Raspberry Chocolate French Macaroons

December 14, 2012




One of the best things about the Christmas season is all the delicious cookies. Cookies are probably one of my favorite desserts and Christmas cookies of all sorts are at the top of the cookie list.

I do have a slight problem with Christmas cookies though. I don’t have the patience during the holidays to bake them; I just want to eat them. Anyone else share in this lazy issue?

Thankfully I have wonderful friends like my friend Angie, who spent an entire Saturday baking delicious Christmas cookies that I was able to indulge in.

Not only did she bake a variety of Christmas goodness, she took step by step pictures of how to make one of the most scrumptious cookies I have ever tasted. They literally melt in your mouth.

So, from her bakery {aka The Mental House} to our eyes, here are the ins and outs of making Raspberry Chocolate French Macaroons.

For those of you who attempt a batch of these yummy bite sized cookies, feel free to send them my way. I’d be happy to taste test for you. J

Happy baking!

xoxo,
Krista


Raspberry Chocolate French Macaroons

yield: Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies
active time: 45 min
total time: 1 3/4 hr

Dainty pink cookies sandwiched together with a silky ganache look as if they belong on a restaurant's petits fours plate. 
In fact, the perfect little rounds can be made with a makeshift pastry bag.


For macaroons
6 oz sliced blanched almonds (not slivered; 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 large egg whites
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Red or pink food coloring

For chocolate raspberry ganache
3 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (60 to 64% cacao), finely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/16 teaspoon raspberry extract (preferably McCormick brand)

Special equipment: parchment paper; a gallon-size sealable plastic bag (not pleated)

Make macaroons:
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Pulse almonds with 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar in a food processor until very finely ground, 2 to 3 minutes, and then transfer to a bowl. Sift in remaining cup confectioners’ sugar, stirring to combine.



Beat egg whites with salt in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add granulated sugar, a little at a time, beating, and then increase speed to high and continue to beat until whites just hold stiff, glossy peaks. Add drops of food coloring to reach desired shade and mix at low speed until evenly combined. Stir almond mixture into meringue with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. (Meringue will deflate.)




Spoon batter into bag, pressing out excess air, and snip off 1 corner of plastic bag to create a 1/4-inch opening. Twist bag firmly just above batter, then pipe peaked mounds of batter (the size of a chocolate kiss) onto lined sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Let cookies stand, uncovered, at room temperature until tops are no longer sticky and a light crust forms, 20 to 30 minutes.



Meanwhile, put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 300°F.
Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until crisp and edges are just slightly darker, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on sheets on racks, about 30 minutes.


Make ganache while macaroons bake:
Melt chocolate with cream in a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in top of a double boiler, stirring until smooth. (Bowl should not touch water.) Remove bowl from heat, then add butter and raspberry extract, stirring until butter is melted. Let stand at room temperature until cooled completely and slightly thickened.


Assemble cookies:
Carefully peel cookies from parchment (they will be fragile). Sandwich a thin layer of ganache (about 1/2 teaspoon) between flat sides of cookies.



Cooks' note: Filled macaroons keep in an airtight container at room temperature 3 days.

Photos by angela ballard
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