Chocolate macarons with espresso are melt in your mouth nuggets of French perfection!
Baking macarons will test your patience, but learning how to get these little nuggets right is worth the work! Macarons are great on their own, as accents to your cakes and other desserts. While I am certainly not an expert on macarons, I learned so much baking these chocolate macarons with espresso that I feel like I can help you get started.
First, choose the flavor you like. I chose chocolate macarons with espresso because it's the perfect flavor. I felt like I needed simplicity as a beginner. However, it is important to note that macarons are versatile. You can use a variety of flavors, colors, and fillings to create your perfect macaron once you get the basics down.
Let's get started
First, start with egg whites. These will need at least 1 hour to come to room temperature. However if possible give the egg whites more time, some sites recommend leaving them out overnight. I was not ready to take that leap and left mine out for 2 - 3 hours.
Tip: There are lots of ways to separate egg whites. I find that if I separate the yolk from the whites between my fingers I have a cleaner separation and I am able to have more whites.
Next, assemble the ingredients and equipment. The basic items you will need for this recipe are listed in the yellow block on the right. I have found that I like to have everything out and measured. before I start. This way when I bake it's more relaxing, organized and leaves less room for errors.
Speaking of measurement, for this recipe I used the volume method of measurement. While I prefer the weight method, I wanted to keep this recipe easy for beginners and I was not sure everyone would have a scale. When measuring, be sure your cups, tablespoons, etc are level. Macarons are temperamental and you will want your measurements to be accurate.
The next step is to combine the flour, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. What's important here is that everything is blended in a food processor and sifted three times. Even though the almond flour might say "superfine" it still needs to be blended and sifted. This will allow you to achieve the super-smooth dome macarons are famous for.
After blending and sifting, it's on to your egg whites. Here you want to use a mixer and blend the egg whites until they are foamy. I mean really foamy. This will help you to achieve stiff peaks.
Once foamy, add the sugar to your egg whites one spoonful at a time. Adding sugar slowly is necessary to form stiff peaks. (Whatever you do, do not pour it in all at once. Macrons are temperamental and there are no shortcuts.)
The next step is to add about ⅓ of the sifted mixture to the egg whites at a time. You will want to use a spatula and gently fold together the ingredients. This is known as macaronage.
As with all things macarons, macaronage is tricky. You will want to fold together until you see a figure 8, roughly about 25 - 35 turns. Once the batter starts to form ribbons you are close. The ultimate test is to make a figure 8 with the batter and the shape holds while you hold your spatula stop there. However, if you see a figure 8 and it quickly disappears you have over mixed. If you cannot make a figure 8 keep mixing.
Great British Baking Show Bake
Season 1, Episode 2,
These chocolate macarons with espresso were my greatest baking challenge to date!
Background, the third bake of S1E2 consisted of three challenges (Petit fours; Meringues, Choux Pastry, and Macrons), being realistic and wanting to enjoy the journey I made only one of the challenges, macarons.
These little chocolate macarons took me three tries to get close to the ideal.
* The first attempt I overmixed the batter and the chocolate macarons were runny. The result was no feet and just blobs. But they still tasted great.
* The second attempt I undermixed the batter and the chocolate macaron batter was too thick. The domes separated and the feet spread out.
* The third attempt was better, I had domes and feet. But the overall look was good, but not macaron perfect.
All and all I am happy with how the chocolate macarons came out and I am even happier I did not give up. I felt like this was something I would get better at over time. I also wanted to get better at making macarons in general. I always see them as accents on cakes and I want to be able to do that someday (soon)
Count: 6 down and 272 to go!
Chocolate Macarons with Espresso Ingredients and Equipment
* Almond flour
* Powdered sugar
* Cocoa powder
* Espresso powder
* Egg whites
* Food processor
* Cookie sheet
* Parchment paper
Now you are ready to pipe! You have a couple of options here. You can purchase a silicone baking sheet with the macaron template on it or even an entire macaron kit. I opted to use a template printed from the internet and traced it onto the parchment paper. I then turned the parchment paper over so that the cookies would not bake with ink on them. (Yep, I actually had to learn that the hard way on my second batch. I still ate them, ink and all.)
When it comes to piping use a ½ tip or something close to that size. Pipe the batter out at a slight angle, pressing into it a little so you form a dollop rather than making a circle (if you try to make a circle you will see the lines and it looks like, well you know). This took me several tries before I was better at it. After you have piped the circle you will have a tip on each cookie. Simply dip your finger in water and gently rub over the tip. This will help to give you a smooth dome.
Once you are done piping, tap the tray on a hard surface five times. Don't be gentle here, but don't be violent either. This step will help to release air bubbles.
Let the macarons sit at room temperature until you can gently slide your finger over the top. By following this step, you are forming the dome that allows the feet of the famous macarons to grow from underneath while baking. This step can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. I live in Denver where it is dry and it took about 35 minutes.
Then bake at 300 degrees for 17 minutes and allow to cool. Once cooled pipe in the buttercream in the center of a macaron and sandwich two sides together. It's best to wait until the next day to eat the macaron. But if you are like me, you will eat a few right away. In fact, we ate half the batch of chocolate macarons with an espresso right then and there -- and we didn't feel bad about it!
In the mood to bake something different? Try one of these instead.
* Perfect Biscuits
* Tres Leche Mango Cake
* Ugly Delicious Cinnamon Rolls
Chocolate Macarons with Espresso
- ½ cup almond flour
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp espresso powder
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 egg whites (room temperature)
- 5 tbsp sugar
- ½ cup butter (softened)
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp milk
- Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet. *I used parchment paper and a template from the internet to draw out 1.5-inch circles.
- Combine the powdered sugar, almond flour, espresso powder, and cocoa powder. This is the dry mixture. Then using a food processor, pulse the mixture. The goal here is to create as fine dust as possible. You cannot overdo this step.½ cup almond flour, 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tsp espresso powder, 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- Then using a food processor, pulse the mixture. The goal here is to create as fine dust. You cannot overdo this step.
- Sift the dry mixture 2 - 3 times. This step is necessary to have a smooth dome.
- Using a mixer with a whip attachment whip the egg whites until foamy. Then slowly, one spoonful at a time, add the sugar. * Adding sugar slowly is necessary to form stiff peaks. (Whatever you do, do not pour it in all at once. Macrons are temperamental and there are no shortcuts.)Whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5-7 minutes.2 egg whites (room temperature), 5 tbsp sugar
- Add about ¼ of the dry ingredients to the egg whites. Use a spatula to GENTLY fold until combined. Continue to fold slowly until the batter falls into ribbons and you can make a figure 8 while holding the spatula up.
- Transfer batter into a pastry bag.
- Place 4 dots of the batter in each corner of the baking sheet, and place a piece of parchment paper over it. This will keep the baking sheet in place.
- Pipe the macarons into the circles on the baking sheet.
- Once pipped, tapped the baking sheet on the counter three times to release any air bubbles trapped in the batter.
- Let macarons rest for 30 - 60 minutes until you can gently glide your finger across the top.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Bake the macarons for 17 minutes, until the feet have risen.
- Transfer the macarons to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
- Using a mixer, beat the butter on medium to high speed until creamy. This takes about 2 minutes.½ cup butter (softened)
- Reduce speed to medium and add the confectioners' sugar, ½ cup at a time, scraping down side of the bowl as necessary, until fluffy, about 5 minutes.1 cup confectioners sugar
- Add milk 1 - 2 tsp at a time as needed.
- Add vanilla, and beat until smooth.½ tsp vanilla extract
- Transfer the buttercream into a piping bag.
- Add a dollop of buttercream to one macaron shell. Top it with another macaron shell to create a sandwich (like an oreo). Repeat with remaining macaron shells and buttercream.
- Place in an air-tight container for 24 hours. (if you can wait that long)