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Delight on Valentine's Day


French Chocolate Macarons



macaron
Mais Oui!Delight on Valentine’s Day

France. Chocolate. Dessert. Each of these things are often associated with romance and love. Put these three elements together on Valentine’s Day and the result is sure to please.

You've likely seen macarons, a light and airy meringue confection made from egg whites, sugar and various flavorings, in sweet shops or bakeries. Chewy, sweet, and full of wonderful almond flavor, you and your sweeties will all be impressed with this fancy, fun, French dessert. 

Chocolate Macarons With Raspberry Buttercream

Makes approximately 10 large or 40 small macarons

Ingredients:

• 1 3⁄4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

• Scant 1 cup ground almonds

• 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

• 4 egg whites

• Tiny pinch of salt

• Raspberry buttercream (below)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Put the confectioners’ sugar, ground almonds and cocoa in a blender or spice grinder and process for about 1 minute to refine the almonds and combine everything.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt in a clean, dry bowl until firm. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold in the almond mixture.

3. Carefully spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with the size 10 tip for small cookies, or size 12 for larger macaroons. Pipe twenty 21⁄2-inch macaroons or eighty 11⁄4-inch ones onto the prepared baking sheets.

4. Bake with the oven door slightly ajar (to allow steam to escape) for about 8 minutes for the small macaroons or 12 minutes for the larger ones. Don’t overcook or they won’t be soft inside. Carefully lift the macaroons off the paper and let cool on a wire rack.

5. Sandwich in pairs with a thin layer of raspberry buttercream. Arrange the macaroons in layers between aluminum foil or parchment paper in an airtight container and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving. This will help them become chewy. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Raspberry Buttercream

• 6 egg yolks

• 1 cup sugar

• 4 sticks unsalted butter, softened

• 12 ounces frozen raspberries

• 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

• Confectioners’ sugar, to taste

• Pink food coloring, if desired

1. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks until pale and creamy. 

2. Put the sugar and 1⁄2 cup water in a small pan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and boil hard until it reaches 240 F. Immediately remove from the heat and pour the hot syrup onto the egg yolks in a steady stream, beating continuously until the mixture is a pale, thick mousse. Cream the butter in a separate bowl then beat in the melted chocolate. Beat this into the egg yolk mixture.

3. Take the frozen raspberries and thaw them in a strainer placed over a bowl. Press them gently with the back of a spoon to squeeze out the juice. Put the juice in a small pan and boil it hard until it has reduced to 3 tablespoons.

4. Press the raspberries through the strainer and mix the strained puree with the reduced raspberry syrup and the lemon juice. Sweeten with sifted confectioners’ sugar to taste. Beat this into the buttercream. Add pink food coloring if you desire a deeper shade of pink. 

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