The Home Bakers Collective issued a macaron challenge. “What kind of macaron are you?” After many years of fussing with French macarons, I’ve moved over to the Italian way of doing things. Espresso shells filled with chocolate ganache and caramel.
210 g almond flour
210 g powdered sugar
2 tablespoons espresso powder
170 g egg whites (split in half/85g each)
230 g sugar
155 g water
170 g chopped chocolate
170 g heavy cream
1 teaspoon powdered espresso
198 g sugar
120 g heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Sift together flour, powdered sugar, and espresso powder twice. Set aside.
Split egg whites in half. Place 85 g in bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment. Do not start to whisk.
Place the other 85g in bowl with powdered sugar, almond flour, and espresso powder. Mix until combined into paste.
Make the syrup by putting the sugar and water into a medium pot. Let the sugar boil and get to 244 degrees f. While the sugar is heating, begin to whip your egg whites to medium-stiff peaks. Turn the mixture on slow if you achieve the desired peaks and the sugar is not quite ready. Once the sugar is ready, quickly pour it into the egg whites in a constant steady stream down the side of the bowl while the eggs are whisking at medium speed. Continue whisking until the meringue is room temperature.
Add 20% of the meringue mixture to the almond/powdered sugar paste. Once incorporated, add then rest of the egg whites until they are incorporated and the the batter falls from then spatula like lava.
Fill piping bags and pipe out macarons onto baking sheets. Tap sheet to get rid of any air bubbles and then let them rest for approximately 20-30 minutes until a skin forms over the top.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees while they are drying out. Bake each tray for 10 minutes and then rotate them and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and let cool. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before filling.
Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat stirring occasionally. When cream starts to boil, turn it off and stir in espresso powder. Pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Allow ganache to cool before putting in piping bag.
Pour sugar into an even layer in a medium saucepan.
Heat on medium-high heat. When the sugar starts to melt (you will see it liquify on the sides) then use a rubber spatula to mix. The sugar will clump up at first but then will eventually melt. Make sure to keep it moving so it does not burn.
Once the sugar has melted, stop stirring. Allow sugar to cook until the sugar has turned to a little darker amber color to get a deeper caramel flavor. Once you get the desired color, immediately remove caramel from the heat. It will burn quickly so keep watching.
Slowly pour the heavy cream into the caramel and whisk until incorporated. It will bubble up so be careful. Add the butter and whisk until combined.
Let cool on counter for 30 minutes.
Remove shells from refrigerator. Pipe a dollop of caramel in the center of a shell, surround it with the chocolate ganache and then cover it with the top shell. Refrigerate until ready to eat.