- 4 large Egg Whites, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup Caster Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Pure Almond Extract
- 2 1/2 cups Icing Sugar
- 1 3/4 cups Almond Flour
- Chocolate Ganache Filling
- 1 cup Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Whipping Cream
- Pinch Flake Sea Salt
- Cocoa Powder, for dusting (optional)
- Position an oven rack at the uppermost position and a second rack at the lowest position of the oven and preheat the oven to 160ºC. Line the rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Fit the pastry bag with the pastry tip. Fold the top of the bag back to form a cuff. (This makes it easier to fill the bag.) Push a bit of the fabric of the pastry bag into the tip to “plug” the opening. This prevents the macaron mixture from leaking out. Set the pastry bag in a 2-cup/480-ml measuring cup for easier filling.
- Put the egg whites, sugar, and salt in the bowl of your KitchenAid® stand mixer, fitted with the wire whip. Warm the egg white mixture over a small pan of simmering water, but don’t let the bottom of the mixing bowl touch the water. When the egg whites are just warm to the touch, wipe the bottom of the bowl to dry it, and then place the mixing bowl back on the stand mixer. On medium speed, whisk the egg whites until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to high, and whip the meringue to form stiff, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes. While the egg whites are whipping, drizzle in the almond extract.
- Turn the mixer off. Attach the KitchenAid® Sifter + Scale Attachment to your mixer. Close the ingredient valve and weigh the confectioners’ sugar. Turn the mixer to medium low, open the ingredient valve and sift in the sugar. Tap the side of the ingredient hopper to hurry along the confectioners’ sugar. It is important not to overmix and deflate the meringue. Turn the mixer off, and remove the mixer bowl.
- Close the ingredient valve and weigh the almond flour in the ingredient hopper. Place a medium bowl underneath the KitchenAid® Sifter + Scale Attachment, turn the mixer to medium-low speed and sift the almond flour into the mixing bowl. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the almond flour into the meringue, also being careful not to overmix and deflate the meringue.
- Transfer the meringue mixture to the piping bag. Twist the top of the bag to close and remove any air pockets. Holding the bag upright, pipe even, 2.5-cm circles onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing the circles 2.5-cm apart. (You should have 52 to 64 circles.) Once the macarons are piped, lift each filled sheet pan and tap firmly on your work surface 4 times. This flattens the macarons and the nipple that forms on top.
- Place one sheet in the uppermost position in the oven. Bake until a “pied” (a bottom foot around the edge of each macaron) has formed around the edge, 4 to 5 minutes. Move that pan to the lowest rack and place the second pan on the top rack. Bake the pan on the top rack for 4 to 5 minutes. Bake the pan on the bottom rack until the top forms a crust but still feels a bit “wiggly,” about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the bottom pan to a rack to cool. And move the top pan to the bottom rack to bake until the macarons form a crust, about 5 minutes longer. Cool the second pan on a rack, and then turn half of the circles upside down, matching up halves.
- Make the filling while the macarons are cooling. In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the chopped chocolate and cream. Using a heatproof spatula, stir just until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth and shiny. Let cool until barely warm, but still spreadable.
- Use a small spoon to dab about a 1/2 teaspoon of filling onto each circle that is turned upside down. Sprinkle a smidgen of flake sea salt on top of the ganache. Top with a second circle to sandwich each macaron. The filling should spread to the edge with oozing out. (It is best to test one to get a sense of how much ganache filling to add.) Chill the macarons until set. Before serving, lightly dust with cocoa powder, if desired. Transfer the macarons to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: About 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 26 – 32 filled macarons