Sooooo... um.... these are amazing.
I didn't think I liked macarons because so many of the ones I had tried were SSSSSOOOOO sweeeeet. I couldn't even taste flavor because all I could taste was pure SUGAR.
That all changed one day when I tried a macaron that had a much more balanced flavor due to the fact that the inside wasn't quite so sweet. Not to be dramatic but it changed my life forever.
Enter my quest to create some freakishly amazing macaron flavors. And boy did I nail it with this one.
Chocolate macaron shell + crumbled brownie + an ermine coconut buttercream + toasted coconut = game over.
If you have never made macarons before, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. I'm sure if macarons are on your "to bake" list you've read the incredibly long and detailed tutorials and watched the youtube videos and shed tears over botched batches - because honestly, are you truly a baker if you've never botched a batch of SOMETHING?
BUT, with that being said... I do have a little trick up my sleeve that helps nail these finicky little nightmare cookies every single time. A secret ingredient that helps strengthen the meringue. A super secret ingredient that will not be all that super secret after today:
Call it a cheat, call it a savior, call it whatever you want. That stuff knows how to get things done.
Before we dive into the recipe let's talk about a few things:
Egg whites. You want ZERO and I mean ZERO yolk in there. Like negative one million yolk in there. Also you want them room temperature. Also you want them aged. Which means that you've separated them like a few days in advance and you pull them out of the fridge a couple of hours before you want to bake. You need to have a fortune teller in your house that tells you that you're going to get a hankering for little fancy french cookies in the next couple of days. OOORR do what I do and just save all your egg whites whenever you make a recipe that only calls for yolks. They will stay good in the fridge for a few weeks - then you just have to pull them out the morning you want to bake. No fortune teller required. Unless you really REALLY want one. You do you.
I like to run my powdered sugar and almond flour through my food processor for a good long while. I don't sift afterward. It's usually pulverized to within an inch of floating off into the atmosphere on the slightest wisp of any wind. Literally... ANY wind... don't read too far into that. ANYWAY... Sifting the powdered sugar and almond flour a few times is supposed to make your shells smooth as a baby's butt. My shells get prettttyyy dang smooth without the added headache. This part is up to you and your perfectionist brain.
Speaking of a powder whose density is lighter than oxygen itself... the meringue powder. It is such a fine powder and I've used it enough times I wouldn't be surprised if my actual lungs had a tiny coating of this magic powder all along the insides of them. Worth it. BUT, make sure when you are adding to your egg whites you keep your mixer on low speed to prevent as much of that sweet sweet magic dust from wafting into oblivion.
MACARONAGE- watch a video. For real. Watch this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTaRcuIGA1c It's literally two minutes. It's a great one.
You'll need some special equipment to nail these suckers. First of all: A scale to weigh your ingredients - I have this exact one and it works very well and won't break the bank. You'll also need piping bags: HERE are some strong disposable ones. NOTHING is worse than buying crappy disposable piping bags and having holes burst through the seams of them. NOTHING. If you're not opposed to washing an extra dish, HERE are reusable pastry bags that don't come with any crappy piping tips. OR you can snip the end off of a Ziploc bag. It's not fancy but it gets the job done! You'll also need some silicone mats: HERE is a pack of 4 plain ones. They are all half size (fit a normal cookie sheet) which is super nice. HERE is a pack of 4 that comes with the cute little macaron circle guidelines. This pack comes with 2 half size and 2 quarter size.
Coconut Brownie Chunk Macarons
Prep time: 1 hour (plus aging egg whites)
Cook time: 14 minutes
Total time: 2 hours
Yield: 35 sandwiched macarons- about 70 small shells
Your favorite brownies mixed, baked and cooled. Even use a box mix if you'd like!
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted and cooled
For the Chocolate Macaron Shells:
260 grams almond flour (finely ground is best)
260 grams powdered sugar
4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
200 grams egg whites
180 grams granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
Brown food coloring
For the Coconut Ermine Buttercream:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole milk
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon coconut extract
3/4 cup salted butter (1 1/2 sticks) taken out of the fridge about 20 minutes prior to making buttercream, cut into 1 inch chunks
For the Chocolate Macaron Shells:
Weigh out your almond flour and powdered sugar and add it to the bowl of your food processor. Add 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder and pulse until everything is evenly mixed and has become like powder. Set aside.
Make sure the bowl of your electric mixer is completely clean and dry. Add your egg whites to the bowl and whip on low speed until small bubbles appear all over the surface of the egg whites. Slowly sprinkle cream of tartar and meringue powder over the surface of the bubbles and mix on low speed until incorporated.
Speed the mixer up to 3/4 speed and add 1/3 of your granulated sugar. Continue mixing until egg whites look like shaving cream. Add half of your remaining sugar and whip until soft peaks. Once soft peaks have been reached add any remaining granulated sugar and whip at full speed until hard peaks form.
Your mixture should look super shiny and fluffy at this point. This is when you will want to add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix until the meringue stands straight up on your whisk when you pull it out of the meringue mixture.
Using a rubber spatula, fold your almond flour mixture into your meringue. (Using the method you watched in the above youtube video) Add 2 drops of brown food coloring to your mixture once you've added all the almond flour mixture and mix using the macaronage technique until you can accomplish the figure 8 test. At this point the batter should look shiny again!
Transfer your mixture to a piping bag (I like to use a 1A piping tip). Pipe small circles on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. The batter will spread as it sits so make sure to space your small circles about 2 inches apart. Tap the baking sheet on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. You can pop any stubborn air bubbles with a toothpick.
**THIS PART IS SUPER IMPORTANT: Let your baking sheets sit out at room temperature so your piped cookie batter can dry. It will form a skin over the top that isn't sticky anymore once lightly touched, and has a matte sheen to it. While they are drying preheat your oven 320 degrees F. Bake your macarons for 14 minutes, rotating once halfway through the baking cycle. You can test your macarons to see if they are done by lightly pressing the tops of the cookies. The feet should not move.
Remove macarons from the oven and allow to come to room temperature. Carefully remove from the mats and match shells by size.
For the Coconut Ermine Buttercream:
Combine sugar, flour, milk and cream together in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together and continue stirring until it boils and becomes thick.
Carefully transfer hot mixture to your electric mixer and beat on high with paddle attachment until mixture cools to room temperature. Add vanilla extract and coconut extract. Slow the speed of your mixer to about half and add your butter 1 small chunk at a time until it's all been incorporated. Increase the speed of your mixer and whip until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
*If you add your butter too soon the butter will melt and you won't get a light buttercream. Transfer your mixer to your fridge and allow everything to cool down. Whip again and it should get fluffy!
To assemble macarons:
Pipe a circle of coconut buttercream around the edges of one macaron shell leaving a small circle in the middle. Stuff cooked and cooled brownie crumbles into that small circle you left and then carefully sandwich another macaron shell on top. Dip edges into bowl of toasted coconut so that the coconut sticks to the buttercream. ENJOY!
If you have ANY questions do not hesitate to google it. I mean message me. That's what I meant.