Macarons are an absolute treat to eat, but they're trickier to make. Prepare yourself for the eventuality that you may not get these right the first time around, so get to know your oven and invest in an oven thermometer if need be. The result here is absolutely delicious, like drinking a hot latte while munching on a bar of dark, creamy chocolate.

Coffee and Chocolate Macarons [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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Ingredients

Coffee Macaron Shells:

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup icing/powdered sugar
  • Water from a can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons coffee extract

Chocolate Filling:

  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 7 ounces chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar (optional)
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Preparation

  1. Drain the can of chickpeas over a bowl. Pour the water (known as aquafaba) into a saucepan and simmer until reduced to 1/3 cup. Set aside to cool COMPLETELY.
  2. Meanwhile, sift the ground almonds and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Discard any almond crumbs that are too large to pass through the sieve.
  3. Pour the aquafaba into a stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk attachment and whisk on medium-high speed until pale and frothy, but not quite stiff yet. Alternatively, use a handheld electric whisk for this process.
  4. Add the coffee extract and caster sugar and continue whisking until the aquafaba forms glossy, stiff peaks.
  5. Use a spatula to scrape the meringue off the whisk and into the bowl.
  6. Sieve half of the dry mixture into the meringue and mix gently, using downward strokes with the spatula. Sieve the second half of the dry mixture into the meringue and fold until all the dry mixture is incorporated.
  7. Spread the mixture with the spatula against the side of the bowl and then scoop up from underneath and turn over; this counts as one turn. Repeat this process a further 19 times. Be careful NOT to do this more than 20 times as it can make the macarons greasy. This step is known as the macaronnage.
  8. The macaron batter should be thick but run off the spatula and spread slightly if left in the bowl. Spoon the mixture into a large piping bag and secure the top. Place the piping bag in a tall drinking glass or mug to help support it as you spoon in the mixture. Pipe 2.5cm (1 inch) circles onto baking trays lined with baking paper, leaving room for the macarons to spread slightly. It's important when piping the macarons to hold the piping bag directly above the baking tray, not at an angle, and to pipe in one smooth motion.
  9. Then take one baking tray at a time and drop it onto the counter or table from a small height and drop it once more. Repeat with the other trays. This helps the macarons have an even shape and aids in developing the "pied" or foot. With a moist finger, gently press down any tips left on the surface of the macarons.
  10. Leave the macarons to dry at room temperature for 2 hours.
  11. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºF. Bake the macarons on the top shelf of the oven, one tray at a time, for 30 minutes. Keep checking on them to make sure they brown too quickly but do NOT open the oven door. This will ruin the macarons. When the 30 minutes are over, switch off the oven and leave inside for 15 minutes, then open the oven door and leave for another 15 minutes before taking out of the oven.
  12. Repeat this process with all of the trays of macarons.
  13. Once your baking tray and macarons are completely cold you're ready to sandwich them together with your filling. The macarons should have a nice, crisp shell, a ruffled foot or pied around the bottom and a firm underneath.
  14. For the filling, melt all the ingredients together in a heat-proof bowl suspended over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon to prevent any burning. Set aside to cool completely, then pipe onto the bottom of half of the macaron shells. Finally, sandwich the remaining shells on top. Done!
  15. Keep in an airtight box for up to three days.

Notes

I based this recipe on Floral Frosting's recipe for Cookies & Cream vegan macarons, with a few adjustments. I find my macarons bake best for 30 minutes in a pre-heated gas oven; any less and they aren't cooked through. I also find that this recipe makes two dozen shells at most, so a dozen macarons in total, rather than 18. Maybe I'm piping a bit large!

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