I have not had a chance to participate in one of my favorite virtual cooking events in a long time. The MacTweets Macaron challenge, if you are not familiar with it, is a virtual macaroon event that is hosted monthly by the lovely Jamie of Life’s A Feast and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. When I saw that the December challenge was not due until the 25th of December, I knew I had time to participate as I was planning on making macarons for my clients. The theme this month is Savory and Sweet. This festive recipe for Spicy Hot Chocolate Macarons is exactly that, and it will put smiles on everyone’s face.
Every year I put together homemade goodies for our best clients. Macarons always make the list as they are elegant and make the perfect holiday treat. The problem with making macarons is that once I start I begin to get a bit crazy while I am making them; thinking of all the flavors I could add to the package and many times there are a few additions. Last year I could not stop at just one, instead and ended up adding three different flavors: Eggnog, Ancho Chili and Chartreuse. This year I decided to focus on one flavor and make it really good.
I used my fail-proof macaron base recipe and added Scharffenberger unsweetened bittersweet chocolate. I spiced up the chocolate with chipotle chili powder with is more subtle than over spicy with hints of smokiness. The middle filling was homemade vanilla bean marshmallow fluff; which is so heavenly that I had to control myself from eating it all with a spoon. If you do not want to make the fluff, you could use store-bought, which is just as good. I pulled together my spicy hot chocolate macaron with a dusting of crushed candy canes. The end result was a delicious macaron that was like enjoying a steamy mug of spicy but sweet hot chocolate on a cold afternoon. All that was missing was the crackling fireplace.
Food Processor – to make nut flour
Pastry Bag with a #806 tip
Baking Scale to measure grams
Be sure to age the egg whites for 24 hours. This bit of aging makes the difference between a good and great macaron as it helps stabilize the meringue.
If you want to use store bought nut flour you can; but, I have found that making my own produces a thicker batter that is not overly wet. If the base is too wet the macaron will not have feet. Bonus lightly toasting the nuts makes the flour more flavorful.
Recipe: Spicy Hot Chocolate Macarons
8 ounces whole raw almonds, lightly toasted and cooled
8 ounces whole hazelnuts, lightly toasted and cooled
1 cup powdered sugar
Aged Egg Whites:
100 grams egg whites
25 grams granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon creme of tarter
200 grams powdered sugar
125 grams mixed of the pre-ground nut flour
15 grams scharffenberger cocoa powder, or another higher quality chocolate
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
pinch of salt
candy canes, crushed
Separate the egg whites and let them sit at room temperature for 24 hours before starting to make the macarons.
Prepare the nut flour by grinding the nuts with 1 cup of powdered sugar, in a food processor until the consistency of flour. You will need to pulse the food processor and then run it, then pulse and then run.
Preheat oven to 300.
Whip the egg whites and creme of tartar until they are foamy. Sprinkle in the granulated sugar while still mixing. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
Sift the powdered sugar, salt, nut flour, and cocoa powder into a bowl. I use a fine sieve.
Add flour/sugar mixture to the meringue and fold until a shiny mass comes together.
Fit a pastry bag with a number 806 tip, then fill with 1/4 of the macaron batter.
Pipe the macarons onto parchment paper. I place the template under the parchment paper.
Let the macarons dry at room temperature for 30 minutes (Aran suggests 20, I lost track of time). You want the top to be a little dry to the touch.
Bake them for 8 minutes, rotate the baking pan and bake for another 8 minutes.
Remove from parchment.
Lightly spread about a teaspoon of fluff on one side of a macaron, then top with another cookie. Let a little of the fluff squeeze out the sides, then roll in the crushed candy cane.