As a food blogger, I won’t deny there are certain, shall we say, perks. Including receiving large boxes of edible goodies like the box of Green & Black’s organic chocolate bars I received recently to bake with and review. I’ll admit that for me to set aside chocolate to bake with can sometimes be hard – and I mean, you have to *taste* the chocolate before you bake with it,right? And then it can be hard to stop at just one square…
I had a hard time choosing which bar to bake with but ended up going with the Dark Chocolate with Ginger – “fiery, spicy, crystallized Chinese ginger” in smooth 60% dark chocolate. I like the combination of the spicy ginger and the smooth chocolate and the 60% works well – any more intense and it would be too bitter. This is the type of chocolate that I like a couple of small squares of with a coffee after a meal. It’s so good on its own it doesn’t need much fancying up! This is in part, why I had a hard time choosing what to bake with it – I actually just wanted to keep it for my mid-morning chocolate fixes at work!
In the end, I chose to keep it simple and use it in a rich, smooth chocolate ganache which is so versatile – you can use it to top ice cream with, to dunk cookies in, to dip chocolate truffles in, to sandwich macarons, to squirt onto a spoon and eat it plain… The list is endless… And because it’s not too sweet, it’s perfect in quite sweet desserts – like these macarons à l’ancienne….
I’ve made a version of these (macarons à l’ancienne, macarons craquelés or macarons de Nancy), the original macaron, before with a hazelnut flavour for World Nutella Day. Then I made them again recently for a Real Women of Philadelphia assignment – this time with a strawberry theme…
Read the story behind the ORIGINAL macaron here and get the recipe for these strawberry Macarons de Nancy/ macarons à l’ancienne here.
The strawberry version of the original macaron was so popular in my staff room that I decided to play around a little with the flavours to create a plain chocolate shell that I thought would go really well with a chocolate-ginger ganache… Since the original macaron was not a sandwich cookie, I dipped half of these in the ganache and filled the remainder to make sandwich-style cookies. My colleagues couldn’t choose which they preferred but I liked the options the ganache provides by being so versatile as it boasts both a dipping or a filling consistency.
- 120g almond meal
- 180g granulated sugar
- 10g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 75g egg white (approximately 2 large eggs)
- For the filling
- ¼ cup whipping (35% cream)
- 100g Green & Black's Ginger Dark Chocolate, roughly chopped
- Heat oven to 300˚F.
- Prepare 2 baking trays with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Fit a 14" piping bag with a plain tip (I like to use Ateco 803)
- In a medium bowl, combine the almond meal, sugar and cocoa powder, whisking well.
- In a separate metal bowl using an electric hand mixer, whip the egg whites to soft peaks.
- Combine the dry ingredients into the egg whites, mixing to completely incorporate the dry ingredients. The mixture will be like a very thick nut paste consistency.
- Transfer mixture to the prepared pastry bag fitted and pipe out circles of the mixture, approximately 1-2 inches in diameter.
- Wet a small piece of paper towel and smooth the tops of the cookies over.
- Sprinkle the cookies with icing sugar.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. The cookies will crack on top and will still be a little soft when you remove them from the oven.
- While the cookies are baking, prepare the filling.
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan until nearly boiling.
- Pour over chocolate and allow to sit for a few minutes, then gently whisk to combine. Set aside.
- When the cookies are baked, place them on a wire rack to cool.
- Once cooled, you can dip some of the cookies in the chocolate ganache and then allow them to set.
- Place the rest of the ganache in a piping bag and allow to sit in a cool place (or the fridge) until it’s hard enough to pipe – it should be Nutella-like consistency.
- Pipe a small amount of filling in the centre of ½ of the remaining cookies and top these with a second cookie, twisting the cookie slightly to push the ganache out to the edges of the cookies.
- Place the filled cookies in an airtight container the fridge to store. Bring to room temperature (10-15 minutes) before eating.
The popularity of these in my staff room is well-deserved. The slight crunch of the outer shell of the cookies combined with the chewiness of the interior is a perfect match with the smooth filling. The ginger pieces are a surprise for sure but they really work well with the sweetness of the cookie. Perfect for an afternoon (or anytime!) pick-me-up! The single cookies dipped in ganache would make a wonderful after dinner treat too!
Disclosure: I was provided with samples of Green & Black’s chocolate so I could develop this recipe. I was also compensated for my time. Opinions are my own, as always.
Let’s ALL get kids excited about food on May 16th 2014 – Food Revolution Day! Check out all the details on how you can participate here.
Canadians – win a Nespresso VertuoLine coffee machine. Closes May 10th 6pm EST. Details here.