Having taken an unannounced hiatus of sorts, I knew I had to come back from the holidays with a bang. What not a better way than to participate in MacAttack3, a virtual mac kitchen that was the brainstorm of Deeba and Jaime.
Having gotten to know Deeba via Twitter over the last year, I kept hearing her and many of my other Twitter friends getting ecstatic over these things called "feet"- the ruffley bottom, a sign of a perfectly "born" French Macaron. Monthly, the cries of joy, literally, from around the world, were like a wave through the Twitterverse, all full of happiness and parental pride. Supposedly, this little thing called a mac, simple in its ingredients, was a stubborn little mule.
So I decided to try my hand at the infamous mac a few weeks ago, using cardamom as my signature flavor. You know, Moi, the maker of custom cakes and all things fondantly difficult..? How difficult could a mac possibly be...pffft!
I ground the almonds. Try as I might they took forever to come to the consistency needed for a smooth batter. I whisked my egg whites and, for the very first time in my life, they refused to stiffen properly. I folded in my almonds and spice, battling the lumps with each fold. Finally, piping the mac batter onto a dark, non-stick liner, I placed them into the oven, certain that my macs would listen to their momma.
They baked all too quickly, and, while they had something resembling "feet", they were only a couple millimeters tall, too dark, and harder than the pan they rested on. Just like a difficult child.
After more encouragement from my Twitter friends, Deeba, Barbara, Paula, Renee, and Barbara, I decided to give it another go, this time using Paulas Chocolate Macaron recipe. The reason I chose her recipe, besides the fact that her macs are simply gorgeous, was simply because her recipe had all the conversions from grams to cups, which had been part of my prior difficulty, already done.
So today, on my second mac attempt, I gave birth to 20 pretty and perfect Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Chili Cream Cheese frosting... complete with all their chubbby little "feet".
Chocolate Chili Cream Cheese Filling
4 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1.5 oz StoneGround Guajillo Chili Chocolate (or your favorite chocolate)
In medium bowl whip cream cheese with vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Slowly add half of the powdered sugar until well blended. Set aside.
In a small microwave safe bowl, grate chocolate, preferrably with a microplane grater. Place bowl into microwave and heat, in 15-20 second increments until melted.
Add to bowl with cream cheese and beat until well incorporated. Slowly add remaining powdered sugar, mixing well, until a nice smooth (but not runny) consistency, adding more if necessary.
Spread mixture on the flat side of one mac, making a sandwich with another.
Makes approximately 20 Macarons.