Hello! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday filled with loved ones and scrumptious food! Even though Christmas may be over, winter is just really starting. And let me tell you one of the best things to have in winter is a peppermint hot chocolate (a spiked version doesn’t hurt either 😉). With that inspiration in mind I give you dark chocolate peppermint macarons!
Of course it probably would have been nice to show these little beauties BEFORE Christmas, but that would have meant I actually have my act together. Ha! You all know how it works, full time job, holiday gift shopping, parties, baking, travel, etc…before we know it the holidays have come and gone.
On the bright side, you all now have a full year to practice making these macarons before next Christmas! I’ve just given you the gift of time! 🙌 Ta Da! You’re welcome!
Some of you may know that I’ve been practicing making macarons for YEARS now. Slowly and (not so) patiently trying to become a macaron master. I’ve tried each of the three main ways of making macarons, using a French meringue, Swiss meringue, and Italian meringue. Earlier this year I did a post on classic macarons using the French meringue method that I had become very comfortable with using. But about halfway through the year I started having issues with the consistency of my macarons. Troubles with the meringue, runny batter, tough batter, hollow shells, you name it. So I started trying out new methods/recipes.
First I tried the Swiss meringue method, which wasn’t too bad, especially since I had begun making Swiss meringue buttercream this year. The results were better but still not quite what I wanted. Around this time I had also purchased Tomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery cookbook, which has a macaron recipe using Italian meringue… I was not just intrigued by this cookbook, but very intimidated!
Each recipe is long, detailed, and comes with very specific measurements. I had myself a little Julie and Julia moment and decided it would be great to slowly work my way through the book, improving my baking knowledge and skills along the way. Haven’t made it through very many recipes yet, but you can be sure I’ve been practicing the macarons – Thomas Keller style! So far they’ve been pretty successful and have been coming out more consistently than any other recipe I’ve tried. If you’re not up for conquering the Italian method of macarons just yet, try starting out with French method. It’s honestly the easier place to start and learn.
Fair warning: the macaron recipe is looong and involved. The ganache recipe is not! Totally try out the ganache recipe on it’s own and use it as a filling for other cookies too!
- 212 grams sifted almond meal/flour
- 212 grams sifted powdered sugar
- 82 grams egg whites
- 90 grams egg whites
- 236 grams granulated sugar
- 158 grams water
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
- red gel food coloring (optional)
- 4 oz semi or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ¾ tsp peppermint extract
- ½ TBS butter
- Prepare 2-3 sheet pans by lining with parchment paper. On the underside of each sheet of parchment, draw a template of 1½ inch circles, leaving at least an inch of space between each circle.
- Sift together almond flour & powdered sugar into a large bowl, discarding any large pieces that remain in the sieve. Whisk together until evenly combined.
- In the center of almond/sugar mixture, make a small well an add in the 82 grams of egg whites. Using a rubber spatula, mix the egg whites into the mixture until a thick paste forms. Stir in the peppermint extract, if using. (At this point you can split the paste in half in separate bowls and add red gel coloring to one half of the mixture.)
- Place remaining 90 grams of egg whites into a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Combine granulated sugar and water together in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and the temperature reaches 203°F. (Do not stir while syrup is cooking. It is also helpful to use a candy thermometer for accurate temperature.)
- While the syrup continues to cook, turn the mixer to medium speed and whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Continue cooking syrup over medium-high to high heat until it reaches 248°F.
- Once syrup is at 248°F, turn mixer to medium-low speed and slowly add syrup in a thin steady line between the side of the bowl and the whisk; the meringue will deflate. Increase to high speed and whip for 5 minutes or until the meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks. The bowl may still be slightly warm, but the meringue should be cool to the touch; if not, continue to whip until cool.
- Fold in a spatula sized blob of meringue mixture into the almond paste mixture to loosen up the paste. Continue adding meringue to mixture until it falls off the spatula in a "ribbon" and moves like slow lava; sweeping the spatula around the outside of bowl and then cutting through the middle to combine. (If using two different colors of almond paste, follow the same step but split the meringue in half so an even amount is used for each color of paste.)
- Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a round tip (about ½ inch in size). (If using two colors, place each color into its own small piping bag then place both colors into a larger piping bag fitted with a round tip.) Holding bag upright, pipe circles onto parchment paper until each circle is almost filled, batter will spread slightly.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Let piped macarons rest at room temperature for 30-60 min or until macarons are no longer sticky when lightly touched. Place sheet pan into oven and immediately lower temperature to 325°F. Bake for 9-12 min, until tops are set and there is little to no jiggle from the "feet" when lightly touched. Cool completely on wire rack.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and bake remaining macarons. Once cool, fill with ganache and store in refrigerator. Let come to room temp before serving.
- Place chocolate into heat proof bowl. Heat cream until just simmering, do not boil. Pour over chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds.
- Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is combined. Add in butter and peppermint extract and stir until incorporated.
- Let sit at room temperature until mixture reaches piping consistency, a few hours.