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Lavender Macarons with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Serves: Makes 35 sandwich cookies

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces powdered sugar
  • 4 ounces almond flour or meal
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 3-½ ounces granulated sugar
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon pure lavender extract
  • ¼ teaspoon lavender food coloring (optional)
  • Dark chocolate ganache (recipe follows)


Dark Chocolate Ganache:

Yields 1 cup

  • 6 ounces heavy cream
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon cognac or brandy (optional)


Procedures:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, if using double-baking sheet cooking method. Otherwise, pre-heat oven to 325 degrees, if using single baking sheet cooking method.

Prepare the baking sheets with the parchment paper macaron templates—line baking sheets with silicone mats and top with parchment paper templates.

In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a metal blade, pulse the powdered sugar with the almond flour until a fine powder is formed. Sift mixture four times. Set aside.

To make the meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add granulated sugar. Once all sugar is incorporated and the mixture is thick, add the cream of tartar. Scrape down sides of bowl, add lavender extract and food coloring. Increase mixing speed to high, whisking until stiff, glossy peaks form.

To complete the macaronnage step: Sift the almond flour mixture one-third at a time over the egg white mixture and fold using a large spatula until mixture is smooth and shiny. Once all the almond flour mixture is incorporated, check for the correct consistency, as the batter should be nicely firm, have a glossy shine and drip slowly from the spatula.

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip (#12) and pipe 1⅓-inch rounds on parchment-lined baking sheets. Gently tap the bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes. Check for a slight crust to form on the macaron. The macarons should not stick to your finger when lightly touched.

If using the double baking sheet cooking method, place an empty baking sheet underneath the baking tray with the piped macarons. Bake one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 to 15 minutes. If the macarons are still soft inside, lower oven to 300 degrees, cover with aluminum foil and bake for a few more minutes. If the top of the macarons look crinkled, your oven temperature may be too hot.

Let macarons cool on baking sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling with chocolate ganache.

Dark Chocolate Ganache:

In a small saucepan, heat cream over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and pour hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute.

Slowly stir chocolate mixture with a silicone spatula to combine. Add butter and whisk mixture until smooth. Add cognac or brandy if desired. Let cool, stirring every 10 minutes. Once ganache cools, use a small offset spatula and gently spread between two macarons.

Tested and perfected in the Sur la Table kitchen

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