Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons

I like referring to these Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups à la française, because that’s exactly what they taste like. Definitely on the richer side of the macaron spectrum, they’re every bit as gooey and delicious as they sound and look.I’ve been overly obsessed with these beautiful little pastries lately.

There are several good bakeries and pastry shops selling Macarons in Los Angeles, but I’m on a mission to learn and master making my own. My only previous attempt at baking plain macarons was only semi-successful; both batches had “feet”, but one came out too flat and the other had cracked caps.

What do “feet” have to do with macarons, you ask?
Joe, from Joe Pastry, describes them as “the rough, uneven bits on either side of the filling, a factor of the macaron’s rising, and an emblem of both skill and cultural awareness”. Feeling the pressure yet? Don’t worry. Focus on reading up on technique and watching a few videos. The rest is, like with anything else, all about practice.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons 2-in-1

These little babies, although still not esthetically perfect, are definitely a sign that I’m on the right track. And, in case you were wondering, the flavors were all there. Needless to say, I’m feeling more confident in my abilities and have high hopes for future attempts.
On a side note, as I was assembling the macarons, it occurred to me that being the Nutella aficionado that I am, I was committing treason by using a peanut butter filling. Very guiltily, but at that point a day late and a dollar short, I spread Nutella on my last two macarons. The Nutella itself is too thick and doesn’t, in my humble opinion, pair well with the texture of the macaron. That said, a nice Nutella mousse would have probably been amazing.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons

Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons

(adapted from Cannelle et Vanille)
Printer Friendly RecipeChocolate Macarons

100 grams egg whites
25 grams sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
225 grams powdered sugar
125 grams almond flour
15 grams cocoa powder
pinch of salt

Separate the egg whites at least 24 hours prior and let sit at room temperature for a few hours before starting to make the macarons. This will help them get rid of some moisture and become more acidic, which will help form a stable meringue. Alternatively, if you decide to bake some on a whim or forget to get the egg whites ready ahead of time, Helen from Tartelette suggests microwaving the fresh egg whites for 10-20 seconds on medium heat.

Whip the egg whites and the lemon juice until they are almost fully whipped. Sprinkle in the sugar while still mixing. Continue to whip to a full meringue. The whole process should take about 4 minutes, but no more than 5, in a KitchenAid stand mixer on high speed.

Sift the powdered sugar, salt, almond flour and cocoa powder in a bowl. Add the meringue into the dry ingredients and fold until a shiny mass is formed. The folding or “macaronage” is the most difficult step in any macaron recipe. Once the technique is mastered and the eye trained to recognize the texture needed for the batter, you can pretty much guarantee a successful outcome. Until then, it’s a lot of trial and error. This YouTube video is particularly helpful; it really captures on film most of what you’ll read about making macarons. For those that don’t speak French, just skip to the 3:20 mark.

Pipe the batter onto silicon mat- or parchment paper-lined sheetpans. Take care to hold the pastry bag vertically and keep its tip as close to the surface as possible. This YouTube video once again does a great job of demonstrating the proper technique at the 5:35 mark. Tap the sheetpan on the counter once or twice to eliminate any extra air bubbles.

Let the macarons dry at room temperature for at least 20 minutes, although I’ve read that 45 minutes to an hour yields better results. Bake them at 300F for about 8 minutes. Rotate the sheetpan and bake for another 8 minutes.

Salty Peanut Butter Filling

125 grams creamy peanut butter
70 grams powdered sugar
25 grams softened butter
25 grams whipping or heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 grams fine sea salt

Cream all ingredients together for a smooth filling.

Once the macarons have cooled completely, pipe or spoon some of the peanut butter filling on one shell and sandwich with another one. A quarter turn usually helps seal the sandwich and even the filling.

Macarons are best served at room temperature, but only after being refrigerated for 24 hours in airtight container.

Yields 25-30 small macarons.