I’ve always thought there was something magical about macarons. The dainty French cookies that line bakery cases like colorful little soldiers have always felt fancy, like a special treat reserved for posh ladies with tiny dogs and big sunglasses. Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m delusional, or maybe my inner Francophile is getting away from itself, but either way, I absolutely adore macarons. These mocha macarons are no exception.
I went to France as a junior in college. With stars in my eyes and a mini French dictionary in my pocket, I roamed the streets in terribly uncomfortable shoes (because fashion, duh) doing my best to look like I belonged. Although I’ve heard many people say that they didn’t enjoy their time in France, I found the place to be entirely alluring: the scent of warm butter and pastry wafting out of patisserie doorways; music and the twinkling of wine glasses on cozy bistro street fronts; the elegant faces of countless humans that dripped in an air of effortless cool. The France I discovered that January won my affection immediately, and I have yet to experience a country that has met me with half as much mystery and intrigue.
“I didn’t meet a pastry in France that I didn’t love, but none charmed me quite like the macaron.”
Of course I was completely captivated by the cuisine. With my mother and Nana, I visited a number of cafes and restaurants. There wasn’t a creperie, boulangerie, or patisserie that I didn’t attempt to nibble my way through. I inhaled clouds of powdered sugar from shatteringly crispy croissants and licked the warm puddles of Nutella that dripped out of folded crepes and onto my fingers. We taste-tested brioche and palmiers and eclairs and caneles, each bite more sumptuous than the last.
I didn’t meet a pastry in France that I didn’t love, but none charmed me quite like the macaron. At that time, in 2008, mini food was all the rage. Tiny cupcakes, bite-sized burgers, and shot glasses of bisque were everywhere; macarons fit right into that profile. The colorful cookies with surprising flavors and creamy insides seemed to go hand in hand with the meticulous French cuisine that I was discovering, and I couldn’t wait to gobble them up.
Once home, I eventually garnered the bravery to attempt macarons on my own, and over the years there have been many batches of macarons, some successful and some not. More recently, after extensive help from Tessa, I was able to nail down a practice that worked best for me, and since then I’ve let my imagination go wild. Nutella raspberry macarons? Cake batter flavored? Toffee peanut? Mint truffle? The possibilities are endless.
These mocha macarons capture my first time in Paris. Each cookie is petite and precise, and the flavors of espresso and rich chocolate feel like ones best enjoyed in the city of light. I’m sharing today’s recipe with help from my friends at Nestlé Toll House who are debuting the Artisan Collection- luxurious premium baking chips made with single-origin chocolate from Ghana. Deluxe treats like macarons deserve equally special ingredients, and Nestlé ‘s new chocolate fits the bill. Here’s the lowdown on these mocha macarons:
The macaron shells are airy cookies made with whipped egg whites, sifted almond flour, and confectioner’s sugar. I’ve added a touch of espresso powder to the dry ingredients to create a cookie shell that is lightly flavored and speckled with the granules. To double down on the coffee flavor, I added a bit of that same espresso powder to the ganache filling that was prepared using Artisan Collection Extra Semi-Sweet chocolate baking chips by Nestlé Toll House. The sweet chocolate offsets the bitterness in the espresso, and, when combined with warm cream, makes a thick ganache that is fudgy at room temperature. The cookies are simultaneously light and rich, and I found myself eating more than my fair share the first time around because they were just that tempting.
I highly recommend you give these mocha macarons and Artisan Collection a try for your next baking adventure. They also offer an Extra Dark variety that has 61% cacao. I tested this chocolate in shortbread cookies, and they were phenomenal. Both options can be used for these mocha macarons, and you won’t be disappointed. I’ll be sharing an additional recipe later this week, so stay tuned. In the meantime, happy baking!
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These mocha macarons feature an espresso-scented shell and an espresso ganache filling!
- Prep Time: 45
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 26
- Category: cookies
For the macaron shells:
- 1–1/2 cups (144 gm) almond flour
- 1–1/3 cups (145 gm) powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons espresso granules
- 120 gm room temperature egg whites (from about 3–4 large eggs)
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (120 gm) sugar
For the espresso ganache:
- 5 ounces extra semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped or in morsels (I recommend the Artisan Collection by NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE® Extra Semi-Sweet variety)
- 1 teaspoon espresso granules
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- Additional chocolate, if desired
To prepare the macarons:
- Line two of three baking sheets with parchment paper templates or silicone baking mats set over the templates and fit a large piping bag with a plain round tip.
- In a food processor, combine the almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, and espresso granules and process the mixture for 1-2 minutes, stopping once to scrape down the bowl, until the almond flour is finely ground. Sift the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Discard any large chunks left in the sieve or grind again until fine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a whisk attachment (make sure both are clean and grease-free!), whisk the room temperature egg whites on low speed until they begin to foam, form small tight bubbles, and turn opaque. Over the course of a couple of minutes, very gradually increase the speed to medium while slowly adding the granulated sugar. Mix on medium-high until stiff peaks form.
- Using a flexible rubber spatula, scrape the meringue off the whisk attachment into the bowl with the almond mixture. Begin folding the meringue and almond mixture together, five to ten folds. Scrape in the meringue from the mixer bowl and continue to fold the mixture until incorporated, rotating the bowl as your go. Every so often, gently deflate the meringue by smearing the batter around the side of the bowl. Stop folding once the correct consistency is achieved: the batter should flow very slowly like lava.
- Fill the prepared piping bag with the macaron batter. Holding the bag straight down, pipe the macarons. I prefer to use a stencil to ensure the macarons are the same size. Once one baking sheet is full, tap the bottom of the sheet a few times in each corner with the palm of your hang. Set aside and repeat with the remaining prepared baking sheet(s). Set the piped macaron shells aside to rest for 20 to 40 minutes, until a skin forms over the shells and the tops feel dry to the touch.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the center position.
- Bake the macaron shells once sheet at a time for 12 to 14 minutes, until the tops feel secured to the feet but wiggle very slightly when nudged.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Let the macaron shells cool on the baking sheets for at least 5 minutes. Repeat to bake and cool the remaining shells.
To prepare and use the filling:
- Place the chocolate in a medium heat-safe bowl. Warm the cream on the stove or in the microwave until just barely steaming or about to bubble.
- Pour the cream into the chocolate and add the espresso granules. Whisk until the chocolate is smooth and feel free to microwave in 15 second increments until the chocolate has melted.
- Allow the mixture to set up slightly, either on the counter or in the fridge while stirring often, until it is a slightly thickened fudgy consistency that will move through a piping bag.
- Fit a piping bag with a round tip and squeeze 1-2 teaspoon sized dollops into the center of half of the macaron shells.
- Top with an additional macaron shell and allow to set up. In the meantime, feel free to gently warm and melt a small about (about 1/3 cup) of chocolate and drizzle or piping decorative stripes on top of the sandwich cookies. Enjoy!
- Using a macaron stencil is helpful in making sure your macaron shells are uniform in size.
- Instant coffee granules can be used in a pinch.