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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

April Birthday: Macaron au Chocolat ~ 巧克力馬卡龍

Time just flies! It is April already, which means it is time to celebrate you April babies’ birthday! Oh dearest, happy birthday! A shout out to R & M! Yes, I will bring cakes to the party ;)

As you all know that I live in the Bay Area, which is known and praised itself on culinary diversities. As much as I don’t want to admit, there is not much to offer on macarons! How sad! So when I discovered macarons in jewel like colors in the displaying domes of the Dean & Deluca café window at the SoHo location, I had my mouth open in awe. Simply exquisite! Sheepishly, I bought one in every flavor and took my time savoring them; each bite filled me with this fuzzy happiness ~___~ That was my 1st encounter with macaron! Then seeing so many blogs and books presenting gorgeous pictures of these popular mini-hamburger look alike little fellas (over and over again), I have an urge to try my hand on macarons. How can I resist?! They are just sooooooo cute!

Judging from the vast number of patisseries with macaron-clad window in Paris, I think no one would doubt that macarons are in vogue and crazy popular over there. In recent years, macarons are gaining popularity at lightning speed through out the rest of the world too. Among all Parisian macarons, Pierre Hermé’s macarons are said to be the most lust after especially the ispahan (rose-litchi-raspberry) macaron, and also for his dozens of exciting flavors such as the combinations of chocolate and fleur du sel - caramel, pistachio and apricot praline, and chestnut and green tea. Many believed that PH has single handedly revolutionized and elevated macarons to a whole new level, and started a macaron cult according to macaron fanatics. So what is macaron (sometime they spelled macaroon and no, it is not that coconut cookie!) and why are people so crazy about it? Well, it is a traditional French pastry. The original macarons were made of egg whites, almond powder, icing sugar, sugar, with no special flavors and no filling. Nowadays, the flavors and texture are limitless. Macarons has a round meringue-like dome with a flat base, it has the little bubbly ruffle that forms around the base a.k.a the frilly “foot”, a crust that's thinner and more fragile than an egg shell, innards/center that are preternaturally light, and tooth-achingly sweet. They are often filled with buttercream, ganache, or a fruity filling of jam. Traditionally round but they also come in shapes like square, oval and heart shape.

Crunchy yet chewy, and picture-perfect macarons are notoriously difficult to get was the conclusion I got after reading numerous horror tales from many fellow food bloggers. As stated by many, macarons are all about technique. Too airy, they dry out and crumble; too dense and they become tough and gluey; one extra fold, it's all over; not enough, you won't get that little foot, which is the characteristic of perfection!

Armed with tips, I tackled my first macaron making over the weekend. Since it was my first, I experimented with a recipe from one of my trusted Japanese books and chose to go with the chocolate flavor. Surprisingly, I don’t have horror story to tell. Could have been that I was lucky that day! My macarons came out perfectly smooth and round; no cracking, and the “feet” were visible although not the perfect frilly one that I hoped for. I believe practice makes perfect so I foresee myself doing this over and over again until I get that perfect “feet”. I beg your pardon but you might see a rainbow of colors of macarons in the very near future ;)

I found that many recipes stressed to let the piped cookies sit for a range of 20 minutes to 2 hours before baking so to develop a shell to prevent them from cracking during baking. The recipe I used also stressed this drying process but only for 10 minutes. I’m not sure if this is the reason that my macarons came out smooth since I didn’t bake a batch without the drying process. I shall report back when I tried both methods. So for my conclusion of this macaron making experience; it is not difficult but definitely need some attention and the look and taste of these lovely dainty thing is worth sacrificing my girly figure for =)

Macarons au Chocolat – 20 sandwiches

2 large egg whites
40g granulated sugar
120g powdered sugar
55g almond flour or finely grounded blanch almonds
8g Dutch-processed cocoa powder

- First, sift the almond powder twice then add it to the powdered sugar and cocoa powder mix, and sift again.
- Refrigerate the egg whites well and take it out only when called for.
- On the back side of 2 parchment papers, trace 1 inch circles about 2 inches apart. Flip them over and line the baking sheets.
- Preheat the oven to 440°F/220°C.

I thought you should know:
- Fold with a light hand to prevent bursting the air bubbles.
- Must let the piped cookies sit out for 10 minutes before baking.
- Press the tip on the baking sheet and pipe for uniformly shaped macarons. Do not suspend the tip in the air.

In a large dry bowl, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy and the color turns white. Gradually add the granulated sugar, increase the speed to high and continue to whip until stiff peaks form – the whites should be firm and shiny.

With a rubber spatula, fold in half of the almond/sugar/cocoa mix into the egg whites until incorporated then add in the remaining mix, and fold until completely incorporated - the batter should be glossy.

Fit a piping bag with a 3/8-inch round tip, or take a 12 inches plastic piping bag and snip off one corner. Fill the piping bag and pipe the batter from the center of the drawn circle onto the baking sheets. Pipe about 40 circles. Let dry at room temperature for 10 minutes before baking to allow skins to form.

Bake for 6 minutes at 440°F/220°C, then turn it down to 260°F/130°C, continue to bake for 12 minutes. Remove macarons from oven and transfer to cool on the cooling rack. Once cooled, slide a knife underneath the macaron to remove from parchment paper.

Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache Filling

120ml whipping cream
140g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Scharffen Berger chocolate.)
25ml rum (Myers)

Place the finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl then set aside. Bring the cream just to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat; remove from the heat. Slowly pour the hot cream to the chocolate, stir until smooth, add the rum, and stir until incorporated. Let cool to room temperature then refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pair macarons of similar size, pipe about 1 tsp of the filling onto one of the macarons then sandwich macarons. Let them set in room temperature or refrigerate to set. Make 20 sandwiches. If refrigerate, bring macarons back to room temperature before serving.

時間還過的真快﹗四月都過了四分之一了﹐我趕來給四月壽星送禮了。生日快樂﹐春天出生的小孩。特別要跟R & M 說﹐我不會忘了帶蛋糕赴約的^^

我居住在有美食多元化之譽的灣區。雖然我不想承認﹐對於近年極流行的macarons~馬卡龍﹐真是沒太多可喜的選擇。對於美食主意者的我是很燜的事。So當我在NYC的Dean & Deluca的cafe廚櫃看到五顏六色的﹐造型呈小巧可愛飽滿的胖圓形的馬卡龍的時候,歡喜得嘴巴都合不起來。不自禁的給它每個口味買了一個來品嚐﹐每一口都讓我感受到前所未有的細緻與喜悅及一種暖暖的幸福感。香氣逼人﹐香軟可口﹐又入口即化。這是我與馬卡龍的首度邂逅留下的印象。跟著在不計其數的甜點書及美食布落格看到這個長相像迷你漢堡的傢伙的蹤影﹐讓我蠢蠢欲動要試做看看。說來﹐又會有誰看過馬卡龍那可愛的模樣後還能抵擋得住它的魅力呢?﹗我就不能了。

聽人說﹐巴黎幾乎各主要知名甜點店的廚窗都在展現色彩粉嫩繽紛的馬卡龍。由此可見﹐法國人對馬卡龍相當瘋狂。正確的說﹐近年馬卡龍旋風正席捲法國。巴黎的知名馬卡龍又以Pierre Hermé 甜點店的出品最受人推崇。一般人認為甜點界的神-Pierre Hermé-是將馬卡龍的可能性推至顛峰極致的推手。出自他之手由玫瑰口味馬卡龍夾著荔枝奶油餡心及覆盆子gele組合而成的ispahan是馬卡龍迷喻為完美之作的經典。外帶PH其他形形色色的馬卡龍口味如巧克力+鹽之花+焦糖﹐開心果+杏praline﹐栗子+綠茶等等也極受喜愛及熱賣。



持著從各家學到的tips﹐我終於製作了我第一個馬卡龍。雖然有許多食譜可供參考﹐我還是起用了長期愛用的日文書裡的馬卡龍食譜。過程是挺費工的﹐可幸沒有恐怖的經驗分享。我想那天幸運之神有眷顧我吧=) 雖然談不上完美之作﹐但是該有的特色顯而易見。外殼沒裂開外﹐還挺平坦的。唯一可惜處是裙邊不明顯。我想只要多練習﹐完美的馬卡龍在望了。我想你們在不遠的將來會在這裡看到形形色色的馬卡龍囉﹗我上癮了~


巧克力馬卡龍 - 20個

2個份 蛋白
40g 砂糖
55g 杏仁粉
120g 糖粉
8g Dutch-process 可可粉

- 杏仁粉過篩2次後和糖粉、可可粉混合過篩1次﹐備用。
- 準備兩塊烤纸﹐然後在每一張的反面畫上直徑1吋間隔2吋的小圓圈。鋪在烤盤上。
- 預熱烤箱至440°F/220°C。

- 記住麵糊要輕輕拌勻﹗
- 擠出麵糊後要放置10分鐘讓表面乾燥﹐才可進烤箱。
- 擠可可糊時先固定一個點﹐從上方擠出是要訣。





140g 苦甜巧克力
120ml 鮮奶油
25ml 蘭姆酒




  1. Hi, my name is April, I also live in the Bay Area. I have been reading your blog and surprisingly found you made macaron recently, which I have been planning to make for a long time. I absolutely adore your macarons, the pictures are just beautiful. I hope mine will come out like that too. But I still haven't found almond powder anywhere in San Francisco, do you mind telling me where you got yours? Thanks.

  2. They simply look too cute to eat...

  3. Yummie~~~~~~~~~ yummie!!
    It took me 3 tries to get macaron right. You're a genius!

    PS. Hmmm... when are you gonna show us your lovely dog? I've been beaten by a dog-bug. I cannot seem to get rid of the urge to have one now...

  4. Oh MY!!! They look so goood!!!!!
    I want some!!!!

  5. Hi April,

    Nice to meet you^^

    There are many things that I have not yet make. Macaron been on my list for the longest time and I finally did it and I'm glad that I did =)I got the almond powder/flour from Whole Food @ 4th & Folsom. It is by a brand called Bob's Red Mill; pretty pricy. Trader Joe's has something similar called almond meal. I'm looking forward to hear about your macaron experience.

  6. Hi Butterfly^^

    Aren't they adorable? Wait till I make them in different colors then you will want to grab one ^o^

    yujai yourself and grab one! I'm warning you that you should stay away if you want to fit into your wedding dress!

  7. Verano~

    Oh no, I was just lucky that day -.-"

    Yumi's debut is around the corner. Everyone is gaga over her. In fact, she is next to me and snacking on dogie donut that my brother bought her. Soooo spoil!

  8. Next time when you are in NY, make a stop at Financier ( Even though is not near tourist attractions (well, unless you are interested in the Stock Exchange), it's worth a trip for those who love pastry. Their macarons are awesome.

  9. Venus 妹妹,

    >>..巧克力馬卡龍 - 20個
    有無數真 d 呀, 明明得 19 個; 哈哈....其實過客偷了一個呀♥ !! ;)

  10. Hi, Venus, nice to meet you too. Thanks for the info, I will try it and definitely let you know the results. Can't wait. By the way, I found the almond flour on amazon by the same brand, people said it's cheaper. But it is 4 pounds, so that's kinda too much. again, thanks for the info.

  11. Saw your post on Leisure Cat. Your macarons look just great, esp with choco filling! I probably won't try making macarons cos I am new to baking. Besides, everybody keeps saying how hard it is to succeed. Still I'd like to ask if we can leave out the rum. Any replacement for this? Thanks. - Vegie

  12. Hi Anonymous,

    The desserts look great from Financier! I wish I have known about this place sooner. I guess I have to wait till my next trip to NYC! Thanks for sharing♥~

  13. 過客R~

    其實得 18 個o查! 我食o左1個..hehehe…
    偷?!你喜歡的話, 我免費贈送過你又點話♥~

  14. Hi April,

    I saw your strawberry cake. It is very cute^^ Welcome to the world of desserts/pastries!

    Some people sub half of the flour mix with almond flour when baking cookies and other goodies coz it delivers a more desirable (and healthy) result! So the 4 pounds would be more cost efficient for them. I think I need to buy from Amazon since I plan to make lots of macarons, opera cake, and etc.

  15. Hi Vegie~

    As long as you follow the recipe and the baking direction carefully, you will have success with it! Give it a try! As for the filling, the purpose of the rum is to give it a little kick. You can omit it and it won’t affect the taste too much.

  16. I've been seriously contemplating on getting a dog... VERY seriously... thinking about it.

  17. 我係幸子呀!~ 仲記得我嗎? 呢排少左上網呀~ 但想起美味的蛋糕就黎探下你~

    嘩, 你的macaron超正啊!!~ 我同囡囡都好鐘意食~ 在香港呢, 我覺得最好食的macaron係Atelier de Joel Robuchon~ 剛剛去完東京, 又食左"ispahan", 真係超好味~

    我以前上堂睇阿sir示範過, 不過自己返屋企就無整.. hehe 你整果D真係靚到可以賣/出書~

  18. Verano~

    I think you should get Turbo a dog brother or sister^^ My whole family talks to Yumi like she is a human being and she thinks she is one too -.-'It gets a bit freaky at time.

  19. Hi幸子^^


    住0係Hong Kong真好﹐因為好餐廳都0係香港開分店﹗Atelier de Joel Robuchon 真係超好味♥♥♥


  20. 你好,我可以告訴我知道,馬卡龍怎樣唧的這麼靓的(這麼圓)?你話集中中間然後唧麵糊出來,是不是唧的時候不要轉動,只是按住中間唧出來至一個圓形就可以呢?我好想做馬卡龍,希望可以向你請教一下,你真的好叻哦,馬卡龍做的真的很像外面買的一模一樣,謝謝你先!

  21. hi,Vi,按照你的方子,可是为啥我烤出来的既没有裙边,而且全部开裂了。而且我还少烤了3分钟,周边都有点焦黑呢。

  22. Hello Anonymous~

    Hi Clio Papiri,
    Macarons就是這麼難搞的東西>_< 就算是跟著食譜做也會因製作時所處的地方的室溫的差別而左右成品的成敗。烤箱是另一個關鍵﹐如果烤出来没有裙边而且全部开裂﹐那烤箱的溫度太高了。請問你的烤箱是傳統式還是非傳統式(Conventional)? 全部开裂原因是上火太高了。。。

  23. 谢谢Vi,我的烤箱没有上下火之分的555,也不知道是什么型,不是自己买的,房子里本来就配的,我连使用说明书都没有。

  24. Hi Venus,
    I made the chocolate macaron by your recipe... the macaron taste very good. Thanks for uploaded the recipe!
    I finally found a shop in HK can order PH Macaron cookbook...Happy Happy Happy!
    Best wishes, Eva

  25. Hi Venus,
    I was wondering have you ever bought a cook book called La Patisserie de Pierre Herme(French/English ver.)? Is it worth to purchase? Please let me know! Thanks much!
    Best wishes, Eva


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