Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Almond Macaroons with Chocolate Ganache Filling

Now that the horrible case of Pneumonia is leaving my system, I am ready to start posting some more great recipes. It's cookie season and most home bakers will be very busy this week. I am sharing this recipe that I tried during Thanksgiving for Almond Macaroons with Chocolate Ganache filling. I really loved the taste and texture of these cookies and will definitely be making them for my family and friends this Christmas.

This recipe comes from cookbook Flour: spectacular recipes from Bostons Flour Bakery and Cafe by Joanne Chang. Everything I have tried so far in this book has come out amazing. The recipes are easy enough to do at home, but come out very professional.

These cookies gave me a tiny bit of trouble but with an easy solution. I found the cookies to spread a little thin. What I decided to do was to take them out of the oven closer to 20 minutes and cut them with a round biscuit or cookie cutter to make perfect circles. An important step with these cookies is to let them cool COMPLETELY on the cookie sheet before transferring them. I am ALWAYS impatient at this point and have ruined many cookies by not waiting. This time I will force myself to wait until they are cooled before I move them.
 ***These cookies are naturally gluten free.

Almond Macaroons with Chocolate Ganache Filling
Makes about 20 sandwiches
Almond Macaroons shown in 2nd and 4th row

3 1/4 cups blanched whole almonds (I couldn't find whole, so I used slivered)
2 2/3 cups sugar
6 egg whites
2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate-chopped
1 cup heavy cream

1. Position rack in center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or sil-mat.

2. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until ground into fine powder. (Stop grinding once they reach a powder to prevent making paste) Remove 1 cup and set aside. Add in sugar to the almonds left in the food processor and pulse for 10-15 seconds. Add in egg whites and continue to process for 30 seconds or until well combined.

3. Transfer almond paste in a medium bowl and fold in reserved ground almonds. Fold in extract and salt.

4. Using your hands (dampen with cold water) or using a small spoon, make walnut sized rounds of batter and place them 2" apart on baking sheet. You should have about 40.

5. Bake cookies 20-25 minutes or until the cookies are light golden brown around the edges. Let cool completely on baking sheet on a wire rack.

6. To make the ganache: While the cookies are cooling place the chocolate in a medium-heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan, scald the cream (bubbles start to form around the edges of pan but do not boil). Pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit 30 seconds. Slowly whisk together until the chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool to room temperature (or cooler in the refrigerator) at least 1 hour until ganache is thick and spreadable. (This can be made ahead of time and stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks)

7. Remove the cookies from parchment paper. Spread about 1 tbsp of chocolate ganache on flat side of cookie. Top with second cookie and repeat until all cookies are sandwiched together.

Cookies can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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