I recently got a book called i *love* macarons by Hisako Ogita (with a heart instead of the word love) because I do, in fact, love macarons.
(I just looked at the book on Amazon and the price really went up! Maybe it's now out of print???)
I love to make macarons, but don't do it TOO often because of the time it takes...
There was a recipe in Gourmet Magazine a few years ago- you could probably still find it on their website even though the magazine is *sadly* now out of print (as of November 2009). Lucky for me I saved my issues and use them for reference all the time!
*Here's a link to one of the recipe variations from Gourmet- espresso-blackberry macarons
Macarons are perfect little cookies when you want something a little fancy. I'd tried them with lemon zest as well as plain with a little pink food dye. I'd tried them with lemon curd (which I LOVE, but not in these cookies) as well as with I decided to try one of the variations of macarons with cocoa powder. I had read somewhere (maybe Gourmet) that chocolate macarons were a tad finicky, and so I was a little apprehensive about giving them a whirl... long story short they turned out just fine.
I found the techniques a little different from the Gourmet recipe (which was more simple), but the results were good!
Here are the ingredients for macarons: ground almonds, powdered sugar, cocoa powder,
and egg whites.
First we whiz the almonds, cocoa, and sugar together in a food processor to mix things up and break them down. Then we whisk the egg whites in a mixer, adding a little granlulated sugar. Yay, meringue!
When we have stiff peaks we fold the almond mixture into the whites (which, of course, deflates a little).
After that we mix and fold with a spatula, pressing the mixture against the sides of the bowl.
The batter is scooped into a pastry bag and piped onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. You know, they always look so good when initially piped, but somehow they seem to always spread unevenly.
I think it's because the parchment paper is in rolls which usually ends up having hills and valleys when unrolled. One good tip is to put a tad of the batter on each corner of the parchment to help "glue" it to the baking sheet so is stays somewhat flat.
Now the batter has to sit for about half an hour so that it dries a little. When it's dry to the touch and doesn't stick to a finger when touched lightly it's ready to be baked.
When it's finished, it should have a "pied" or foot (the little ruffled part at the bottom). Apparently this is what a macaron MUST look like to legally be called a macaron.
When cool you can sandwich jam, lemon curd, ganache, or cream between two cookies.
I followed the recipe for the pastry cream in this book and added raspberry jam, however, I think it would be easier to go with a plain buttercream recipe from a standard cookbook and add some jam for flavor (or not).
I think they're better if they have a chance to sit (in a covered container) at least a couple of hours. The texture is a little crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside- and the chocolate/raspberry combination is one of my favorites!