These chewy Chocolate Orange Macarons were inspired by candied orange rinds dipped in chocolate. Stiffly whipped egg whites, powdered sugar, almonds, and cocoa form perfect circles of chewy chocolate cookies that are naturally gluten-free. Then, sandwich two of these macarons with a chocolate-orange ganache that literally melts in your mouth. It is impossible to eat just one of these.
Despite their reputation of being difficult to master, macarons couldn't be easier. The following two pointers will help you achieve success: The first is to buy finely ground almond flour or almond meal for this recipe. Processing almonds cannot achieve the powdery texture needed. The second tip is to make these on a dry day. Humidity is the enemy of any meringue-based cookie. As with all macarons, the measurements are crucial, so only weights have been provided.
100 grams almond flour (3 ½ ounces)170 grams powdered sugar (6 ounces)
15 grams cocoa, natural or Dutch (½ ounce)
100 grams large egg whites, room temperature* (3 ½ ounces)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
35 grams superfine granulated sugar** (1 ¼ ounces)
*The egg white measurement is a bit tricky. The weight of whites and yolks can vary slightly within each egg. I use 3 eggs, plus a bit more, to obtain the amount needed. The easiest way to measure the “bit more,” is to whip an extra white with a fork until it is broken up and foamy.
It can then be added a bit at a time until the correct weight is reached.
**Superfine sugar can be made by processing granulated sugar for about 45 seconds. However, it is difficult to process the small amount this recipe calls for. To obtain the 35 grams, process 1 cup of granulated sugar and weigh the amount needed. The rest can be kept in a jar for later use or used in place of regular granulated sugar in another recipe.
Make a template by drawing 1 ¾” circles about 2" apart on parchment paper
In the bowl of a processor combine the almond flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa. Process to mix completely. Sift the mixture to remove any lumps. Set aside.
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a mixer. Whip the whites until soft peaks form. Add the granulated sugar slowly and whip just until stiff peaks form. They are ready when the egg whites hold a peak without drooping. Do not overwhip.
Fold the almond flour mixture into the egg whites in 3 batches, making sure to cut through to the bottom of the meringue and fold it up and over, scraping the sides as needed.
The meringue is ready to pipe when it falls from a rubber spatula back into the bowl in ribbons.
Place the template on a baking sheet and cover it with another piece of parchment paper.
Fit a piping bag with a ½” plain tip. Fill the bag with about half of the meringue. Holding the bag ½” above the template circle, pipe the meringue to within ⅛” of the edges. It will flow out to fill the circle. Remove the template when done.
As soon as the baking sheet is piped, hold it several inches above the counter and drop it several times to remove any air bubbles. If any remain, prick them with a cake tester.
Allow the cookies to dry at room temperature for about 30 minutes or until they are dry to the touch. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 325°F / 163°C, and place the oven rack in the middle. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes until done. To test for doneness, move the top of a macaron. If it wiggles, it isn't done.
Let the macarons cool for about 5 minutes, then remove them from the paper.
These can be made a week or more ahead. Just keep in an airtight container until needed.
½ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ teaspoon instant coffee
2 teaspoons orange zest
3 ½ ounces of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (100 grams)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Place the cream, coffee, and orange zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, but do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and vanilla. Let sit for several minutes, then whisk gently to smooth out. Be sure to scrape the corners and edges with a rubber spatula to make sure all of the chocolate is incorporated. Chill to firm so it can be piped.
Pair the macarons by matching size and shape. Fit a piping bag with a ⅜” plain tip. Pipe the ganache on the underside of the bottom cookie to within ⅛” of the edge.
Place the top cookie and gently press down to bring the ganache to the edges.
Yield: 24 Chocolate Orange Macarons
Storage: These may be held at room temperature in an airtight container for several days. They can also be frozen for longer storage.