Hello friends! Today let’s make Chocolate Macarons! In this page you will find a video with the best Chocolate Macaron recipe, plus many tips showing you how to make chocolate macarons with the Swiss method!
Also make sure to watch the Chocolate Macarons video on this page or on YouTube, showing you exactly how to make these delicious macarons!
There’s always a lot of buzz around chocolate macaron shells, it can cause many bakers to question their skills because chocolate shells are prone to have issues. But why is that? Today we will cover that. We will talk about why your chocolate macaron shells might be failing. I will give you the best tips for success, how to troubleshoot your chocolate macaron issues, what is the best brand of cocoa powder to use.
We will also talk about the best fillings for chocolate shells, and at the end I will discuss my favorite macaron baking surface: parchment or silicone!
Why do my chocolate macarons always fail?
Have you ever asked yourself that question? I get this question on a daily basis.
Making chocolate macarons can be tricky because of the cocoa powder. That’s because when you add cocoa powder to the shells, you are also adding fat.
Some cocoa powder brands have higher fat content than others.
And depending on the fat content of the almond flour you use, the fat in the cocoa powder will also add into that, which will affect the shells greatly.
Fat particles disrupt the meringue by bonding with the proteins.
The proteins are forming a very organized structure to protect the air bubbles from deflating and the water particles from getting into contact with the air bubbles. If there’s too much fat in the mix, the proteins will bond with them, which will weaken the structure of the meringue. So when that happens, you will come across cracked, wrinkled, porous macaron shells, or macaron shells with no feet.
So what is the solution?
Best cocoa powder for Chocolate Macarons
Does the type of cocoa powder matter when making chocolate macaron shells? Absolutely does.
As I mentioned above, the cocoa powder you are using could be the reason why your chocolate shells are failing.
Here are a few things to look at: the cocoa powder should be fresh (old and stale cocoa powder will have released fat, and that’s not good for macarons). Second thing, make sure the cocoa powder you are using to bake your macaron shells has low fat content.
I’ve analyzed my favorite cocoa powder brands: Valrhona, Callebaut, and Hershey’s. While Callebaut and Valrhona are amazing brands, their cocoa powder has 1.5 grams of fat per tbsp. Hershey’s has 0.5 grams of fat per tablespoon, so as you can see, 3 times less fat.
You want to use a cocoa powder that has about 0.5 grams of fat per tablespoon or so. That’s not to say that Callebaut or Valrhona won’t work for macarons at all, might work for some people. Other things may impact this also, such as the almond flour brand you are using. Perhaps the almond flour you are using already has increased fat as well, so that combined with the extra fat in the cocoa powder will also cause the issues mentioned above: cracked, porous, feet-less, or wrinkled shells.
On top of that, something else we should look at is the amount of cocoa powder in the recipe. My recipe, as you can see below, has 14 grams of cocoa powder. To some people that’s considered super high. For me and others, it works, so I continue to use this amount. However, if you have switched the cocoa powder brand, if you have made sure your cocoa powder is fresh, and if you have made sure your almond flour isn’t oily, but still the macarons are failing, you can consider lowering the amount of cocoa powder in the shells.
If using my recipe, reduce the amount of cocoa powder to 5 to 10 grams, you choose! Maybe you want to use 7 grams instead of 14 grams, it’s up to you to experiment and see if you land in a good measurement. However, if you reduce the cocoa powder, make sure to substitute the same amount you’ve substituted with powdered sugar.
So for example, if you decide to use my recipe and use 7 grams of cocoa powder instead of 14 grams, add another 7 grams of powdered sugar to the dry ingredients when sifting them together.
Some people even prefer omitting the cocoa powder altogether and just using brown food coloring to dye the shells instead. I honestly love chocolate shells and I won’t consider doing this, so if you do want to perfect your chocolate shells, try the substitutions I’ve suggested above first. Even a small amount of cocoa will add amazing flavor to the macarons, it’s worth it!
How to know when to stop folding chocolate macaron batter?
Once you add the dry ingredients (almond flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder) to the meringue, how long should you fold the batter?
This is a question I get a lot, to which there is no right answer for. I can’t give you an exact number of minutes that you should fold the batter. It takes me about 5 minutes to do the macaronage, however, it may take you longer or less time.
Depending on the consistency of the meringue, on the weather (humid weather will make the batter absorb water from the air, which can make the batter seemingly softer), it will affect how long you should fold the batter. If the meringue is softer, the batter will take less time to come together, if you add a lot of food coloring, it will make the batter runnier as well, so all of these are things to take into consideration.
Instead of focusing on the number of minutes, focus on what should the perfect batter look like.
The batter should be flowing off the spatula slowly and effortlessly. If you grab some batter with the spatula, you should be able to draw several figure 8s with the batter that’s flowing off the spatula without having it break up, and even after the batter breaks up, it will still continue to flow slowly off the spatula. If the batter is just running non-stop at a fast speed, it means it’s been over mixed, or it can mean the meringue was too soft to begin with.
You can also perform the Teaspoon test, in which you spoon some batter on the tray, give it a few gentle taps, and watch how it behaves. The batter should spread out and lose the peak on top after a minute or so after being spooned onto the tray.
Do the egg whites need to be at room temperature to make chocolate macarons?
I don’t use egg whites at room temperature, unless they were already on the counter. I don’t purposefully go out of my way to bring the egg whites to room temperature to make macarons. But that’s because I use the Swiss method, and in the Swiss method, we make a sugar syrup with the egg whites and granulated sugar over a double boiler, so the whites will not be cold by the time we start whipping them.
If using the French method, it’s best to use room temperature egg whites, but with the Swiss method it will make no difference.
The only thing that will be impacted is how long it will take for the sugar to melt over the double boiler. If the whites were cold from the fridge, the sugar may take a bit longer to dissolve.
Can I add egg white powder to Chocolate Macaron recipe?
Read more about egg white powder here, the science behind it, how and why it works.
Egg white powder acts as a stabilizer for the meringue, it is basically dried egg whites, and it adds more protein to the meringue without the extra added water content.
When making regular shells, I like to add around 4 grams of egg white powder to each 100 grams of egg whites, however when making chocolate or matcha shells, I only like to add about 2 grams of egg white powder per 100 grams of whites, that’s because the cocoa powder and matcha powder will already dry the batter a bit, since they absorb a lot of water.
If you live in a dry climate, I don’t recommend adding egg white powder to your shells at all. But during summer or humid months, you can benefit from experimenting with it.
What are the best fillings for Chocolate Macarons?
I have an immense amount of fillings that would go amazing with chocolate macaron shells. Here are some of the suggested fillings from my blog:
- Snickers Macarons (favorite alert!)
- Hot Chocolate Macarons
- Peppermint Bark Macarons
- Caramel Macaron Cake
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Macarons
- S’mores Macarons
- Chocolate Caramel Macarons
- Pecan Turtle Macarons
- Nutella Macarons
- German Chocolate Macarons
- Brownie Macarons
Down below in the recipe I have posted two beautiful filling ideas: Rich Chocolate Buttercream, and Chocolate Ganache. Check both of them out, and let me know which one is your favorite!
This super dark and rich chocolate frosting is amazing and only takes 5 ingredients, and about 5 minutes to put it together. The ganache is fairly easy too, and many people prefer it since it tends to be less sweet than regular American Buttercream, specially if using dark chocolate to make the ganache.
This super dark and rich chocolate frosting is amazing and only takes 5 ingredients, and about 5 minutes to put it together.
I also use it on my Brownie Macarons, by the way, on this Brownie Macarons post, I also give a lot of tips on how to troubleshoot your oven when baking macarons!
After many requests for a different chocolate filling for macarons other than buttercream, I am also providing a recipe below for a ganache filling, which can be made with the chocolate of your preference, milk, dark, semi-sweet.
You can find instructions below on the recipe card! I know many people find the American buttercream to be too sweet. So I thought it was important to provide another option of chocolate macaron filling.
Parchment Paper versus Silicone Mat
Do you use silicone or parchment to bake your macarons? I’d love to know, let me know down below in the comments.
I love using silicone mat. Before, I used to bake my macarons on parchment, however, once I started baking on silicone, I never went back.
What’s better for baking macarons: parchment paper or silicon mat?
Hands down silicon mat in my own personal opinion. With the parchment paper, I would often get uneven bottoms on my macaron shells. You can even see it on some of my older macaron posts.
Ever since I started making macarons using a silicon mat instead of a parchment paper, I never looked back!
As always, I really appreciate you being here and reading my posts, and recipes!! Thank you! Have a lovely day. Happy baking!!
Chocolate Macaron Shells
- 100 grams egg whites
- 100 grams white sugar
- 2 grams egg white powder optional (read notes)
- 96 grams almond flour
- 75 grams powdered sugar
- 14 grams cocoa powder
- brown food coloring (optional to deepen the color)
Rich Chocolate Frosting
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter (70 grams)
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder (40 grams)
- 2 3/4 cup powdered sugar (343 grams)
- 2-4 tbsp milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Ganache Filling option
- 200 grams chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips)
- 2/3 cup heavy cream (156 ml)
Chocolate Macaron Shells
- Before you start, get all of the ingredients ready. Prepare a large piping bag, fitted with a round tip, I like to use a Wilton 12 or a tip measuring 1/4" in diameter.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat.
- I use a baking mat with the macaron template already in it. You can make your own or print it from the internet, and just place it under silicone mat, or parchment paper.
- Wipe the mats and bowls you will use down with vinegar, this gets rid of any grease particles that might be in the tools.
- Measure out the ingredients before starting out.
- Sift the powdered sugar, almond flour, and cocoa powder together. Set aside.
- Whisk the sugar and the egg white powder (if using) in a bowl, and place it over a pan with barely simmering water.
- Add the egg whites to the sugar and whisk the mixture until frothy and the sugar is completely melted. It will take a couple of minutes. You can test by touching the mixture between your fingers, and if you don't feel any sugar granules you can remove it from the heat.
- Make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the simmering water.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer.
- With the whisk attachment, start whisking the syrup on low (speed 2 KitchenAid) for about 30 seconds.
- After 30 seconds I’ll increase the speed to 4 and let the meringue whip for another couple of minutes here. Now I will finish whipping my meringue on speed 6 for about 10 minutes or so. Some people like to whip their meringue at a higher speed, and some people like it to be at a slower speed. I know of people who whip their meringue for a long time on speed 4, which can take a little while. And others like a faster speed. It all depends. Experiment with different speeds to find out how it affects your meringue. Generally, a faster speed will add lots of air bubbles to the meringue way too fast, which can create an unstable meringue, or hollow shells. Which is why I like to stay at a medium speed for the most part.
- Continue to watch the meringue whip to avoid over whipping.
- Once the whites get glossy and you start seeing streaks formed by the whisk, it might be time to start checking.
- Whip until stiff peaks have formed. When you pull your whisk up, the peak should be stiff and shooting straight up, with possibly a slight bend at the top, but not bending down to the side.
- Pour the sifted powdered sugar, almond flour, and cocoa powder into the stiff meringue. Add food coloring if using. Adding a little bit of brown food coloring can help deepen the color of the shells, specially if you've reduced the amount of cocoa powder.
- Start folding gently forming a letter J with a spatula. Fold the dry ingredients with the meringue until the perfect consistency has been achieved.
- The batter should be flowing slowly and effortlessly off the spatula, you should be able to pick up some batter with the spatula and draw several figure 8s with the batter that’s flowing, without having the batter break up. And even after the batter breaks up, it should still continue to flow off the spatula slowly.
- There’s another test you can do. I call it the Teaspoon test.
- Grab a teaspoon of batter and spoon onto the parchment paper or silicon mat. Wait a minute to see how it behaves.
- If the batter stays stiff, forming a point and doesn’t spread out, fold a little bit more, about 3 folds.
- Test again.
- Once the batter spreads out a bit and starts to look glossy and smooth on top, on the parchment paper, it’s ready.
- You don’t want your batter to be too runny either. So be careful not to over mix. It’s always best to under mix and test several times until the proper consistency has been achieved.
- Once the batter achieves the perfect consistency, transfer it to the piping bag. Secure the top with a tie, so the batter doesn’t scape while piping, and to keep the batter from drying out.
- Now position the piping bag over the center of the circle template, and start applying gentle pressure to release the batter. Then pull the bag up twisting slightly at the top.
- Once you’ve piped as many circles as you could, bang the trays against the counter. This will release air bubbles that are in the batter and prevent your macaron shells from cracking.
- Use a toothpick to pop any air bubbles on the surface of the shells.
- Let your trays sit for a while so the shells will dry out a little bit. I usually leave about 20-40 minutes, depending on how humid the day is. You’ll know they’re ready when you gently touch the surface of a macaron and it seems dry and doesn't stick to your finger.
- Pre-heat the oven to 300°F.
- Bake one tray at a time.
- Bake for 5 minutes, rotate tray. Not everybody has to rotate their trays, depending on your oven you may not have to do this. If I don't rotate my trays, the macarons come out lopsided.
- Bake the macarons for a total of 15 to 20 minutes, until you try to move a macaron and it doesn't feel jiggly. You can also gently touch the top of the shell and it shouldn't feel soft.
- When baked, the macarons will have a deeper color and formed feet. And they will peel off the tray easily.
- Remove from the oven and bake the other tray.
- Let the macarons cool down before proceeding with the filling.
Rich Chocolate Frosting
- Start by sifting the powdered sugar, and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Add softened butter to the mixer bowl, and cream on medium-high speed for 1 minute.
- With the mixer off, add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and milk.
- Mix on low until dry ingredients are incorporated with the butter.
- Raise the speed to medium-high, and cream from 30 -60 seconds, until smooth.
- Add the vanilla and mix.
- The frosting should be smooth, thick, not too stiff. Add more milk if the frosting is too stiff, and add more powdered sugar if the frosting is too runny and you went overboard with the milk.
- Always remember the a little bit of liquid here goes a long way, so you don’t want to be adding too much milk to the frosting.
For the Ganache filling option
- Chop dark chocolate very finely. Place it in a bowl.
- Heat the heavy cream in a small pan over medium heat, or in the microwave. No matter what method you choose, be very careful not to boil the heavy cream.
- Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate. Let it stand for a minute.
- Start stirring with a spatula until completely melted.
- Let it come to room temperature. Refrigerate for a bit before using, until it has piping consistency.
- To achieve the piping consistency for the ganache, you will have to rely a lot on the temperature of the ganache.
- If it has been in the fridge for a while, and it’s too thick and hard to pipe, insert it in the microwave for a few quick seconds, and stir it again. Test for consistency and keep going until you achieve the desired consistency.
- To be pipeable, the ganache should be thick, but easy to spread.
- If it happens that the ganache is too thin, you might want to put it in the fridge for a few minutes so it will harden up.
- Place the frosting or ganache in a piping bag and pipe on top of half of the macarons. Top with another macaron.
- Keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days, and in the freezer for up to 1-2 months. Make sure to package macarons really well in an air tight container to place it in the fridge.