Chocolate/ Cookies

Chocolate, PB & Banana Macarons

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GUYS. I did it. I finally conquered the mighty macaron.

I first made chocolate macarons two summers ago, and I thought I’d done a pretty great job. Sure, my cookies had giant cracks all over them… But I decided to focus on the fact that they tasted yummy and pretty darn macaron-like. So, with that history of (semi) success behind me, I decided to try my hand at making some regular macarons, sans cocoa. I’d heard these could be more finicky, but I dove in with confidence. I used the French method of making meringue, and added a bit of coffee powder in the hopes of creating some coffee macs with chocolate ganache.

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What I wound up with were literal hockey pucks. Okay, so they weren’t quite big enough to be literal hockey pucks… But I can assure you they were practically the same in terms of texture. Hard, bland, and utterly hopeless.

After a couple months, I convinced myself into giving it another go. This time I stuck with simple vanilla bean and used the Italian method, which is said to be less prone to disaster because the meringue is made more stabile with the addition of a hot sugar syrup.

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And this time, the results were near perfect. The majority of my macarons were crack-free, and every single one had those signature little “feet” at the base. Hooray!

Following this momentous occasion, I found myself wanting to delve deeper into the macaron world. I thought of flavor combo after flavor combo, and finally settled on these chocolate macarons with peanut butter banana buttercream. Because we all know chocolate, peanut butter and banana are a match made in heaven.

The process of making these cookies isn’t painstakingly difficult, but you will want to make sure to use a kitchen scale and take care while measuring ingredients and completing each step.

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To make the macarons, start by preheating the oven to 350 F for convection, or 400 F for a standard oven. On a piece of parchment paper, fill the page with evenly spaced 2-inch circles (they should be about 1 inch apart). Place the circle-filled parchment on a baking sheet, ink/graphite-side down so you don’t get any on the cookies. Sift the almond flour, powdered sugar and cocoa powder into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Make a well in the center of the mixture, then add in some egg whites and stir with a spatula until combined. Set aside.

DSC_0005In a small saucepan, stir together some water and granulated sugar and place over medium-high heat.

DSC_0006When the sugar syrup reaches 203 F/110 C, place some more egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add in a pinch of sugar, and whip on medium speed until they form soft peaks. If this happens before the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, turn the mixer speed to its lowest setting.

DSC_0007When the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, take the pan off the heat and, with the mixer on medium-low speed, slowly drizzle in the syrup.

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Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes, or until the whites hold stiff, glossy white peaks. The meringue itself should be cooled down by now; if not, continue to whip until it does.

DSC_0010Fold one third of the meringue into the almond mixture, then add the rest of the meringue a bit at a time until the mixture isn’t so stiff that it won’t budge when you fold it over onto itself, but isn’t so loose that it does not hold its shape at all. The “ribbon” created by folding the batter onto itself should slowly move.

DSC_0014Load the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and pipe onto the traced circles. Tap the pan against the counter to release any air bubbles and smooth the tops and set the pan aside to dry for a few minutes, or until you can gently touch the tops of the macrons without getting batter on your finger.

DSC_0020Now just pop these in the oven for 8-10 minutes if you’re using convection. If you’re using a standard oven, place the pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325 F. Bake 9-12 minutes, or until the tops are crisp and the macarons aren’t overly wobbly when touched. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely while you make the buttercream!

DSC_0021Puree a half of a banana until smooth, then put it through a sieve, pressing as much through as you can.  Set aside both the pulp and the sieved liquid. Whisk together some granulated sugar and egg yolks in a medium bowl and set aside.

DSC_0022In a medium saucepan, stir together some milk and more sugar and heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the milk is just below a simmer. Take the pan off the heat and, whisking constantly, pour it into the egg and sugar mixture. Pour this mixture back into the pan and place it back over medium heat. Continuing to whisk constantly, bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and allow to simmer for 1 minute, or until it is very thick and pudding-like.

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Like this!DSC_0027Strain the mixture through a mesh sieve into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed for 8 minutes, or until the mixture is cooled. With the mixer still on, add the butter a few pieces at a time. If the mixture looks broken at any time, increase the speed until it re-emulsifies.

DSC_0028Add in some creamy peanut butter and the sieved banana, adding some of the banana pulp if a stronger flavor is desired.

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Now it’s time to assemble! Just load the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip and pipe dollops onto half of the macarons, topping with the other halves.

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Store these in the fridge and bring them to room temperature before enjoying! These are even better the second day, because by then they’re nice and soft and chewy.

Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Macarons

recipe from crumbsandnibbles.com, adapted from Bouchon Bakery

Makes 24 filled sandwich cookies (48 halves)

Ingredients:

For the chocolate macaron cookies:

  • 212g almond flour/meal
  • 212g powdered sugar
  • 25g high quality cocoa powder
  • 82g egg whites
  • 90g egg whites
  • 236g granulated sugar, plus more for the egg whites
  • 158g water

For the peanut butter banana French buttercream:

  • 38g granulated sugar
  • 38g granulated sugar
  • 63g egg yolks
  • 75g whole milk
  • 250g unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces, at room temperature
  • Half of a very ripe banana
  • 2 heaping tablespoons creamy peanut butter

Directions:

  1. For the macarons: Preheat the oven to 350 F for convection, or 400 F for a standard oven. On a piece of parchment paper, fill the page with evenly spaced 2-inch circles (they should be about 1 inch apart). Place the circle-filled parchment on a baking sheet, ink/graphite-side down so as not to get any on the cookies.
  2. Sift the almond flour, powdered sugar and cocoa powder into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Make a well in the center of the mixture, then add in the 82g of egg whites and stir with a spatula until combined. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, stir together the water and 236g granulated sugar and place over medium-high heat.
  4. When the sugar syrup reaches 203 F/110 C, place the remaining 90g egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add in a pinch of sugar, and whip on medium speed until they form soft peaks. If this happens before the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, turn the mixer speed to its lowest setting.
  5. When the syrup reaches 248 F/120 C, take the pan off the heat and, with the mixer on medium-low speed, slowly drizzle in the syrup. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes, or until the whites hold stiff, glossy white peaks. The meringue itself should be cooled down by now; if not, continue to whip until it does.
  6. Fold one third of the meringue into the almond mixture, then add the rest of the meringue a bit at a time until the mixture isn’t so stiff that it won’t budge when you fold it over onto itself, but isn’t so loose that it does not hold its shape at all. The “ribbon” created by folding the batter onto itself should slowly move.
  7. Load the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and pipe onto the traced circles. Tap the pan against the counter to release any air bubbles and smooth the tops. Set the pan aside to dry for a few minutes, or until you can gently touch the tops of the macrons without getting batter on your finger.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes in a convection oven. If you’re using a standard oven, place the pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 325 F. Bake 9-12 minutes, or until the tops are crisp and the macarons aren’t overly wobbly when touched. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Repeat this process with the rest of the batter.
  10. For the buttercream: Puree the banana until smooth, then put it through a sieve, pressing as much through as you can.  Set aside both the pulp and the sieved liquid.
  11. Whisk together 38g granulated sugar and the egg yolks in a medium bowl and set aside.
  12. In a medium saucepan, stir together the milk and the remaining 38g of sugar and heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the milk is just below a simmer. Take the pan off the heat and, whisking constantly, pour it into the egg and sugar mixture. Pour this mixture back into the pan and place it back over medium heat. Continuing to whisk constantly, bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and allow to simmer for 1 minute, or until it is very thick and pudding-like.
  13. Strain the mixture through a mesh sieve into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed for 8 minutes, or until the mixture is cooled.
  14. With the mixer still on, add the butter a few pieces at a time. If the mixture looks broken at any time, increase the speed until it re-emulsifies.
  15. Add in the peanut butter and the sieved banana, adding some of the banana pulp if a stronger flavor is desired.
  16. Load the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch tip and pipe dollops onto half of the macarons, topping with the other halves. Store in the fridge and bring to room temperature before enjoying! These are even better the second day, as they have time to soften.

Happy nibbling!

 

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Jess
    July 15, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Looks like your macarons turns out beautifully–well done!

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