Chocolate-covered Strawberry Macarons

Love Sucks But Macarons Don’t

Macarons are the French pastry of taste bud heaven, but execution hell. This recipe is made using the Italian meringue method, which is a much less temperamental meringue than a French meringue.  I have had a long fascination with macarons. To me, they seemed to be a sort of magical cookie, something the average cook would never be able to recreate in their own kitchen. Readers of this blog probably know by now that one of my hobbies is baking – actually, my hobby is food, but let’s call it baking. One summer, a group of friends and I started a cooking club, one of the dishes on the menu was macarons. Years later, when my family went on vacation to France, one of the activities I chose to do was to take a class on making macarons at La Cuisine Paris.

The class was held in the basement of a small store-front in Paris’ 4th arrondissement.  Our teacher was friendly, helpful, and thorough. There is no doubt that she demystified the process of making macarons. Macarons are a tricky dessert, but they aren’t as difficult as they might seem. These days, I’m no longer afraid or intimidated by making them. For Christmas, I whipped up a batch of the original pistachio ones for one of my friends from the cooking club. For the blog, in horror, I mean honor of Valentine’s Day, I decided to make my version of a chocolate-covered strawberry by sharing this recipe for chocolate-covered strawberry jam macarons. If you’re a fan of a strawberries and chocolate combination, I think you’ll like this recipe. If you’re looking for a personalized gift for your special someone, or if you just want to treat yo’self, macarons are the perfect choice.  By the way, I call this recipe: Love Sucks, But Macarons Don’t.

Making Macarons in Paris, La Cuisine Paris. Photo Credit: I'mari Avey. Chocolate covered Strawberry Macaron Recipe. Alwaysuttori.com
Macaron Pastry Class at La Cuisine in Paris.
Plate of Macarons. Photo Credit: I'mari Avey. Chocolate covered Strawberry Macaron Recipe. Alwaysuttori.com
Me working on my macarons, my brother wandering around.
LOVE SUCKS, BUT MACARONS DON’T

Ingredients: Almond Paste

200g (approx. 1 ¾ c) ground almonds

200g (approx. 1 1/3 c) powdered sugar

73 g (approx. 3 egg whites) egg whites

Red food coloring (powdered or paste if you can find)

Ingredients: Meringue

200 g (approx. 1 c) sugar

50 g (approx. ¼ c) water

73 g (approx. 3) aged egg whites (left out overnight)

Strawberry or raspberry jam

½ c chocolate chips of choice (milk, dark, semi-sweet)

Directions

Prepare almond mixture

Sift almonds and powdered sugar in bowl. Mix in egg whites and red food coloring. Add in enough coloring until you get the color you want. Keep in mind that it will fade when we add the meringue, so if you want it really pigmented, the paste should be pretty vibrant. Mix well.

Italian Meringue

Place the aged egg whites in a stand mixer and set aside. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring sugar and water to boil. Cook until the mixture reaches 235F on a candy thermometer. Allow the mixture to continue cooking, but begin whipping the egg whites. While egg whites are whipping, check the sugar mixture. Once it reaches 244F, remove from heat. Slowly pour the sugar mixture into the egg whites with the mixer still going. Let the eggs whip until the bowl is cool to the touch, about 10 minutes.

Gently fold the meringue into the almond mixture a small amount at a time until well incorporated. Scoop mixture into a pastry bag with a 10mm tip.

Cover a baking pan with parchment paper. Pipe small circles onto the paper by holding pastry bag in one spot until the cookie has spread out to about ½ inch in diameter.  Once all the cookies have been piped, allow them to rest for 15-30 min.  Bake the cookies at 320F for approximately 12 min. Cool completely before attempting to remove from paper.

While macarons are cooling, prepare the chocolate coating. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave ½ c of chocolate chips for 30 seconds, and then stir until smooth. If chocolate does not melt enough to stir smoothly,  continue microwaving in additional 10 second bursts as needed.

Assemble

Match your macarons into pairs by similar size.

Take the top cookie of each set and dip into the chocolate. Repeat until all cookies are topped. Put aside to let the chocolate set. Once the chocolate is set, spoon jam onto the second cookie of the pair. Place the two macarons together. Press and twist lightly to secure the two cookies.  Continue until all the macarons are done.

Enjoy the cookies yourself, or give as a gift.