Cherry Chocolate Macarons

When I was growing up my Grandmother had a designated “candy cupboard”. She had many kinds of candy in that cupboard. My Mother was not fond of that cupboard.-but that’s what Grandmothers do- give anxious little children all the naughty pleasures our hearts desire. {Just in case you needed reminding}.  It took my sister and I all of  about 2.5 seconds at mach speed to launch head first into that cupboard once inside the door.  One of the things she always had was a box of chocolate covered cherries. I thought all Grandmothers had chocolate covered cherries in their cupboard. No, seriously.  I cannot remember a time when my Grandmother did not have those cherries. Yes, there were all sorts of goodies and other candies in that  naughty cupboard but the cherries is what always called my name. To this very day whenever I bite into a chocolate covered cherry I think of my Grandma.  Let’s face it, chocolate and cherry are a winning combo in anything.

Chocolate Ganache:

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chopped fine

8 oz. heavy cream

In a medium bowl place the chopped chocolate. Bring heavy cream to a boil; pour over the chocolate and let sit for about 1 minute and then slowly whisk gently to combine being careful not incorporate too much air. Let ganache chill in refrigerator until set.

Cherry Macarons:

200 gms almond flour, sifted

200 gms confectioners sugar, sifted

1/2 cup freeze-dried cherries

75 gms egg whites

1 dram of cherry flavoring (I used Lorann oil Cherry)

red food coloring as desired

200 gms granulated sugar

50 gms water

75 gms egg whites (room temp)

pinch of cream of tartar

1. In a food processor combine the confectioners sugar and freeze-dried cherries until the cherries have been pulverized. In a large bowl combine the almond flour, and confectioners sugar/chery mixture. Add the 75 gms of egg whites, and cherry flavoring  and stir to combine. Stir in gel red food coloring until batter is a deep red hue.  Set aside.

2. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine 75 gms of egg whites and the cream of tartar and begin whipping them on medium-high speed.

At the same time combine the 200 gms of  granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan on high heat; bring to 240° without stirring while whipping the egg whites on your mixer simultaneously. You want the cooking sugar syrup to reach 240 degrees at the same time your whites reach stiff peaks. To time this; keep the stand mixer next to the stove so you can peek at the whites while still watching your cooking syrup. If you notice the whites starting to get too stiff before the sugar is done; slow down the mixer to low speed.

3. Once the syrup is at 240 degrees, stop/take off the heat and start pouring the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl slowly with the mixer running on slow-medium at the same time; careful not to let the syrup hit the whisk to prevent hard syrup forming. Once all the syrup is in, crank up the mixer and whip the whites until very glossy and stiff.

4. Take the whipped meringue and place on top of the almond mixture and start to  fold gently until all of the meringue is incorporated; careful not to deflate the mixture. You are looking for a thick consistency like lava. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and pipe the cookies on parchment lined sheet trays; leaving at least an inch space between cookies. Take the trays and rap them hard on the counter to release any air bubbles. Let the trays sit out anywhere from 30-60 minutes; as long as it takes until when you touch the top of the cookies they are dry and no longer tacky to the touch.

5. Bake the cookies double panned (placing one empty tray underneath the piped cookies) one tray at a time in a 325° oven for about 16-18 minutes until the cookies are no longer wet on the bottom and appear dry. Sacrifice one if you have to test. Let the cookies cool. Sandwich with the chocolate ganache. Store the cookies in the fridge covered loosely for 8 hours or overnight; this helps the cookies become even more chewy as the moisture from the filling helps the texture of the cookie.

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