Yes folks, it’s World Nutella Day 2012! Once again, Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso are hosting “World Nutella Day 2012″ (the SIXTH instalment!) – a day to celebrate, get creative with, and most importantly, eat Nutella.
After 2010’s cheesecake and 2011’s Nutella lamingtons, this year I tried something I have been meaning to make for a long time… macarons craquelés. No, no, not failed “cracked” macarons (though goodness knows I have had my fair share of those in my macaron making adventures…) but serious on purpose cracked-topped little cookies – à l’ancienne – much more like the original macarons de Nancy – more cookies than delicate airy macarons.
Many argue that the macaron originated way back in the late 1700s, when Carmelite nuns baked these sweet treats as a way of supplementing their meat-free diet. According to the Larousse Gastronomique, these nuns followed Theresa of Avila’s principle to the letter: ‘Almonds are good for girls who don’t eat meat’. During the French Revolution, two nuns who were in hiding in the French town Nancy specialised in making the macarons and became known as “Les Soeurs Macarons” – in 1952, the street where they operated was named after them and Macarons de Nancy are still sold there today. The original cookie was simply ground almonds, sugar and egg whites – similar to what we all now know as a macaron today but completely different in texture (and way less fussy to make!). Check out an image of les macarons de Nancy here.
I discovered these last summer, after seeing them featured on Cuisine.tv then visiting Patisserie Aurore Capucine in Paris. They are certainly unique treats – more brownie/ cookie like than French macarons, even though they have basically the same ingredients. The ones I sampled with my best taste-tester, Cathy, were quite large:
(and quite colourful!)
I’ve had this this recipe for a while now, just never had a chance to make it. I felt Nutella Day would be the perfect occasion, and so I substituted ground hazelnuts for the ground almonds the recipe calls for, and added cocoa powder instead of honey. I also made mini versions – these are about the size of my regular macarons – a one, maybe two bite affair.
Hurrah! Macarons that are SUPPOSED to be cracked on top!
The filling, a thin coat only, unlike French macarons, is a combination of Nutella and some of the cookie dough batter. Don’t worry, the egg white is actually cooked before you put it in the oven! It’s SO good….
- 105 g ground hazelnuts
- 150 g granulated sugar
- 10 g cocoa powder
- 60 g egg whites
- 4 tablespoons Nutella
- approx 2 tablespoons icing sugar
- Pre-heat oven to 320˚F.
- Prepare a cookie tray with a sheet of parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- In a metal or glass bowl, combine all ingredients except the Nutella and icing sugar and mix until it turns into a paste.
- Place the bowl over a saucepan of boiling water (make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water) and cook until the paste turns slightly liquid, about 7 minutes. If you insert a candy thermometer, it should read about 90˚F.
- Separate 2 generous tablespoons of the mix, place in a small dish with the Nutella and mix well. Keep this at room temperature.
- Place the rest of the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain piping tip (Ateco 803) and pipe small rounds of the mixture onto the cookie tray.
- Moisten a paper towel and smooth the tops of the rounds so they are shiny. This will help them stay shiny as they bake.
- Sprinkle icing sugar over the tops and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely before sandwiching like halves with the Nutella/ batter mixture. It should only be a small amount of filling (i.e. not like French macarons - you should not see the filling at all).
- Refrigerate for 2 hours then bring to room temperature for about 15 minutes before you eat them.
Easy to make, super tasty (and rich – the mini sized ones are perfect!) and pretty in their clumsy cracked way…
Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside (especially once the filling has had a chance to soften the interior of the cookie a little), these are macarons for everyone!
Happy Nutella Day! Even if you don’t make anything – grab a spoon and celebrate!