My favorite thing in the world to make? French/Italian Macaróns. I am definitely not talking about the coconut macaroons most Americans think of. These delicate confections are made with a light almond flour (making them gluten-free), fluffy egg whites, and some kind of cream or filling between. I first fell in love with this dessert when I went to France in 2009. My first bite of a macarón was pure heaven–chocolatey, crisp, yet gooey on the inside, and filled with all different textures and flavors that just seemed to kiss my palette. Every since then, I have been receiving macaróns for birthdays and holidays, but a a few years ago, I embarked on a journey to make these splendidly tricky desserts.Now, I have made a few flavors of macaróns including vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, vanilla lavender, and now, Rum Truffle. These are my favorites so far. I was so excited as I saw my practiced techniques coming together. Do not get me wrong, I am far from perfect, but, maybe one day when I somehow realize my dream of owning a breakfast-lunch café, I will have these perfected to display copious amounts beautifully in the dessert counter. A girl can only dream for now. Now, for the recipe. I must warn you, while the ingredients seem simple and easy enough, the process of making a macarón a macarón are quite in depth.
♦ ¾ cup ground almonds
♦ 1 cup confectioners’ sugar (plus extra for dusting)
♦ 2 large egg whites
♦ ¼ cup fine white sugar
♦ ¼ tsp vanilla extract
♦ cocoa powder (for dusting)
Rum Truffle Filling:
♦ 4 oz. chocolate chips
♦ 2 tbsp unsalted butter
♦ ¹/3 cup heavy cream (I used coconut cream)
♦ 1 tbsp rum
Begin by mixing together the ground almonds and confectioners’ sugar and make sure to get out all lumps.
In a separate bowl, begin beating the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then gradually add in the fine sugar. Once sugar is incorporated, add in the vanilla extract.
Into the egg white “meringue” mixture, fold in the almond mixture one-third at a time. This is the most critical step. Undermining and the shells will be too firm, and over-mixing will cause the shell to not hold their shape. The ideal consistency is when you lift up the spatula and the batter falls with a ribbon-like consistency. Once mixing is complete, pipe the batter onto a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Now, let the shells rest on the counter for about 15 minutes, or until you can gently touch the tops without making a mess. While you wait, preheat the oven to about 325°F (you made need to lower the heat according to your oven). Once the shells are ready, place them in the oven to bake for about 10-15 minutes. You may check them, actually, it is crucial that you do check on them about every 5 minutes. Look for over browning or cracking shells and reduce temperature or crack the oven door for the remaining time.
I was so excite about these. They are my best ones yet, notice how the “frilly foot” (or “pied”) emerges, yet it is not too large. Once out of the oven, let the shells cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack.
I then separated the shells evenly into which were going to be the “bases” and which were the “tops.”
I then dusted the tops with cocoa and confectioners’ sugar to give the truffle appearance.
For the filling, heat the chocolate and butter together until melted. Then, add in the rum and cream and combine thoroughly. Let the mixture cool, then firm up in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes until ready for filling.
Once everything has cooled and firmed up, being filling and sandwiching the shells to make them into macaróns.
I like to pipe my filling in to make them look nicer, but feel free to just use a knife or a frosting spatula.
Yummy! Just look at those beauties! And trust me, unlike some fancy sweets, these taste just as good, if not better, than they look!