron Template. Place it underneath the parchment paper and remove before putting in the oven.
7. Once the circles are all piped, leave them in a cool dry place for 5 minutes. Sprinkle half of the circles with the cacao nibs. Leave for a further 35 minutes to dry. They are ready when you can gently poke the side and it feels dry and gently springs back. (Don’t push it too hard though!)
8. While the shells are drying, preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius. After they are dry bake for 15-16 minutes. Allow to cool on a cooling rack for a few minutes until the shells easily peel away from the paper. Allow to cool completely.
9. While the shells are cooling, chop the chocolate into small chunks and place in a heat proof bowl. Brew the espresso coffee. Heat the cream on a low to medium heat in a saucepan stirring constantly. Don’t let the cream boil, when it is steaming and has small bubbles forming at the edges it is ready. Pour over the chocolate, add the coffee and let sit for a couple of minutes. After a couple of minutes stir to fully combine the chocolate and cream. You will be left with a runny glossy mixture. This needs to cool for a couple of hours before it will be thick enough to pipe into the shells.
10. Spoon some chocolate mixture into a piping bag and cut off the end to make a small opening. Pipe onto the half of the shells with no cacao nibs on top, then sandwich with the chocolate covered shells.
11. Ideally, put the macarons into an airtight container and keep in the fridge overnight. This allows the shells to absorb some of the moisture from the ganache, and get a nice chewy centre.
12. These freeze well for up to 3 months. Simply take them out of the freezer about an hour before you want to eat them and let them come to room temperature.