4.02.2016

In Reverse

This cookie is like a reverse Oreo.

Vanilla on the outside, chocolate on the inside.

I was seeking a chocolate recipe that would pair well with a unique liqueur I have from the Abbaye de Lérins, on the Île Saint Honorat just off the coast of Cannes in the south of France.

Liqueur Sénancole is bursting with herbs, and is most similar, in my mind, to Chartreuse, or another, very obscure monastic bottle we picked up in rural Tuscany, Centerbe (100 herbs). The recipes for these sorts of things are, naturally, secret.

When I sought good desserts to pair with this type of liqueur, chocolate surfaced as the number one flavor. I'm good with that.

And the vanilla picks up on the floral essence of the liqueur.

A dessert to go with a digestif shouldn't be heavy or cloying. Simple. Light. Cookies.

French cookies!

Macarons!

To find out how these "Black & White Macarons" paired with the Liqueur Sénancole, you can read about it on the Provence WineZine.

Salut!

~ David

White & Black Macarons
Minimally adapted from Michel Richard

1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla bean, or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon superfine (caster) sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Grind the almonds in a food process till the "almond flour" is of a uniform mealy texture. Add the confectioner's sugar, and process until combined and even finer. Add the vanilla paste and pulse to combine. Transfer to a medium bowl.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the egg whites on medium speed till soft peaks form. With mixer running, add half the sugar. Increase speed to high and add remaining sugar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Scrape beaten whites onto the almond mixture, and gently fold to combine.

Line two baking sheets with parchment. I found it helpful to trace 28 circles (1 1/4 inches in diameter) on the back side of the parchment - 7 rows of 4 - so that when I pipe on the batter, I can gauge how much is the right amount. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch tip. Pipe 28 cookies onto each sheet (total of 56). Tip: hold the bag 1/4-inch above, and at a 90° angle to, the parchment. Pipe 1-inch round macarons, leaving 1 inch between rows. Let them sit for 15 minutes to air dry; meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°F. Clean the pastry bag.

Bake cookies for 12 minutes, rotating the pans once, halfway through the baking. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on the baking sheets (on top of a cooling rack) for 3 minutes, then remove them with an offset spatula directly to cooling racks. Cool completely.

Once they are cool, prepare the ganache. Place the cream and chocolate in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until chocolate is completely melted, then stir in the butter until it, too, has melted.

Place saucepan in a bowl of ice water and whisk until the ganache is thickened to spreading consistency. Remove from the ice water and let stand at room temperature until ready to use.

Place the ganache in a clean pastry bag fitted with a 3/8-inch tip. Pipe about 3/4 teaspoon on the bottoms of half the macarons, then top them with the remaining cookies. Press lightly until ganache comes just to the edges of the cookie.

Macarons will keep for 2 days refrigerated in a sealed container.

Makes about two dozen. (Depending on your circles, it may make up to 28, or as few as 24.)

Note: these made very tiny macarons - bite-size ones, really. I think I might make fewer and make larger cookies - perhaps 1 3/4 inch circles. The cooking time might increase very slightly.


Me, wearing my apron from Colette
of Coco in the Kitchen

www.cocointhekitchen.com

44 comments:

  1. Great job. The stories I've heard about making macarons have kept me and my pastry bag at bay for years. Congrats. GREG

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    1. That's funny, Greg, because I found it so easy. Maybe it was beginners luck? I'm sure it will be a nightmare next time…

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  2. Jill will LOVE this post! Just lovely as always, David!

    I do have to admit, I was a bit confused by your second photo as I was wondering why you were making chips (as in British chips) with macarons! My perspective was a bit off and I thought the almonds were chunky chips ready for the deep fryer! haha! Shows you where my mind is! :)

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    1. That is too funny, Christina! They do look like chips, now that you mention it!

      I hope this meets Jill's expectations!!

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  3. Beautiful post! And we get to see the chef in his kitchen! I wish I had a macaron and a taste of the Liqueur Sénancole right now!

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    1. Thank you so much for the liqueur! I wish you had been here to test it with me!

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  4. Always cracks me up when recipes say "keeps for 2 days" ... really? maybe if nobody is home! ;-)

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    1. I know - they lasted about 20 minutes here!

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  5. Nooo, small ones are the proper ones!
    David, you're a star! They look gorgeous!

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    1. These were smaller than anything I have seen in Paris! But they were tasty!

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  6. David, I made macarons for the first time not too long ago. They turned out decently and I felt so accomplished! This recipe is a good excuse to try it all again. Beautiful cookies and great to see you in your apron! :)

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    1. Marcelle - maybe we should keep it a secret that they aren't too hard! That way, everyone will be so impressed!

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  7. Loved seeing you in your apron, David. I have yet to try my hand at macarons... lovely recipe.

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    1. Thanks, Liz - I rarely make an appearance, but since Colette was so kind to send me an apron...

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  8. They are gluten-free! Now I have no excuse!

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    1. No, you don't, Cora! And I have other GF recipes on Cocoa & Lavender, too!

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  9. Hi David, vanilla, vanilla is my thing. Love this reverse recipe. Ground almonds are perfect in baked goods.

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    1. Cheri - ground almonds add such great texture. I am excited to try more macarons now!

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  10. Macarons are still waiting patiently on my to-do list. :) These sound fabulous. Amazing photos! Especially love the ninth photo - showing the chocolate swirled ganache.

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    1. Thanks, Cathleen! I think next time, I will be more generous with the ganache!

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  11. Oh how wonderful!! I have failed abysmally at macaron (about ten years ago) and have been too scared to try again. Maybe these will inspire me - they sound amazing David

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    1. As I said on one of the comments above, it was probably beginners luck and my next macarons will be disastrous! But I will keep trying now that I passed this point and got over the fear.

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  12. Look at you beaming in your apron! I've never attempted macarons, and probably never will, though I'd never say no to one or more. Nice work, David!

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    1. Thanks, John - if you won't be making macarons, I will just need to make these for you when you visit!

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  13. Macarons, I love those. Nice recipe, Thank you!

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    1. Thanks, Cindy - I am now feeling brave enough to try other flavors!

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  14. Lovely macarons! I played with these a year or so ago with some turning out beautifully and others not so much. Never quite put my finger on all the variables (still on the to do list), but it did give me a healthy respect for the treat. Will have to give this recipe a try (even sans liqueur)!

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    1. Oh, no - there are variables, Inger? Thanks fro the warning... I am already imagining my next batch as a failure! :)

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  15. Excellent!! You got those much desired "feet" and all!!
    I made macarons a couple years ago and really haven't made any since! I was impressed at myself:)
    You should be too! These are beautiful for your first time. There's a few details you have to ensure but once you get that down, they're not so bad :)
    Love that liqueur bottle and the label on it!

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    1. Beginner's luck, Nazneen? Probably! Thanks for your nice comment! :)

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  16. Your macarons are perfect, D. You actually ground the almonds yourself. Wish I were there to enjoy them with you over some coffee.

    I'm beaming with pride at you wearing my apron. I couldn't be more proud. Thanks so much. xoxo

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    1. Colette - thank you! And thank you for the apron, too! I found that grinding the almonds wasn't a lot of work ... And I had trouble finding almond flour that day! :)

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  17. Simple & light, but packed with delicious, rich flavor. They're so pretty!! Well done!

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    1. Thanks, Valentina! They were fun to make!

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  18. I've never even heard of that liqueur! And I've never been a macaron fan because they're always full of artificial coloring, but these I would be happy to nibble with a nice cup of coffee. You did such a beautiful job -- perfection!

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    1. Thanks, Jean - and I agree with you about the fake colorings. I think I will use spinach juice for my green pistacchio macarons, and beet juice if I need pink ones! And saffron for the lemon!

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  19. Yummmmm! I love a good macaron. I did make them once but someone said to sift the almond flour (which I bought) and it took for EVER to sift it through a fine metal sieve. It would be wonderful to know that that step is unnecessary. I might have to try it again your way!

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    1. Caroline, the recipe I used didn't mention sifting and no one had any issues with mine. Perhaps they weren't perfect, but they were really good!

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  20. Finally! An "oreo" that I will enjoy, for I'm no fan of the originals. Never understood the attraction. Yours, though, are a different story completely, David. Let them "eat the middle first". There will be no need for these rules with yours. ;)

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    1. Thanks, John - I could eat these in any order!

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Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

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