Chewy chocolate macarons with a crispy outer shell and chocolate ganache filling
Chocolate macarons are such a tasty treat. I love that first bite that cracks through the crisp outer layer before you sink your teeth into that chewy goodness in the middle. These chocolate macarons are based on my super-viral, no-fail French macaron recipe. Follow my tips and tricks in this blog post to make the perfect chocolate macarons.
Why are chocolate macarons so hard to make?
There are a lot of things that can go wrong with such a simple cookie if you don't know what to look out for. Make sure you follow each step as close as you can to avoid these problems.
I find that a lot of people don't really follow a recipe when they are trying something new. They read the ingredients and tend to skim the instructions (I am totally guilty of this too) but this is not one of those recipes you can get away with doing that.
Making chocolate macarons is more about the way you make them and less about the actual ingredients. If you want to watch my vanilla macaron video, you can watch it here.
Chocolate Macaron Ingredients
Almond Flour - Provides structure, flavor and texture to the macarons. I prefer using Bob's Red Mill super fine almond flour or you can make your own.
Powdered Sugar - Gives the cookie a little bit of sweetness
Cocoa Powder - Can't have chocolate macarons without chocolate!
Aged Egg Whites - Provides structure and texture that is iconic to the French Macaron
Vanilla Extract - Enhances the flavor of the macaron. You can use other flavors too!
Granulated Sugar - Helps the egg whites whip up properly
Salt - Enhances the flavor of the chocolate
Chocolate Macaron Recipe Step By Step
- Sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt and almond meal. This is important so you can remove any hard lumps that might be in the mixture which will ruin the shiny surface of your cookie later.
- Place the almond flour mixture into a food processor and pulse 8-10 times to make the mixture finer in texture and to get it mixed together really well.
- Whip your egg whites until frothy with the whisk attachment then slowly add in your granulated sugar while mixing on low.
- Continue mixing until the egg whites become white and you can see some lines being made in the meringue. Add in your cream of tartar.
- Whip until soft glossy peaks form. Now add in your extract and food coloring if you are coloring your macarons.
- Continue whipping on medium-high until the meringue is at stiff peaks. The meringue will feel dense and will start gathering on the inside of the whisk.
- Add in ⅓ of your almond mixture and fold by taking your spatula and going around the edge of the bowl just under the batter, then cut through the center. Repeat this until you don't see any dry spots.
- Add in the rest of your dry ingredients and continue folding
- Place your spatula flat on top of the batter and turn the bowl to knock out some of the air from the batter. You want the batter to fall from the spatula like a ribbon and move similar to lava.
- Once your batter falls from the spatula in a ribbon, try and draw a figure 8. If the batter doesn't break, it's ready. You will also notice the edges of the batter begin to turn glossy and the mixture oozes very slowly. The ribbon should dissolve back into the batter after about 20 seconds.
- Place the piping bag into a cup while you pour in the batter. The cup helps hold up the bag so you can scoop every last drop of that batter into the bag.
- Now you can pipe your macarons onto your parchment paper and bake! I use a #802 round piping tip and a template. Hold your tip straight up in the center of the circle, about ¼" away from the paper and squeeze until the batter fills the circle ¾ of the way then lift straight up quickly to break the batter off.
- Lift your tray up about 5 inches and drop onto the table to pop any bubbles that are under the surface of your macaron and the batter should spread to the edge of the circle.
- Let your macaron sit at room temperature until a crust forms over the surface. Depending on your room, it can take from 30 minutes to 2 hours. You should be able to touch the top lightly and it doesn't feel sticky.
Tips for success:
- Use room temperature egg whites (if you forget to bring them to room temp, put your eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes)
- Age your egg whites overnight by putting them in a bowl in the fridge. This allows some of the moisture to evaporate and experts say, produce a stronger meringue.
- Sift your ingredients
- Weigh all your ingredients in grams for the best and most accurate results
- Make sure you use fresh egg whites that have been aged overnight.
- Wipe the inside of your bowl and attachments well to make sure they are grease-free
- Don't over-whip your egg whites, make sure they are at the firm peak stage but still glossy and moist
- If your room is very humid, put a space heater next to the macarons to help dry them out
Troubleshooting macaron problems
Perfecting your macaron recipe will take time. After your first try you might notice some problems. These are the most common and how you can fix them.
- Over-mixing your batter will produce very flat macarons that will be hollow in the center and won't have any feet
- Oily blotches on the surface of your macaron is from over-mixing and causing the oil from the almond flour to release into the batter. Try folding more gently.
- Macarons that have a raised nipple in the center after baking. This is caused by under-mixing and the batter is still too stiff.
- Under-mixing your batter or not using super fine almond flour will make lumpy/rough textured macarons.
- Cracked macarons are from not letting them sit at room temp for long enough so they haven't had time to develop a shell or they were not mixed enough.
- Macarons won't be round when you don't hold your piping tip directly in the center of the template or your parchment isn't flat.
- Hollow shells can be from not popping the bubbles in the surface of the macarons before baking or from the meringue being under whipped.
••Download the template to make perfectly-sized macaronsFrench Macaron Template
Want more macarons? Try these recipes!
- Food Scale
- Stand Mixer
- Parchment Paper
- Piping Bag
- 802 Round Piping Tip
- Food processor
- 50 grams almond flour
- 114 grams powdered sugar
- 7 grams cocoa powder
- 57 grams egg whites aged overnight in the fridge and brought to room temperature
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 28 grams granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 ounces heavy cream
- 2.5 ounces chocolate semisweet, milk or dark
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
For The Chocolate Macarons
- Preheat oven to 320ºF and line a ½ baking sheet with the macaron template and parchment paper
- Sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and almond flour, twice if not blended.
- Pulse the mixture in a food processor 8-10 times to make the almond flour mixture even finer and texture and to blend the ingredients together.
- Whip the egg whites on low to frothy consistency and slowly add the sugar in thirds.
- Once the egg whites turn white and you can see some lines forming in the surface from the whisk, add cream of tartar, whipping on medium until soft glossy peaks form.
- Add the vanilla to the meringue during the soft peak stage. Then continue whipping on medium-high until you get stiff peaks that start gathering and bunching on the inside of the whisk.
- Add ⅓ of your almond mixture to the meringue. Fold your spatula under the batter and around the edges and then cut through the center until almond flour is mixed in. Continue with the rest of the almond flour and folding until homogenous. (see video)
- Gently press the spatula on top of the batter while you turn the bowl to take out some fo the air from the meringue. Continue folding around the outside edge until the batter forms a ribbon and moves like lava.
- Your meringue is ready when it forms a ribbon off the spatula and the batter that settles almost dissolves all the way back into the rest of the batter but still leave a bit of a line.
- Place parchment paper onto your sheet pan. Pipe small rounds about 1" in diameter. Use a template if needed
- Drop the pan onto the table 5-6 times from about 5" above the table to release bubbles. Use a toothpick to remove big pockets of air trapped under the surface. Use a very small amount of water on your fingertip to smooth any rough spots.
- Allow to dry, uncovered until a crust forms on the surface. About 30 minutes - 2 hours or until a dry film develops over the surface of the cookie. For humid areas put a space heater nearby to help dry the cookies faster.
- Bake at 320ºF for about 14-15 minutes or until lightly browned. If not quite brown baked, bake for an additional 1 minute. Cooled cookies should pull away from the parchment paper without sticking. If they do stick, they were not baked enough.
- Let cool fully before removing from the parchment and filling with ganache. Cookies can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Shells can be frozen for 6 months in an airtight container.
For the ganache
- Place all the ingredients into a heatproof bowl and microwave for one minute. Let sit for 5 minutes then whisk until smooth. Heat for another 15 seconds if not fully melted. Place into the fridge for 20 minutes then whisk until smooth. It should be the texture of peanut butter.