Dark chocolate filling was requested and since these are to be given away as door gifts to children, non-refrigerated filling is required. Macarons that don't need refrigeration seem to be in demand nowadays!
200g almond powder/ground almond, preferably superfine
200g icing sugar
200g caster sugar
160g egg whites, divide into one 80g and two 40g portions
1/4 tsp white powder colouring (optional)
12g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/8 tsp charcoal powder
75 ml water
1. Make the mass. Sift together icing sugar and almond powder. Divide into two equal portions.
2. Add sifted white powder into one portion, and cocoa powder and charcoal powder into the other. Use a hand whisk to mix well.
3. Add 40g of egg whites into each powdered mixture.
4. Make the Italian meringue. Heat caster sugar and water in a small sauce pan without stirring until the syrup temperature reaches 115°C. In the mean time, beat 80g of egg whites in a clean metal bowl with electric mixer until foamy and opaque. Do not beat past the soft peak stage. Turn the mixer speed down if necessary to keep egg whites moving. Once syrup reaches 115°C, remove from heat, turn mixer speed up to medium-high and slowly pour the syrup into the egg whites. Keep beating for 10 minutes until meringue is stiff, glossy and cool.
5. Divide the meringue into two. Fold the meringue into the masses in two additions, with the first addition using about a third of the portion. Do watch my video demo for the macaronage process and how to test if the batter is ready. Fold until batter moves in a slow-moving lava-like manner.
6. Transfer about 2tbs of brown batter and 3 tbs of white batter into piping bags fitted with a Wilton #5 tip. Transfer the rest of the batter into piping bags fitted with Wilton #12 tip. Pipe the head followed by the ears. Remember to bang the tray a few times on the table after piping.
7. Dry the piped shells under a fan or in an aircon room for 1-2 hours or until the shell is dry to touch.
8. Bake in preheated oven at 130°C for 17-22 minutes for white shells and 140°C for 17-22 minutes for brown shells. Note that chocolate shells need a longer time to dry out. Bake for a few minutes more at 120°C if the shells are still stuck to the baking sheet.
Prepare some royal icing to add on the facial features. I used black edible marker to add on Cony's face as the lines are too fine to be piped or painted on with royal icing.
Icing in progress!
It's a challenge to decorate the macaron shells freehand with no room for error!
Filling the shells with Meiji dark chocolate melted with a bit of vegetable shortening (60g finely chopped chocolate and 8g vegetable shortening melted together)...
The addition of vegetable shortening is to help the chocolate to remain in an easy-to-pipe consistency for a longer time and helps the filling to be less dry. If the melted chocolate is too runny, let it sit out for several minutes before checking the consistency again. Although butter and heavy cream are traditionally used for making ganache, it is not advisable to use these for something that is going to be kept at room temperature (in Singapore) for an unknown period of time when giving out the final product as door gifts.
You may refrigerate the macarons for 5 minutes to speed up the firming up of the chocolate. Pack in airtight container/self-seal cookie bag once the chocolate has firmed up. You may store the macarons in a cool room without the need to refrigerate for up to a week or two.