as a last minute entry, i came up with this recipe for the chocolate adventure contest sponsored by scharffen berger chocolate maker and tuttifoodie. for 2012, i believe they are looking for a delicious phenomenal chocolate sandwich cookie, using scharffen berger chocolates and one or more of the 12 adventurous ingredients. the adventurous ingredients i chose were the chili pepper and coconut milk.
below's the recipe i came up with. it's pretty simple but i think the chili pepper chocolate ganache definitely adds a kick to your typical chocolate ganache and for sure, this macaron cookie is not your usual chocolate sandwich cookie.
so if you're adventurous enough too, please feel free to try this recipe out yourself and let me know what you think! happy baking and eating! :)
the chili pepper powder adds that unexpected but very tasteful kick to your typical chocolate ganache for this macaron filling.
chocolate macarons with chili pepper chocolate ganache
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup almond meal
3 tablespoons Scharffen Berger unsweetened natural cocoa powder (any brand cocoa powder will do too if you don't have this kind)
more cocoa powder for macaron shell topping (optional)
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
reduced coconut milk:
1/2 cup coconut milk
chili pepper ganache filling:
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 (9.7 oz) Scharffen Berger 62% cacao semisweet chocolate baking bar, cut into pieces (any chocolate baking bar or chips will work too)
1/4 cup reduced coconut milk* (see above)
to make the macaron batter/shells:
- line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch, 2 cm) ready.
- sift together the powdered sugar, almond meal and 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder so there are no lumps. set aside.
- in the bowl of a standing electric mixer (or if you prefer, you can use a bowl and hand mixer), beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. while whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes.
- carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. when the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you’re alone).
- pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1.35-inch circles evenly spaced one-inch apart. quickly after it's piped, if you wish, sprinkle some cocoa powder over each shell using a small sifter.
- rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons. then let it sit for at least 30-60 minutes depending on humidity before baking them in the oven. about 10-15 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. bake for 15 minutes.
- once macaron shells are out of the oven, let them sit for 30-60 seconds before removing the hot baking sheet underneath. let the macarons cool completely before removing them from the parchment paper.
for reduced coconut milk:
- bring coconut milk to boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat.
- reduce heat to medium-low; boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, stirring occasionally, about 5-7 minutes.
- remove from heat. transfer to small bowl.
for the chili pepper chocolate ganache filling:
- using microwave-safe bowl, place chocolate in microwave oven at medium power (50% power) for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. remove and stir. if chocolate is not melted, return to microwave and repeat heating step, stirring every 20 seconds to avoid scorching. when small lumps remain, remove and continue to stir to complete melting.
- heat the reduced coconut milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. then add it to the melted chocolate. stir until combine.
- add in the 3/4 teaspoon of chili powder. mix until incorporated.
- let ganache cool completely before using. you can put it in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process a bit if you like. i do it all the time. or if ganache looks like it's spreadable and not too thin (like in drizzle form) you can go ahead and use it to assemble the cookies.
to assemble the macaron cookies:
- before assembling these cookies, make sure to pair up all the cookie shells so they are as close as possible in size.
- using a knife, spread a good amount of the chili pepper chocolate ganache on the inside of the macarons then sandwich them together.
- let them stand at least one day (keep them refrigerated) before serving (serve at room temperature), to meld the flavors.
store in airtight container for up to 5 days. makes 20-24 macarons. happy eating! :)