Almond Macarons Filled with Nutella

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So to recap, last week I made the fabulous Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons, as they raked in the most votes in my readers’ choice poll where I asked which cookie you all would like to see me make. I’m so glad I made them – they tasted fabulous, looked great, and everyone who tried one was blown away. Even better, I loved the comments from those of you who ran off to try them after seeing them here. Thanks so much for coming back and letting me know that you tried them! The only pickle with the poll seemed to be a matter of spelling: macaroon vs. macaron. As a result, I promised to make Macarons this week, and here they are!

There are so many colorful variations of this wonderful cookie and its fillings, but for my first try out of the gate I decided to go the simple route with a basic almond macaron recipe and, thanks to the suggestion of Stephanie, filling the cookie sandwiches with Nutella.

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I probably let these bake a minute or two too long, as you can see there are just slightly darker than the “light golden brown” that the recipe says I should be going for. I meant to keep an eye on the oven, I really did. After I put them in the oven I went back to my laptop to do a quick email check, saw that Michael Jackson was rushed to the hospital not breathing, and well, I got a little caught up in the story. Before I knew it, the oven timer was going off. Oops!

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Notes on the Recipe:

♦  This is one of those recipes where you truly have to go by “feel”. Much like needing to judge when yeast dough needs more flour or water, you’ll have to judge when this needs more egg whites and when to stop. I didn’t put in enough at first, and could tell that the mixture was still too “paste-like” so I started adding more, a little at a time. Finally it looked creamy to me without being runny, so I stopped.

♦  I piped these into mounds, but they spread out a bit. Judging from pictures I’ve seen, I would have liked for them to stay a bit on the high side. As a result, the next time I make these I will use a bit less egg white so the mounds will hopefully keep their shape.

♦  I cut down this recipe drastically. I used 1/5 of the original recipe and it yielded me 15-20 macarons, depending on size (I played around with a few different sizes).

♦  I am in awe of the endless possibilities with macarons. Colors and flavors galore! I can’t wait to do more experimenting.

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Cookies from the Top 10 I have made:
Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons
Chocolate Chip Cookies (Thick & Chewy)
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Peanut Butter Cookies
Sugar Cookies
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Peanut Butter Blossoms

1 Year Ago: Basic Pizza Dough (the best you will ever make at home!)

Almond Macarons

Yield: About 60 cookies, 2 inches in diameter

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

2 pounds (910 g) almond paste
1 pound (455 g) granulated sugar
6 to 8 egg whites (¾ to 1 cup or 180 to 240 ml)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 410°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

2. Place the almond paste and sugar in a mixing bowl. Using the paddle attachment at low speed, blend in 1 egg white at a time, being careful not to get any lumps in the batter. Add as many egg whites as the batter will absorb without getting runny; this will vary depending on the firmness of the almond paste and, to some degree, the size of the egg whites.

3. Beat for a few minutes at high speed to a creamy consistency.

4. Place the batter in a pastry bag with a No. 6 (12-mm) plain tip. Pipe the batter in 1½-inch mounds onto sheet pans. They will spread slightly, so do not pipe them too close together.

5. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes or until light brown.

6. Let the macarons cool attached to the parchment paper. To remove them from the paper, turn them upside down and peel the paper away from the cookies rather than the cookies from the paper. If they are difficult to remove, brush water on the back of the papers, turn right-side up, wait a few minutes, then try again. Macarons can be served as is or dipped in melted coating chocolate or sandwiched together with ganache, buttercream or jam.

(Adapted from The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg)