Chocolate Hazelnut Macarons

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No dessert is as sophisticated or as technical as a perfectly crafted French macaron. And finally, for my friend’s birthday, I decided rise up to the challenge. It’s true that these cookies are pretty tricky to make, but after diligently watching a few YouTube videos, I was ready for battle. Patience is certainly required to achieve this ideal sandwich, but with their shiny shells and puffed “feet,” they were incredibly delicious and extremely rewarding. Their chocolate hazelnut flavor is absolutely phenomenal, and honestly, filling them purely with Nutella would taste just as good! For you fearless chefs out there, certainly give this recipe a try; you’re not a daring baker unless you’ve conquered the French macaron!

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Chocolate Hazelnut Macarons
slightly modified from Tartelette

Ingredients:

For Macarons:
110 g blanched almonds
200 g minus
2 tbsps powdered sugar
2 tbsps cocoa powder
3 egg whites (about 100 g), aged a day, room temperature
50 g sugar

For ganache:
200g milk chocolate, finely chopped
100g double cream
25g unsalted butter, softened
50g Nutella

Directions:

Macarons:
Pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and pulse until well blended. Whip the egg whites until foamy and gradually add the granulated sugar while whipping until a shiny meringue forms. Add the almond mixture to the meringue and quickly incorporate the mixture into the meringue while taking care not to overbeat. You want to achieve a batter that flows and “ribbons” for at least 5 seconds. Pour the batter into a piping bag fitted with a large plain piping tip and pipe small rounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The rounds should be about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and at least an inch apart. Let the macarons sit out for an hour to develop a hard shell. Preheat oven to 300°F. Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on size. Let cool. Remove from parchment paper.

Ganache:
Place the finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to the boil and pour it over the chocolate. Set aside for 2 – 3 minutes, then stir, starting from the middle, until the chocolate is melted and incorporated with the cream. Set aside in the refrigerator until the ganache firms up. Add the butter and Nutella to the ganache and use a stick blender to blitz the mixture until it is light and fluffy (you can also do this in a food processor). Match the macaron shells up so they have partners of similar size. Upturn one shell of each pair of macarons. Spoon the ganache into a piping bag fitted with a medium round nozzle. Pipe a little ganache onto the center of each upturned macaron. Sandwich it together with its partner. Keep refrigerated.

— Carissa Brones