If found that making these during my daughter's naptime last week was a good idea. While we love to do baking projects together, baking macaroons is a delicate process best left to times when you are alone in the kitchen, or have an able sous chef (i.e. someone over the age of 2!) Mixing the batter is quite simple, but it is important to head the advice of the recipe and not overbeat, overwhip or overfold. Macaroons are delicate to eat and their fragility begins the moment you start the batter.
My favorite part about this challenge, of course, we filling them with Nutella. At first I was considering a citrus flavored filling, but then I spotted my jar of Nutella and was instantly hooked on the idea. I'll admit, once everything was assembled it was next to impossible not to devour them all immediately, getting my family to keep their hands off while I photographed was quite difficult. And, don't be fooled by the photograph, it took me many minutes of trimming and molding to get three relatively uniform macaroons. Not all of them look this good, I just happen to make these three beauties and chose them to be the standouts. Just looking at this photo makes me think that they would pretty in a clear bag with a red ribbon to be given as a gift. This is something I'll have to keep in mind for Christmas.
adapted from Claudia Fleming's The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern
2 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
2 c. almond flour
2 T. granulated sugar
3 t. unsweetened cocoa powder
5 egg whites, at room temperature
1 jar Nutella, for macaroon filling
1. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. Add the cocoa powder and continue to fold into the egg whites. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip. You could also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F. Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.
8. To fill, swipe the bottom of one half of the macaroon with nutella and sandwich with a second half.