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Friday, 10 January 2020 10:36

Delight on Valentine’s Day with chocolate dessert

Written by  Staff Writer
France. Chocolate. Dessert. Each of these things are often associated with romance and love. Put these three elements together on Valentine’s Day and the result is sure to please.

Macarons, also called French Macaroons, are a meringue confection made from egg whites, sugar and various flavorings. These are not to be mistaken for the coconut macaroon, since the French variety is a delicate sandwich and cookie-esque creation that is light and airy, while the coconut cookies are more dense. This recipe for “Chocolate Macaroons With Raspberry Buttercream,” courtesy of “Chocolate: Deliciously Indulgent Recipes for Chocolate Lovers” (Ryland, Peters & Small) by Maxine Clark, is perfect for romantic Valentine’s Day evenings.

Chocolate Macaroons With Raspberry Buttercream

Makes approximately 10 large macaroons or 40 small

13⁄4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Scant 1 cup ground almonds
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
4 egg whites
Tiny pinch of salt
Raspberry buttercream (see below)

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Put the confectioners’ sugar, ground almonds and cocoa in a blender or spice grinder and process for about 1 minute to refine the almonds and combine everything.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt in a clean, dry bowl until firm. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold in the almond mixture.

Carefully spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with the size 10 tip for small cookies, or size 12 for larger macaroons. Pipe twenty 21⁄2-inch macaroons or eighty 11⁄4-inch ones onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake with the oven door slightly ajar (to allow steam to escape) for about 8 minutes for the small macaroons or 12 minutes for the larger ones. Don’t overcook or they won’t be soft inside. Carefully lift the macaroons off the paper and let cool on a wire rack.

Sandwich in pairs with a thin layer of raspberry buttercream. Arrange the macaroons in layers between aluminum foil or parchment paper in an airtight container and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving. This will help them become chewy. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Raspberry Buttercream

6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
12 ounces frozen raspberries
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Confectioners’ sugar, to taste
Pink food coloring, if desired

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks until pale and creamy.

Put the sugar and 1⁄2 cup water in a small pan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and boil hard until it reaches 240 F.

Immediately remove from the heat and pour the hot syrup onto the egg yolks in a steady stream, beating continuously until the mixture is a pale, thick mousse. Cream the butter in a separate bowl then beat in the melted chocolate. Beat this into the egg yolk mixture.

Take the frozen raspberries and thaw them in a strainer placed over a bowl. Press them gently with the back of a spoon to squeeze out the juice. Put the juice in a small pan and boil it hard until it has reduced to 3 tablespoons.

Press the raspberries through the strainer and mix the strained puree with the reduced raspberry syrup and the lemon juice. Sweeten with sifted confectioners’ sugar to taste. Beat this into the buttercream. Add pink food coloring if you desire a deeper shade of pink.

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