Hello fellow Chocolate with Francois bakers! Long time no post from me. I have missed you all and can't tell you how wonderful it is to be back!
This month's recipe was Chocolate Macarons chosen by Leslie of Lethally Delicious . Leslie is a fabulous baker (you really are Leslie!) and someone I am glad to call friend. Be sure to stop by her blog and check out some of the wonderful recipes she has made.
I have made macarons before, but never using this method. I almost didn't make these as I was afraid of the whole cooked sugar into whipped egg whites juggle I would have to do, but, since it had been so long since I had baked with the group, and, since it was Leslie who was hosting, I decided to put my fears aside and just dive in.
I am so glad I did! I did have some of the sugar harden on the side of my mixing bowl and some small pieces of that hardened sugar made it into the cookies, but, other than a few bumps here and there, the cookies turned out wonderful. Well, actually the first batch ended up scorched a little. I think they baked a tad too long and I ended up cutting back on the baking time by 2 or 3 minutes. The rest of the batches turned out perfect. All but a few of the cookies had "feet", that ring of bubbly looking cookie around the bottom edges. Each puffed up and spread out perfectly. I think I could have piped them a bit larger as I ended up with about 50 individual cookies and I only made half the recipe!
The cookies were delicious just plain, no ganache. They were crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Rich with the flavor of the chocolate. I really had to sternly talk to myself in order to stop eating the cookies as they were cooling on the rack. I kept popping one into my mouth every time I walked by them. :)
I did manage to save a few and dipped them into the cooled and slightly thickened ganache. I didn't think they could be any better than they were, but I was so wrong. The ganache added a whole other dimension of chocolate, richness, and texture to the cookies. Absolutely Fabulous! I lost count of how many I tasted, strictly for quality control purposes. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it! :D)
I had only one complaint. Once the cookies went into the fridge, as Francois says they should be stored, the texture changes. They are no longer crispy on the outside. Don't get me wrong, they were still delicious and it didn't keep me or any of the people I shared them with (the hubby and the gang at Starbucks) from devouring them, but I think I liked them better freshly baked, still crisp and airy. But, crispy or soft, these are some dangerously delicious cookies, at least around me. They are a little bit of work, but so worth the effort. Give them a try!