Dark Chocolate Macarons with Bittersweet Ganache

Yields 2 dozen macarons (once filled)

Ingredients:
2 Cups sugar, powdered
1 Cup flour, almond
3 Tbls cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/4 tsp salt, table
3 Large egg white at room temperature
1 Pinch cream of tartar
3 Tbls sugar, white

Tools Needed:
Lekue Macaron Mat
Ateco Plastic Coated Decorating Bag, 18-Inch
Ateco Pastry Tube – Plain – Size 6

Directions:
Line two baking sheets with Macaron mats; set aside. Fit a large pastry bag with a 1/2-inch (size 6) plain tip; set aside.

Place the powdered sugar, almond flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse 4 to 5 times to aerate. Process until fine and combined, about 1 minutes. Sift through a flour sifter into a large bowl; set aside.

Note: you will most likely have bits of almond left behind in your sieve – no worries.  Just toss these (or eat them like my niece and sister in law did)

Make a meringue by placing the egg whites in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until opaque and foamy, about 30 seconds. Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium high, and beat until the egg whites are white in color and you see trains from the beaters, about 1 minute. Continue to beat, slowly adding the granulated sugar, until the sugar is combined, the peaks are stiff, and the whites are shiny, about 1 minute more. (Do not overwhip.) Transfer the meringue to a large bowl.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry mixture into the egg whites in multiple small batches until the dry ingredients are just combined. (The meringue will deflate.) With the final addition, stop folding when there are no traces of egg whites, the mixture runs like slow-moving lava, and it looks like cake batter. (Do not overmix.)

Transfer the batter to the pastry bag. Pipe out 1-1/4-inch rounds about 1 inch apart onto the baking sheets, about 25 per sheet. Pick up the baking sheets and bang them against the work surface to remove air bubbles. Let the rounds sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to dry the tops and ensure even cooking.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. Bake the macarons for 7 minutes. Rotate the sheets and cook for 7 minutes more. Transfer the sheet to a rack to cool completely.

Bittersweet Ganache for Macarons:
6 Ounce(wt)s chocolate, baking, bittersweet (finely chopped)
3/4 Cup cream, heavy
3 Tbls butter, unsalted (at room temperature cut in cubes)

Directions:
Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a 4-cup pyrex measuring cup.  Place in the microwave for 1 minute.  Remove and whisk.  If mostly melted, continue to whisk until completely melted.  If only partially melted, then nuke for 15 more seconds.

Note: You do NOT want to overheat as it will break the chocolate.  You want to get the chocolate mostly melted and then use the heat in the chocolate and butter and the friction of whisking to finish the job.

Slowly add the cream and continue to whisk until all of it has been incorporated and the ganache is smooth and creamy.  Let set for 10 to 15 minutes (but not until all the way solid).

Scoop dollops onto the flat side of one macaron.  Top with another macaron (like a sandwich/Oreo) and lightly press so the ganache is pushed out to the edges.  Set macaron on a plate or in an airtight container.

Store in an airtight container and keep in the fridge.

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