French Chocolate Macarons

I have wanted to make french macarons since I began culinary school. It just seems cliché, perfect, a responsibility of sorts for being in french cooking school.  But did we learn how to in Baking and Pastry?  Nope.  

It was time to take matters into my own hands.  I’ve got 5 weeks left of school and I have to work my remaining class time in Technique, the schools restaurant. So, I approached one of the chef’s about my macaron dilemma and he suggested I find a good recipe and test it out. Free rein and all the products at my finger tips?  OK!

Thank you David Lebovitz, this recipe is pretty darn amazing! (adapted with my own minor tweak from The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz)

Macaron Batter
1 cup powdered sugar
½ cup almond flour, needs to be really fine
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 tablespoons,  granulated sugar

Chocolate Filling
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces

**Special ingredient, optional. Get Ready….  Fleur de sel.  SEA SALT MACARONS.. I know, crazy. AND TDF (to die for)

Macaron Cookies

Preheat oven to 350*F

Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients;  powdered sugar, almond flour, and unsweetened cocoa powder, set aside. *If mix is clumpy, pulse in a food processor to get a smooth flour like mixture.

Whip egg whites in a mixer until white peaks begin to form, add granulated sugar and whip until peaks are firm.

Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you’re alone).

Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined/silpat baking sheets in 1-inch (3 cm) circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.

Bake for 9-11 minutes.  *Oven temps will vary so please test out a cookie or two before you bake.  The book recipe calls for 15-18 minutes, but I found in my commercial oven that 11 minutes dried them out completely, 10 minutes was ok, and 9 minutes was perfect for a crunchy outside and chewy inside.  It all depends on what texture you are looking for.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling

Heat the cream in a small saucepan with the corn syrup. When the cream just begins to boil at the edges, remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let sit one minute, then stir until smooth. Stir in the pieces of butter. Let cool completely before using. The chocolate will turn into a spreadable paste, but should not be runny.

Spread or pipe a bit of ganache on the inside of the macarons, sprinkle a pinch of coarse Fleur de sel, then sandwich them together. Let them stand at least one day before serving, to meld the flavors.

Since we perfected the recipe to our liking, I decided to make little drizzle cookies for my other classmates to try. All agreed David Lebovitz is the man.

Thanks for reading and have fun making these delicate treats! xo-G

Did I mention, I’ll be in PARIS IN THREE WEEKS!! Ever been? Please comment with suggestions to do/see/eat!!


‘Tis the season, Mexican Hot Chocolate

I have a problem; it’s called Flour Bakery.    It is one of the most delicious, bountiful, buzzing, fresh, decadent, and modern decor-ed bakeries in the city of Boston. It is also owned by a favorite chef of mine, Joanna Chang.  Her motto is “Life is sweet, eat dessert first” and I literally take her world for it all too often.  I can hear the Eat this, Not that guy David Zinczenko whispering in my ear “too many American’s drink their calories” as I order a spicy hot chocolate this morning.  I resist the pastry counter and start salivating over the smells of bacon sizzling and croissants baking. Ohhh this place good.  Did I mention that the entrance to Flour is no more that 10 feet from the front door to my office?  Yeah, it’s a problem. 

Anyway, this spicy hot chocolate inspired me to find a recipe.  I’ll be in the mountains of Park City, UT in a few days for Christmas with my family and I think this hot drink will be a perfect après ski concoction. I did a bit of poking around on the world-wide-web to come up with what I think was in my cup!

  • 2 cups non fat dry milk powder
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup white chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ tbsp salt
  • ½ tbsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tbsp cayenne pepper

In a large bowl, mix ingredients.

In batches, pulse mixture in a food processor until smooth and well combined.

Store in a sealed container in a dry  place.

To make hot chocolate, put 1/3 cup of mixture into a mug and mix with hot water or milk.

Top with marshmallows and a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired.

Give it a try! Thanks for reading, xo-G

Enjoy this Park City, UT time lapse video by my brother, Bo Torrey.


Using good ingredients is key!

Where has the summer gone?  Is it really August already? I’ve traveled the last 7 weekends, and now I’ve woken up this quiet Saturday morning feeling unsure of what to do with myself. It’s been a little hectic going full speed since the end of June with back to back weekend trips; Skaneateles, Nantucket, Lake George, Skaneateles, Napa, and back to Skaneateles again. I’ve been waiting for this quiet rainy morning all month!  But I really have nothing to do today?  I click open my iPhone and check my calendar just to be sure I haven’t scheduled a brunch or hair appointment or something… Nope, nothing.  Hmm, it’s rainy and humid, and definitely not a good beach day. I have a  surprise 30th birthday party to go to later tonight, so let’s bake!

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