This recipe for chocolate macarons will show you the most straightforward method to make these French-style sandwich cookies. So decadent & impressive!
Chocolate macarons are quite popular in high-end bakeries. But, where did they come from? There is much debate about whether macarons originated in France or Italy. I’ll tell you, there is no definitive answer here. But, for this recipe, we will be using the French macaron technique.
Want to learn all the tips and tricks (and a little bit of history) on the macaron? Read my guide for The Perfect French Macarons to go more in depth on this delicious little cookie.
Baking Mats Tip: One of our favorite tools for making macarons are silicone mats in lieu of parchment paper. Not only are they reusable, but they are also less prone to sticking to the cookies.
How to Make this Chocolate Macarons Recipe
Here is a brief overview of the process so you can see that this impressive cookie is actually not that hard to make:
- Make the Meringue: Beat your egg whites (save the egg yolks for a breakfast omelet) with the powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment at medium-high speed until you see soft peaks form.
- Sift the Dry Ingredients: Sift your cocoa powder and almond flour with a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps. This is a crucial step in making your macarons smooth and uniform.
- Fold the Dry Ingredients into the Meringue: Lightly fold the sifted dry ingredients into your meringue. Be careful not to over mix! This will result in flat discs, versus light and fluffy wafers.
- Pipe the Batter: Transfer the macaron batter to a pastry bag (also called a piping bag). Pipe small, circular discs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow the wafers to “dry out” at room temperature on the counter for around 20 minutes before baking.
- Bake the Wafers: Preheat your oven. Bake for at least 13 minutes. Depending on the oven, I have had to go up to 20 minutes.
- Make the Ganache & Assemble: Make your ganache filling. Allow it to cool. Then assemble your macarons!
Note: Macarons are best when they have been refrigerated for at least 24 hours (or up to two days) before serving. They are never eaten straight out of the oven. This process is called “maturing”, but what it means in plain terms is allowing your cookies to develop the best flavors possible!
Making the Chocolate Ganache Filling
We absolutely love this ganache filling. Why? Because it is delicious and it only requires two ingredients to make. This is a relief after making the delicate (and at times fickle) sandwich wafers. Here’s how to make the ganache:
- Melt the Butter & Chocolate Chips: First, melt the butter and semi-sweet chocolate chips (you can also use dark chocolate or milk chocolate chips or even equal parts Nutella if you’d like) together in a small saucepan over medium-heat. Continue to stir the ingredients together with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth in consistency.
- Cool the Ganache: Allow the ganache filling to cool to room temperature.
- Pipe the Ganache: Lastly, transfer the ganache into a piping bag. Next, pipe the ganache onto the flat side of one wafer and then place another on top.
Note: You can also melt the ganache using a double broiler or by creating your own by putting heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water.
5 Tips for the Perfect Chocolate Macarons
Making macarons isn’t as hard as it’s “cracked” up to be (see what we did there?). Follow these 5 foolproof pointers to make French-bakery worthy cookie sandwiches.
- Sift the dry ingredients for the best texture. Sifting the dry ingredients isn’t optional. You must remove any lumps from the almond flour and cocoa powder to get those perfectly textured shells.
- Don’t over mix the batter. Only mix the batter until the dry ingredients and meringue are just combined. Over mixing will result in flat macaron shells.
- Enlist the help of a piping bag. A piping bag will help you get the perfect macaron discs and will also assist with piping the ganache. Whatever you do, don’t try to form the wafers or pipe the ganache by hand – it will just cause a mess.
- Give the macaron batter time to set. Giving the piped shells at least 20 minutes to rest at room temperature will help them to form that signature shiny shell in the oven.
- Bake the macarons on the center oven rack. To prevent the tops of the macarons from getting scorched, bake the shells on the center rack of the oven.
Hot Tip: Add a little bit of raspberry jam on top of the ganache for a pop of fruity flavor.
Why Almond Flour is Necessary for Macarons
Almond flour is what gives macarons their signature texture and flavor. For most recipes, you will be asked to use blanched almond flour, which means the skins of the nuts were removed before they were milled (or ground into a fine flour). This type of almond flour will result in the silkiest and most uniform of macarons. If you used unblanched almond flour (which is totally fine), you will get a more coarse texture and a cute, speckled appearance.
Note: You may have an allergy to almond flour or are simply wondering if there is any other type of flour you can substitute. I know some people have used pumpkin seed flour, but to be honest, I don’t have any experience or tips here.
Why Did My Macarons Crack?
There are a couple of reasons why your macarons are cracking. The main one is most likely that you didn’t let them dry out at room temperature long enough before baking them. We recommend a minimum of 20 minutes. You will notice that this allows them to form an outer shell, which will protect them from cracking in the oven.
Hot Tip: After piping your macarons, tap the outer edge of your baking sheet lightly a couple of times. This will release any air bubbles that may be lurking within your macaron batter. During the baking process, these pesky bubbles will expand and crack through the top of your cookie.
Storing Chocolate Macarons
Macarons are awesome rainy day treats because you can store them in the fridge and freezer and they have a longer shelf life than other cookies.
- Refrigerator: Store leftover macarons in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks. Never store them at room temperature, or else they will go stale and lose their signature chewiness.
- Freezer: Freeze macarons by placing them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and popping the baking sheet into the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the macarons to a freezer-safe plastic bag for up to 3 months. To thaw the macarons, allow them to sit in the refrigerator overnight.
What is the difference of a macaron and a macaroon?
Macarons are delicate French sandwich cookies made with almond flour, while macaroons are haystack-style cookies made with coconut shreds. Although the spelling is similar, they couldn’t be more different.
Are chocolate macarons supposed to be soft or crunchy?
Chocolate macarons are supposed to be soft on the inside with a slightly crunchy outer shell. You’ll know your macaron is perfect when it kind of cracks as you bite into the shell.
Can you make chocolate macarons with all purpose flour?
Unfortunately, you cannot make chocolate macarons with all-purpose flour. Almond flour is what gives them their signature soft, yet chewy texture.
Why are my chocolate macarons crumbly?
There’s two main reasons that your chocolate macarons turned out crumbly. The first is that the meringue wasn’t strong enough and whipped to soft peaks. The other reason is that the shells were baked at too high of temperature, causing them to crack and dry out.
Will chocolate macarons soften in the fridge?
Yes, macarons will soften as they mature in the fridge. This gives them their signature chewy and irresistible texture.
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- Dulce de Leche Macarons – Ridiculously caramely macarons
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- In a bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the egg whites with granulated sugar until they begin to rise and hold their shape.
- Sift powdered sugar, cocoa and almond flour to get rid of any lumps.
- Stir in dry ingredients into egg whites. Be sure not to over mix the ingredients.
- Place plastic bag or pastry bag into a cup to hold it straight. I would suggest a pastry bag, hence once you cut off the edge of a plastic bag it may not be a round shape. In this case, I wasn’t going to make a trip to the store, so I did use a ziplock bag. Pour the entire mixture into the bag.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Pipe circles into the baking sheet, making them thick. Tap baking sheet at least 3 times on each side, this will get rid of any air bubbles and will prevent from cracks. Let macarons sit in room temperature for about 20 minutes, they will create a bit of a shell, also helps from cracks on top.
- Bake macarons at 350 °F for 13-15 minutes, depending on your oven. I would suggest checking them after 13 minutes or so.
Macaron Chocolate Cream
- Place butter together with chocolate chips in a glass bowl.
- Microwave chocolate with butter in 30-second increments. Stir to combine it together every 30 seconds to ensure that the mixture is perfectly creamy. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature.