There are so many cute baked good variations on Valentine's Day boxes of chocolate, I had to throw my version into the big heart shaped ring.
These were a bit more work than making regular French macarons but the shell decorating is fun and creative.
To start with, I made a batch of chocolate macarons and piped them into round, square, rectangle and oval shapes.
I dug into my freezer and rummaged through what seems to be an endless supply of leftover various flavored and colored buttercream and ganache and pulled out some pink buttercream, chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache to fill the shells.
Then another seemingly endless supply of leftover royal icing was unearthed from which white and purple colors were selected. Also disco dust, mini chocolate chips, lip and XO sprinkles were added to the decorating pile.
I went to work on the filled macarons, using corn syrup to attach the sprinkles and chips, diluting the disco just with vodka to spread the dust on the shells and piped on the royal icing.
Empty Valentine's chocolates boxes were purchased at the dollar store to fill with the macarons. And here you have it, box of chocolate macarons, a unique Valentine's day treat.
Box of Chocolate French Macarons
For the Chocolate Macarons:
Use a kitchen scale for precise measurements.
- 3 egg whites - aged at least 2 days. Let them sit out on the counter uncovered.
- 25-50 grams of fine granulated sugar
- 200 grams of powdered sugar (minus 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 110 Grams of almond flour*
- Pinch of cream of tarter
- Pinch of salt
*You can buy almond flour that has been ground with or without the skin. I use the later (blanched). The former looks really nice if you are not coloring the shells. You can also grind your own almond flour by putting whole or sliced almonds in a food processor or blender. If you do, make sure you throw a little of the powdered sugar in to prevent the almonds from forming a paste.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use a silpat.
- Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour together or pulse them together briefly in a food processor. Make sure there are no large pieces.
- Remove and discard two tablespoons of the mixture and whisk in the tablespoons of cocoa powder and set aside.
- Whip the egg whites. When they start to get foamy, slowly add the sugar. Continue whipping until you can turn the bowl upside down and nothing slides out. Add the pinches of salt and cream of tartar.
- Add the powdered sugar/almond/cocoa mixture to the egg white mixture and fold, using quick strokes at first then slow down. The batter should have a "flowing like lava" consistency. Make a peak of the batter and if it does not disappear after 5-7 seconds, keep folding. If it's running all over the place, you will probably have to start over.
- Place a pastry bag fitted with a round shaped tip in a tall water and and fold the edges down around the glass.
- Fill the pastry bag with the macaron batter, twist the open top to secure and pipe circles, ovals, rectangles and squares onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or on a Silpat.
- Let the macarons dry for about a half hour or until they harden.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Place the macarons on the middle rack in the oven. I keep the oven door propped open with a dish towel or wooden spoon.
- I place another empty baking sheet on top to prevent the shells from becoming toasted and discolored.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes.
- When checking them after 10 minutes or so, if the ones in the back of the sheet seem to be cooking faster that the ones in front, flip the tray around.
- To test to see if they are done, peel the baking paper or silpat back, if the shell comes off easily, they are done.
- If you do have a problem with the shells sticking to the surface when removed from the oven, lift up the baking paper and pour a bit of water underneath. this will steam them off the paper.
- Transfer to a baking rack and let cool completely before matching up the shells into pairs according to size and then fill.
For the filling:
You can use any types of buttercream or ganache you like. A good chocolate ganache recipe van be found at Joy of Cooking. For buttercream filling, I often use Magnolia Bakery's Vanilla Buttercream recipe and switch up the flavors by adding different extracts and food coloring.
For a good royal icing recipe, check out Bake at 350. Besides royal icing, I used mini chocolate chips, lip and XO shaped sprinkles as well as disco dust. Be creative with whatever you have in your cabinet or leftover bits and pieces.