Monday, June 2, 2014

Chocolate Macarons with Pistachio Cream

I made these a few weeks ago with two friends.  We chose an easy chocolate shell and added chopped pistachios to the filling we did last time, instead of strawberries.  These are the last macarons I'll make in the Azores and this is the last post I'll do from our house here.  We move into a hotel tomorrow.  I will still post some recipes I have saved up.  
Every macaron is delicious, and these were no exception.  We only used a small amount of pistachios in the filling- about 1/4 cup, but the flavor really shined through and even the color did!  I did use a tiny drop of green food coloring to accent it, but you don't have to.  I also added a drop of almond extract to the filling, but again, you don't have to. We also piped out the shells very small, about one inch, so there would be enough to go around for all 3 of us.  (I'm not sure if you can successfully double a macaron recipe, and don't really want to attempt it.)
Chocolate Macarons with Pistachio Cream
adapted from here

Macaron Shells:
110 grams blanched almonds, ground (OR use 110 grams almond flour/meal)
200 grams less 2 Tbsp. confectioners sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
100 grams egg whites, aged at room temperature for 12-24 hours
50 grams granulated sugar

1. Using a food processor, pulse the almonds until they are finely ground. Alternatively, you can use ground almonds. Add in the confectioners sugar and cocoa powder and process until fully blended. Set aside.

2. Using a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Gradually add in the granulated sugar, and continue beating until the meringue is stiff, shiny, and stiff peaks form. Add the almond mixture to the meringue mixture, and using a rubber/silicone spatula, mix swiftly but gently until no streaks remain. The whole process should take no more than 50 strokes.

3. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (I used Wilton #12) with the batter. Pipe small rounds (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) onto the baking sheets. Once you have piped out all of the batter, tap the cookie sheet on the counter to release any air bubbles. Let the maracons rest at room temperature for about an hour to allow them to harden their shells.

4. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes depending on size. Let the cookies cool completely before removing cookies from the cookie sheet.

Pistachio Cream Filling:
4 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, softened (can use reduced-fat)
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, ground semi-finely in a food processor
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar, or more to taste
drop of green food coloring; optional
drop of almond extract, optional

1. For the cream cheese frosting, beat butter and cream cheese a large mixer bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add pistachios. Reduce speed to low; gradually add powdered sugar 1/3 cup at a time and beat just until smooth. If desired, add more sugar at this point to get to the desired consistency and taste you want.  Add optional food coloring and almond extract, if you want.

2. When ready to assemble macarons, fit a large disposable pastry bag with a round tip and fill with frosting. Pipe about a tablespoon of frosting onto the bottom of half the shells, then sandwich with remaining shells. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to three days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
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