Chocolate Cookies Desserts

Salted Maple Macarons

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I have made macarons a few times before, always to varying levels of success. I am always very taken with these littles cookies because they are so pretty, but I often think that they are more trouble than they are worth. They always taste good, but I have never before had a macaron that just really blew my mind in terms of how it tastes. It’s really just a personal preference since meringue cookies have never been my favourite. There are just other cookies that I like better that are easier to make. I decided to give them another try though because I learned about a different method of making them (the Italian method), and it turns out that I was completely wrong about how good macarons can be. As it turns out, all I needed to do was make maple macarons with maple buttercream filling and then dip them in chocolate to get what could genuinely be the best cookie in the world (if I do say so myself).

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You could put maple syrup in or on anything, and I would think that it was greatly improved. I’m basically Buddy the elf. This recipe came about because I had some maple sugar in my pantry that I really wanted to use. You can buy maple sugar in most grocery stores in the baking aisle with the other specialty sugars. Whatever you do though, do not go to Whole Foods if you’ve got maple sugar on your list because it is a whopping $18 for a tiny thing of it compared to a back for about $5 from any other store. I actually jumped in surprise and scared a few other people in the aisle when I read the price tag on maple sugar the last time I stopped by that place. 

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Let’s talk about the method I used to make these cookies. In the past, I have gone with the French macaron method, but this time around I did some research and decided to try the Italian method. The only difference between the two is that you cook the sugar and water before adding it to the beaten egg white in the Italian method. This makes for a stiffer, more delicious meringue. Everything that I read said that this method is more consistently successful so I went with it…I still had to go through three attempts to get these right. The first time, I didn’t beat my egg white enough. The second time, I didn’t bake the cookies long enough and couldn’t get them off of the parchment paper. So I guess third time’s a charm! Learn from my mistakes and beat your egg white and the cooked sugar until very stiff peaks form and follow the baking instructions below. Then you should be golden, and these cookies are definitely worth the trouble. I topped them with melted dark chocolate and sprinkled some sea salt on top.

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Salted Maple Macarons
For the cookies:
3/4 cup icing sugar
3/4 cup almond meal
2 egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup maple sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons water
1/2 package dark chocolate chips (or 6 ounces chopped chocolate)
Sea salt

For the frosting:
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon milk

Combine the icing sugar and almond meal for the cookies in a food processor and pulse several times until you get a fine powder.

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Run the mixture through a sifter or a sieve to remove any large pieces.

Add one of the egg whites to the almond mixture and combine to get a paste. Set aside.

Combine the maple sugar and water in a small saucepan.

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Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring regularly. You want to bring the temperature up to 115 degrees Celcius (about 240 degrees F).

While the sugar is heating up, beat the other egg white in a bowl until soft peaks form. You want the egg white to finish around the same time that the sugar reaches 115 degrees C, but it’s safer to err on the side of finishing the egg white first since you want to add the syrup as soon as it reaches the right temperature.

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Once the syrup reaches 115 degrees C (240 degrees F), remove it from heat and add to the egg white. Continue mixing on high speed until stiff peaks form, and the bowl cools down. You want to be able to turn the bowl upside down and have the meringue stay put.

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Fold the meringue into the almond mixture until combined (do not overmix). The mixture should run slowly off of your spatula but should not be runny. 

Fill a pastry bag or large ziploc with the corner cut off and a round icing tip in it with the batter. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and pipe small, 1-inch circles onto the paper (about 24 per sheet).

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Bang the cookie sheets on the counter a couple of times to get rid of any air bubbles and then let them sit out for about 30 minutes until the cookies dry out before baking.

When ready, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a cooling rack before removing from the parchment paper to avoid sticking.

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Meanwhile, make the frosting. Combine the butter, icing sugar, maple syrup, sea salt and milk with a mixer until smooth.

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Fill a piping bag and pipe onto cooled macarons, topping with another cookie.

Melt the chocolate in a shallow dish in 30 second increments in the microwave until fully melted. Dip the top of each macaron in the chocolate, letting any excess drip off. Sprinkle with sea salt.

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Salted Maple Macarons
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Ingredients
  • For the cookies:
  • ¾ cup icing sugar
  • ¾ cup almond meal
  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • ½ cup maple sugar
  • 2½ Tablespoons water
  • ½ package dark chocolate chips (or 6 ounces chopped chocolate)
  • Sea salt
  • For the frosting:
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
Instructions
  1. Combine the icing sugar and almond meal for the cookies in a food processor and pulse several times until you get a fine powder.
  2. Run the mixture through a sifter or a sieve to remove any large pieces.
  3. Add one of the egg whites to the almond mixture and combine to get a paste. Set aside.
  4. Combine the maple sugar and water in a small saucepan.
  5. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring regularly. You want to bring the temperature up to 115 degrees Celcius (about 240 degrees F).
  6. While the sugar is heating up, beat the other egg white in a bowl until soft peaks form. You want the egg white to finish around the same time that the sugar reaches 115 degrees C, but it's safer to err on the side of finishing the egg white first since you want to add the syrup as soon as it reaches the right temperature.
  7. Once the syrup reaches 115 degrees C (240 degrees F), remove it from heat and add to the egg white. Continue mixing on high speed until stiff peaks form, and the bowl cools down. You want to be able to turn the bowl upside down and have the meringue stay put.
  8. Fold the meringue into the almond mixture until combined (do not overmix). The mixture should run slowly off of your spatula but should not be runny.
  9. Fill a pastry bag or large ziploc with the corner cut off and a round icing tip in it with the batter. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and pipe small, 1-inch circles onto the paper (about 24 per sheet).
  10. Bang the cookie sheets on the counter a couple of times to get rid of any air bubbles and then let them sit out for about 30 minutes until the cookies dry out before baking.
  11. When ready, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a cooling rack before removing from the parchment paper to avoid sticking.
  12. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Combine the butter, icing sugar, maple syrup, sea salt and milk with a mixer until smooth.
  13. Fill a piping bag and pipe onto cooled macarons, topping with another cookie.
  14. Melt the chocolate in a shallow dish in 30 second increments in the microwave until fully melted. Dip the top of each macaron in the chocolate, letting any excess drip off. Sprinkle with sea salt.

 

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