Wednesday, December 24, 2014

French Macarons with Mint Chocolate Ganache (Sucre Cuit / Italian Method)

It’s Christmas Eve! I bet everyone or at least majority of you are feeling as excited as I am. And I am extremely thrilled because I will be hitting the road up north of Florida in a couple of hours for my 10-day road trip to various cities in the sunshine state. I’m sure it’s going to be a well-deserved break after days of baking some homemade sweet treats for this festive season.

It was a bold attempt I would say since it was a first-time for me, or rather, the first time I am trying out a new recipe – the baking of French macarons! Bold because I would end up with no gifts for giving in the event my baking experiment fails. Haha! Well, I suppose you guessed it right that my experiment pulled off successfully since I am blogging about it now. Oh wait, does anyone blogs a failed recipe? Not that I have come across so far. *Grin!

Strictly speaking it’s not my first time making French macarons. In the past, I have relied on the French method – a more commonly used method of creating the meringue by whipping together cool egg whites with granulated sugar until they form a stiff consistency which is said to yield lighter, tastier with a more delicate, cookie-like texture of authentic French macarons. Unfortunately the results of my macaronage were not quite consistent each time I tried. Until much research and read-up, I discovered the Italian (also known as Sucre Cuit or Sugar-baked) method of making macarons – a method that relies on a hot sugar syrup slowly whipped into egg whites to achieve its meringue which is regarded as more complicated than the French method. Despite so, many who have tried the Italian method said it actually yields a more stable meringue consistency. And I have witnessed that for myself indeed.

French Macarons with Mint Chocolate Ganache

For those who still have “fear” of trying to bake macarons at home, stop hesitating! If I can do it, you can do it too. ^_^

French Macarons with Mint Chocolate Ganache (Sucre Cuit / Italian Method)
Makes about 60 whole macarons

Ingredients Required

Mint Chocolate Ganache
The Dream Baker’s Creation

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup semi-sweet mint chocolate chips

Macaron Shells
Recipe referenced and modified from:
Makes 120 shells

200 grams ground almond meal
200 grams confectioners’ sugar
200 grams sugar
50 grams water
150 grams egg whites, divided into two 75 grams portions

Bakeware Used

3 baking sheets with dimensions 15.25"x10.25"x0.75"
(you need at least two)

Preparation Steps

Mint Chocolate Ganache
  1. Heat heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan till hand-hot.
  2. Place the mint chocolate chips in a small mixing bowl and pour the heated heavy cream over the chocolate chips. Let mixture sit for about 3 minutes.
  3. Using the whisk attachment of an electric hand mixer, stir to combine and melted chocolate chips and heavy cream.
  4. Place the bowl along with the whish attachment in the fridge until mixture is thoroughly chilled.
  5. Once chilled, whisk the chocolate mixture until stiff peaks.
  6. Transfer the chocolate ganache into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip and set aside in the fridge until ready for use.
Macaron Shells
  1. Stack two baking sheets on top of each other. Line with a silicone-baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Pulverise the almond meal with confectioners’ sugar in a food processor. Sieve out any large bits of almond.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Heat on medium until all the sugar is dissolved.
  4. While the sugar is cooking, whisk one portion of 75 grams of egg whites in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer (or a mixer bowl if using stand mixer).
  5. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peak. Meanwhile, let the sugar syrup cook until it reaches 118 degrees C / 245 degrees F. If the egg whites whip too fast before the sugar syrup reaches the ideal temperature, turn down or turn off the mixer.
  6. When the sugar syrup reaches 118 degrees C / 245 degrees F, whisk the egg whites on low speed and carefully pour the sugar syrup in a slow stream from the side of the egg white bowl.
  7. Increase the mixer speed to high and let the meringue beat for several minutes until it has cooled and appears glossy and firm.
  8. In a separate large bowl, combine the almond meal mixture with the remaining 75g of egg whites until partially combined.
  9. Carefully fold the meringue (without deflating it) into the almond meal mixture in three additions. The final batter (macaronage) should be thick and flow slowly like molten lava.
  10. Transfer the macaronage into a piping bag fitted with a large round plain tip. Pipe approximately 1-1/2” rounds onto the prepared baking sheet. 
  11. Hit the bottom of the baking sheet or drop the baking sheet on the table top several times to remove any trapped air bubbles. 
  12. Let the baking sheet sit for about 20 minutes to dry out the shell. The shells are ready to be baked when the surface of the macaronage does not stick to the finger when gently touched.
  13. While the macaronage sits, preheat the oven to 150 degrees C/ 300 degrees F. The oven’s heat varies across different ovens. Lower the oven temperature as required during the baking process.
  14. Bake the macaron shells for approximately 15 minutes, one baking sheet at a time, rotating once half way through the baking time. 
  15. Once baked, let tray cool for a few minutes before removing the macaron shells from the silicone mat or parchment paper. The shells should slide off easily. If it sticks, it means they are uncooked. Put the baking sheet back into the oven and bake for another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the macaron shells to the wire rack to cool completely.
  16. Pair the cooled macaron shells and lay one side up on a baking sheet.
  17. Pipe the prepared filling on the open side of the shell and top the filling with the other half shell.
  18. Store the macarons in a airtight container and chilled in the fridge for 24 hours before serving. Best consumed within 5 days.

The Dream Baker’s Experiment
  1. The original source recipe suggests baking the macarons with two baking sheets stacked together. I baked my macaron shells on a single baking sheet and placed the baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven. The purpose of the extra baking sheet serves to prevent the direct bottom of the macaron shells from heating too quickly. 
  2. The original source recipe suggests preheating the oven at 320 degrees F which I feel is on a high side. I started at the suggested oven temperature but the macarons shells were all cracked. As suggested by various references, it is best to bake at a lower temperature in a recommended range of 285 - 315 degrees F (or 140 - 160 degrees C). Knowing that my oven gets heated easily, I baked my perfect macaron shells at 285 degrees F, with the oven door slightly ajar. Thus I suggested an in-between oven temperature of 300 degrees F in my above recipe. The oven’s heat varies across different ovens. The trick is to know how your oven works. ^_^
  3. I needed six baking sheets for the amount of batter from my above recipe but I only had three. So I carefully slide the parchment paper onto the table when the macaron shells is left to sit so that I can continue to pipe the rest of the macaronage and knock out the trapped bubbles from the macaronage after piping. However, rule of thumb is to bake the set of macaron shells that have been left to sit first.
  4. I baked the macaron shells for exactly 14 minutes without over-browning the colour of the macaron shells. Again, baking time differs across different ovens. 

The macaronage when they were just piped (left picture) and after they were dropped on the table top to release any trapped air bubbles (right picture). Can you tell the difference?

The macaronage should be dry, not sticky and dull without shine when they are ready to be baked.

The macarons should form a nice feet after they have been properly baked.
Pairing macaron shells of similar sizes and piping any filling as desired. 
For this festive season, I have decided on mint chocolate ganache! ^_^

Tada~ Yum to the thumbs!

Packed and ready to be distributed!

I must say it takes a couple of trial and error and practice to make the “perfect” French macarons. Over the period, I have done a fair bit of research and self-reading to help me better understand the science of macarons-baking. A pretty useful guide to troubleshooting can be found here. Kudos to the blogger-cum-baker from sharing! I am definitely going to work on my macarons-baking skills using the French method again, which is considerably authentic and less sweet.

I am pleasured to share the joy from this recipe with the following bake events:

AlphaBakes (December 2014: Letter "X" for Xmas) hosted by Caroline of Caroline Makes and Ros of The More than Occasional Baker;

Treat Petite December 2014 theme, Merry Christmas hosted by Kat of The Baking Explorer and Stuart of Cakeyboi;

Cook & Celebrate: Christmas 2014 organised by Yen of Eat Your Heart Out, Diana of Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids;

Family Foodies (December 2014: Festive Family Food) hosted by Vanesther of Bangers & Mash and organised by Louisa of Eat Your Veg;

Recipe of the Week (December: #BestRecipes2014) hosted by Emily of A Mummy Too;

Foodie Friday, All things Christmas organised by Helen & gang of Casa Costello and Otilia of Romanian Mum

and last but not least, CookBlogShare hosted by Lucy of Supergolden Bakes.

Here’s wishing all the merriest Christmas filled with lots of joy and happiness! Cheers! ^_^

Dare to dream.
The Dream Baker


  1. Wow, these look perfect - I'd never have guessed it was the first time you'd made them using this method! Thanks for sharing with Alphabakes.

    1. Hi Caroline, I was surprised with the results too.. Glad they made it to Alphabakes! :)

  2. These look absolutely beautiful - was it really your first time?! I've wanted to make macarons for so long but I'm not a natural born baker - however I think you might just have inspired me to give them a go... A wonderful entry for this month's Family Foodies challenge. Thanks so much for linking up.

    1. Hi Vanesther, thank you! :) Like you, I was also intimidated by the "difficulty" it seems and it took me awhile before I decided to give it a try.. This my first time using the Italian method for macaron making and I'm extremely satisfied with the results. I've tried the French method previously but the results were always inconsistent. I hope you will give it a go. :)

  3. oh wow these totally look amazing!! #BestRecipes2014

    1. Hi Jaime, thank you! And thanks for dropping by and leaving a note! :)

  4. WOW, I admire anyone who can make macarons. And especially when it is this well done too!

    1. Hi Diana, thank you! I'm sure you can do it too! ^_^ Thanks for dropping by and leaving a note. :)

  5. Hi Kerene,

    I'm also a big fan of the Italian meringue method of baking macarons! Yours look so perfect :D


    1. Hi Zoe, thank you! Honestly I'm pretty impressed with the results from the Italian meringue method of baking macarons. I felt like this Italian method doesn't seem to go wrong as compared to the French method. I'm definitely going to make more of them... ^_^ Thanks for dropping by and leaving a note! :)