Hazelnut macarons with chocolate filling

French macarons are always something I found interesting so I decided to try and make these. I have heard from friends that these are very difficult to make and you need to follow the recipe exactly so I was a bit nervous to try and make these. 

I surprisingly found this recipe not on Pinterest but just by looking up some recipes. This recipe is from http://www.80cakes.com/2015/05/hazelnut-macarons-with-nutella-filling

Hazelnut Macarons with Nutella Filling

Prep time: 45 mins

Cook time: 15 mins

Total time: 1 hour

 Serves: 15

Ingredients

2 extra large egg whites (3 ounces)

¼ cup (1.8 ounces) superfine sugar

a pinch of cream of tartar

½ cup (2 ounces) ground almonds

¼ cup (1 ounce) ground hazelnuts

1 cup (4 ounce) confectioners sugar

⅓ cup hazelnut spread (like Nutella)

Instructions

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and use a 1¼ inch circle cutter to make 16 guides on each sheet. You can dip the cutter in powdered sugar to stamp the guide onto the baking sheet, or just use a pencil to trace the circles (be sure to flip the parchment over so the pencil markings are facing down).

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until soft peaks form. Add the superfine sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar, then whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form (about 8-10 minutes).

While the egg whites are whipping place the ground almonds, ground hazelnuts and confectioners sugar into a food processor. Process for about 15 seconds, scrap down the sides of the food processor bowl and stir a little, then process for another 15 seconds.

Sift the nut mixture into a bowl using a sifter or a mesh strainer. Any nuts that do not pass through the sifter can be processed for another 15 seconds to further break them down, then try to sift them again.

Once the egg whites have reached stiff peaks add the nut mixture to them in thirds, passing the nut mixture through the sifter a second time into the bowl with the egg whites. Gently fold the nut mixture into the egg whites using a spatula. Once fully incorporated sift in the remaining nut mixture, folding gently between each addition. Any nuts that do not make it through the sifter the second time can be saved to sprinkle on top after the macarons have been piped (should be no more than ½ an ounce).

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch round tip with the batter. Pipe circles of batter onto the prepared baking sheet. Hold the piping bag vertically (90 degrees) just above the surface of the pan, squeeze the batter out until it reaches the edges of the circle, stop pressure and gently pull the piping bag off to the side to eliminate any peaks. You should get about 30-32 circles depending on how big you pipe them.

Once all your circles have been piped tap the bottom of each sheet, either with your hand or against the counter, to eliminate air bubbles and settle any peaks. You can also top each macaron with some leftover nut mixture.

Allow the macarons to rest for 30 minutes, meanwhile preheat the oven to 325°F.

Bake the macarons for 10-15 minutes (they should have a nice frilly edge), then allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before gently removing onto a cooling rack.

Once the macarons have cooled completely spread the flat part of one with a little hazelnut spread, then top with another.

When I first read over this recipe I was happy with it except that I really wanted to make a filling for the macarons instead of just using hazelnut spread. I talked to my mentor about it and she helped me find a filling recipe that I liked and we just switched that in for the hazelnut spread. The recipe for the chocolate filling is from http://www.finecooking.com/recipe/chocolate-ganache-macaron-filling. 

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup heavy cream

6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, or chocolate chips

Preparation:

In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat, swirling the pan a few times, until bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan but the cream is not yet boiling, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate, and let sit for 30 seconds. Slowly whisk the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature before piping onto the meringues.


So it turns out there isn’t much ingredients in macarons. Its mostly egg whites. In the recipe it asked for ground hazelnuts but instead I bought whole hazelnuts and ground them in the food processor until they were very fine and they still turned out great. Just a note, do not over process the hazelnuts either wise you will make hazelnut butter. 


The first step was to whisk the egg whites until they formed soft peaks, then I added the sugar, vanilla, and cream of tartar and whisked it again for 5-8 minutes to form stiff peaks. 

Next I blended together the powdered sugar, ground hazelnuts, and ground almond in the food processor. It only takes about 15-30 seconds in the processor to have it completely combined.


Add the almond flour mix into the egg whites in 3 portions. Folding it gently into the mixture between each addition of the flour mixture. Make sure to fold them in instead of mixing them to keep them light and fluffy. 


Take two baking sheets and cover them with parchment paper. Then find a 1,1/4″ circle shaped cutter or anything that matches that size and dip it into some powdered sugar and place it on the cookies sheet. Now you have a stencil to help you pipe the macarons in the right size!


Next I put the batter in a piping bag with a round tip. Carefully squeeze the batter into the circles until the are all full. The easiest way to evenly fill the circles is to position the bag at a 90 degree angle from the cookie sheet. After that tap the cookie sheet a few times to get rid of any air bubbles, then let the macarons sit for 30 minutes. While you are doing this set the oven to 350 degrees F.  When the macaroons have set place them in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the edges have little ruffles. 

While the macarons were baking I made the chocolate filling. I just added the chocolate chips to the heated cream and stirred it together. Let the chocolate sit to stiffen up to icing consistency. I was impatient so I put my filling in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes and it was perfect when I took it out. After that I put it into a piping bag and set it aside for the macarons.

 

After the macarons have been taken out of the oven let them sit for 10 minutes and then remove them from the pan. Before adding the filling make sure that you let the cookies come to room temperature so it won’t melt over the cookie. 

Take two of the cookies that are similar in size and swirl some filling onto one of them. I like lots of filling but you can add as little or as much as you want to the macarons. Next place the other  cookie on top to make a little sandwich. 


These macarons turned out really well. I wasn’t expecting to get them perfectly on my first try. My family really enjoyed them and I would definitely make these again. The only small let down is that it looks like you make a lot of cookies but when you add them together with the filling it’s really just 16 cookies. If I made these again I think I would double the recipe. 

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