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Monday, 17 February 2014

Chocolate Hazelnut macaroons

After quite a bit of recipe searching, video watching and failed attempts I do believe I have actually got much better at making french macaroons.  The saying "practice makes perfect" is true.  I read somewhere that it is suggested that when you make macaroons expect to over mix the first time, under mix the second and get it perfect the third.  I was lucky on the my second attempt (but failed the third and forth).  

This recipe is slightly adapted from a recipe by Edd Kimber (The Boy who Bakes).  Instead of his process of turing the sugar in to syrup and adding to the eggs I have simply added the caster sugar while whisking the eggs.  Added cocoa for colouring and used a small amount of cream of tartar to help stabilise the eggs.  

The key is to completely grind the almonds, icing sugar and hazelnuts together for much longer than you think.  Almost 7 minutes in the processor, stopping once or twice to scrape up the icing sugar from the bottom of the bowl.  Sifting takes time and can be a bit of a pain but it is very important.  Mixing is the bit where it can all go wrong...I think I have mastered it now, simply fold and cut until the mixture is one colour then stop.

I printed off a large sheet of A3 paper with equal sized rounds and then placed a sheet of non-stick baking parchment over the top.  I have found this the best way to make sure all your macs are the same size and to stop the stress of drawing each one out by hand.

So, here is a recipe for chocolate hazelnut macaroons.  Have a go, just don't shout at me if your first attempt does not go to plan.

Chocolate Hazelnut Macaroons
by Edd Kimber (adapted by me)

170g icing sugar
60g ground almonds
100g hazelnuts, roasted and skinned
120ml egg whites (about 3 large eggs)
160g caster sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

200g 70% chocolate
200g double cream
30g unsalted butter, room temp
100g chopped hazelnuts

Before you start making anything prepare your tins.  Cut sheets of non-stick baking parchment and line.  By hand (using a guide) draw on discs to help you pipe or just do what I did and print them off on your computer.

Start by roasting the hazelnuts in a dry pan and rubbing the skins off using a clean tea towel (unless you buy ones already roasted).  It should take about 3 mins to toast.


Place the ground almonds, icing sugar, cocoa and toasted hazelnuts in a food processor and turn on.  Leave to grind for at least 7 minutes, stop from time to time to scrap the bottom - you may find the icing sugar sinks.


Weigh out the egg and place in a clean bowl (or stand mixer fitted with whisk).  Add the cream of tartar and whisk until starting to foam.  Add in the caster sugar, slowly, while it whisks in to a glossy soft peak.



Sift HALF the almond mixture on to the whisked egg whites and fold in carefully.  Then add the remaining almond mixture.  You will find some bits do not fit through the sift - throw away.  I used my fingers to help push the almond mix through the sift as it tends to get stuck.

Fold until a solid light brown.  Do not over mix.



Transfer to a piping bag, fitted with a 1 cm nozzle.  Pipe carefully on to your baking sheets. You should get around 60 macs, if not more, depending on the size.  

Leave for 30 minutes - at this point heat your oven to 170C (140C fan).

After the resting time, bake for 14 minutes and remove from the oven and leave to cool on the sheets.  This is important otherwise you will struggle to remove the macs from the paper.

Make the chocolate filling by heating the cream in a pan to just below boiling point.  Pour over the chocolate (which you have chopped up and placed in a small bowl).  



Leave for 2 minutes and then mix to a smooth glossy chocolate mixture.  Add in the room temp butter and mix.  Allow to cool as it will be far to runny to pipe now.

Fill a piping bag, fitted with the same nozzle as before, and pipe a mound of chocolate on one half of a mac, sprinkle over some of the chopped hazelnuts, then sandwich together with another.

Store in the fridge, but bring to room temp before serving.  Enjoy.