Instead of doing a plain old ganache, I decided to mix things up a little by putting a cocoa SMBC to work - and, since it's winter, warming things up a little with some chilli. NOTE: do NOT overdo the chilli powder - it will turn things from delicious to deadly if you're not careful! The filling was absolutely awesome - my boy ended up eating it out of the bowl.
Will definitely be using this recipe for all future chocolate macaroons. And FYI- the water trick is brilliant. I've always ended up with half the macaroons losing their middles to the baking paper - this trick really works.
Chilli Chocolate Macaroons
For the macaroons:
250 g icing sugar
140 g almond meal
25 g cocoa powder
100 g egg whites
For the filling:
2 egg whites
1/2 C sugar
125 g butter
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder (hot)
For the macaroons:
- Preheat the oven to 220 C.
- Sift the sugar, almond meal and cocoa powder into a bowl. (The original recipe says to use a food processor to combine and get out the lumps but I don't have one!)
- Whip the egg whites until just firm but still glossy - to the soft peak stage.
- Fold the egg whites, 1/3 at a time, into the dry mixture. It will seem really stiff - but don't worry, it rises well!
- Pipe the mix into 2.5 cm diameter circles onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Put the macaroons in the oven and immediately turn down to 180 C.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes.
- When the macaroons are done, lift up the baking paper and pour a little water (about 1/4 C) under the paper and tilt the tray to distribute. If you wait 20 seconds, the macaroons will lift off easily!
- Place macaroons on a wire rack to cool.
- Heat egg whites and sugar in a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, whisking all the while. Allow the temperature to reach 76 C.
- Once the mix is frothy and is at 76 C, remove from heat. Using an electric mixer, beat until firm peaks form.
- Cut the butter up into 9 or so pieces. One piece at a time, beat in the butter (if it goes runny, just keep beating - it will eventually get to the consistancy of well whipped cream).
- Once the mixture is firm, beat in the cocoa powder and half the chilli powder.
- Taste - if you think it needs more chilli, add the rest - but it's supposed to be a tiny warming kick at the end - and some people are more sensitive than others!