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…and no one died

Recipe: chocolate raspberry macarons

Even though I tell you guys that I blog for you, I have to be honest… I blog for me! I’m not just talking about the mental health aspect, but I find that my own recipe page comes in really handy when I’m contemplating what to make for dinner each week and particularly for planning party menus. As I had mentioned before, I had to take into consideration the soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, chicken-free issues of some guests. And while I did have something to offer for everyone, I also tried my best not to deprive those guests who can, do, and love to eat dairy, gluten, and all of that other good stuff.

dessert prep the day before

it began to snow before the guests arrived

That’s our patio furniture where my indoor bike trainer usually sits. A second table was brought up to provide more seating. I quite love that our furniture and house are so flexible for large parties. It is even better in summer because we use the deck. In total there were 14 adults, 6 kids, and one Kaweah. Young children make things much livelier and so Jeremy and I took turns between hosting to police Kaweah, who did her best to suck up all of the fallen food.

Our town is holding it’s Frozen Dead Guy Days this weekend, which meant several of our friends were held up in traffic trying to get to our house. We started with drinks and appetizers as it was early (early b/c of little kids and early b/c Jeremy has to travel at the ass crack of dawn tomorrow) and folks were trickling in for a couple of hours. For those of you who inquired about the menu:

gin and tonics, margaritas, bridgeport pale ale, izzes
crudités and white bean dip
white corn tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole
argentine empanadas
shredded beef tacos with corn tortillas
carne adovada with flour tortillas
green salad with chipotle caesar dressing
chocolate dipped rice crispy treats
mini flourless chocolate cupcakes (some with whipped cream and raspberries)
chocolate raspberry macarons

While I love the intimacy of smaller dinner parties, these larger shindigs are fun because of the mixing and mingling. Unfortunately, playing hostess meant I didn’t get much of a chance to take pictures (I totally missed shooting dinner). However, I *did* get to play with lots of beautiful lenses that Brad brought (he’s a Nikon too). I’ll shut up for a moment and just show the pictures of people having a good time…

More telemark skiers than you could shake a stick at – and if they don’t tele, they alpine. Even the two-year old skis! It snowed most of the day and that was a welcome sight for all of us. It also made for a lovely view. Once we cleared plates and dinner away, I set the desserts out… and just in time!

anxious little three-year old

miss sofie shows me her dessert plate

It’s a good thing we started early because the kids were losing it (or becoming totally wound up – take your pick) by evening. Kaweah was incredibly sweet with all of the kids, pretty much just looking for a handout from wherever it might come. I sent several people home with dessert bags because 1) I always fear running out of food so I make too much and 2) Jeremy is going on travel so no one is going to eat the sweets in this house for a few days. The most popular dessert was probably the macaron. I made everything small so that people could sample multiple desserts without feeling guilty, but that didn’t stop folks from coming back for more macs.

i always jump for joy when i realize how simple the ingredients are

the first batch was light pink, i made the second batch a little darker

My first attempt at these chocolate raspberry French macarons was for a photo shoot and then I asked Jeremy to take them to his students. I wanted to experiment with the colors since I don’t have any powdered coloring. This batch came out on the light pink side, a little lighter than I wanted. My second attempt (for the party) turned out pink and perfectly bite-sized. Each time I make macarons, I test the consistency of the batter and try to incorporate advice that Helen has given me. I love that woman – she is a pastry goddess. I’m getting to know the macaron a little bit better each time, and it’s a great feeling.

letting the batter set

sizing up buddies

I’m also playing with oven temperatures and baking times because at my elevation, I am pretty sure the altitude is responsible for some of the hollow shell effect. It’s less hollow than my earlier attempts, but it’s not the full crispy/chewy cookie it ought to be. We’ll get there… At first I tried to place a whole raspberry in the middle of the ganache and that was apparently too much for the macaron, which broke when I applied gentle pressure to the sandwich. Slicing the raspberries in half and squashing them beforehand seemed to help tremendously.

a raspberry nestled in ganache

The only thing that is raspberry in this macaron is the raspberry. I imagine that one day I will break down and get my grubby little hands on some flavoring compounds and try flavoring the cookie itself. In the meantime, this one is quite a big hit for such a small bite.

i never tire of looking at macarons

a surprise in the middle

Chocolate Raspberry Macarons
[print recipe]
based on the pistachio macarons recipe

225g powdered sugar
125g almonds, blanched
25g sugar
red food coloring (about 5 drops)
100g egg whites (about 3)

In a food processor, run the almonds and powdered sugar until finely ground. Add a drop of food coloring at a time to the granulated sugar and whisk together until evenly colored (your sugar will be darker than the final macaron). Set aside and let dry (a few minutes). Whip egg whites until foamy, slowly add the granulated sugar, until they are glossy. Slowly fold the almond and sugar mixture into the whites with a wide spatula. The mixture should remain shiny and flow easily (hold a ribbon for ten seconds, I would say). Fill a pastry bag with the batter and pipe small rounds onto parchment lined baking sheets. Let the macarons rest for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 315°F (325°F at 8500 feet) and when they are ready, bake them for 12-15 minutes (12 minutes). Let cool, remove from the paper and fill with the ganache. Makes 35. If making small macarons (1-inch), bake for about 10 minutes.

chocolate ganache filling:
8 oz. (227g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream
2 tbsps (28g) unsalted butter
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup raspberries, halved and smooshed flat

Place the chocolate in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir with a whisk until smooth. Stir in almond extract. Let cool to room temperature. Fill a piping bag with the ganache.

Assembly: Pipe a dollop of ganache onto one macaron shell. Gently press a raspberry half into the center. Place the second macaron shell on top, making sure the ganache sticks to it. Repeat for the rest of the macarons.

55 nibbles at “…and no one died”

  1. Lisa says:

    MMmmmm – I haven’t made macarons since the summer but I’ve seen them pop up in magazines and blogs a lot lately. Might have to whip some up! The time I did chocolate raspberry macarons I put a few splashes of raspberry extract (perhaps even some framboise?) in the ganache. No one knew it was the filling and not the cookie that held all the “chocolate raspberry” flavor! ;)

    Great looking party. I must’ve missed somewhere what the occasion was… but occasion or not – getting together with friends is always fabulous. We met up with a group of friends last night (friends have a lab mix boy and very sweet pit girl, so we brought Lucca to play) and laughed at the dogs wrestling under the table the ENTIRE length of dinner. Friends, food, doggie(s) – WHAT FUN!!

  2. Manggy says:

    Oh, Jen! You KNOW that is my favorite macaron flavor of all time! The shells look beauuuutiful and I’m sure the next time will be perfection.
    Looking at that menu at the spread (and, of course, the dessert prep– LOVE), you have the luckiest guests ever. And you are so nice to accommodate all their needs (heh, because I’m such a dictator to my friends). Looks like everyone had a fantastic time and Kaweah is of course enjoying all the attention ;)

  3. Rosa says:

    What a great menu! Your guests were very lucky! These macarons look terrific!



  4. zinnur says:

    Jen, your array of desserts looks so tempting! i also make raspberry macarons, flavoring the shells with freeze-dried raspberry powder. However, they almost always lose their lovely color and turn beige-ish during baking. i marvelled at the purity of color you achieved. will definitely try your cooking temperature next time i make macarons.

  5. charlane says:

    it looks like sheer heaven….I’m always in love with your blogs. and dinner parties – there is something about all that love.

  6. Lauren says:

    I made macarons this weekend too! I’m still in progress actually, on my third attempt and striving for perfection with David Lebowitz’s recipe. His baking time seems to be too long – they look amazing but are hard the whole way through. 10 minutes, you say? Thanks!

  7. Chocolate and Toast says:

    Do I spy chocolate dipped rice krispy treats in that top picture . . . ? You have some seriously awesome hosting skills! Macarons are still my greatest baking fear, but your pictures may just talk me into tackling them.

  8. peabody says:

    Oh the little raspberry hidden inside is a fun surprise.
    Yes, Helen is a pastry goddess.
    I would most likely cleaned you out of house and home over your Krispy Treats. :)
    Looks like a great evening with great food and people.

  9. Jenny says:

    Oh how lovely getting a little raspberry surprise in each macaron! I’ve put them on my back burner list as I have so much to do, along with learning to temper chocolate.

    Love mini desserts, I’m doing a bunch next weekend for a wedding so I hope they are half as delightful as yours!

  10. Valerie says:

    I had to come read this post when I saw it was about macarons. I’ve been working up my courage to try to make them.

    But I gotta tell you, this was the first reference to Frozen Dead Guy Days I’ve seen and that is HYSTERICAL! I want to move to Nederland, just for that. Totally brilliant! What an awesome little town.

    My boyfriend wants to know (after reading the wikipedia entry) – did anybody ever help out Aud, who had been living in the house with no electricity or plumbing?

  11. Caitlin says:

    How beautiful! I love putting surprises inside macs too – double the surprise for most people I hand them off to, since most have never tried a mac at all. Looks like it was a fun evening for all (and now I’m jealous, since 4 people pretty well packs my current apartment).

  12. Tartelette says:

    Hair undone – Check!
    Pjs still on – Check!
    kitchen not cleaned 1 hour before the in laws get here – Check!
    running around like a mad woman – Check!

    Yeahhhh…..that’s a pastry goddess for you allright :)

    You rocked those macs like a little Pierrette Hermette, eheheh! They are outstanding!

    Your parties look like ours, relaxed, low key and with people smiling from the company and the food. Everything looks scrumptious Jen!

  13. Aaron K says:

    That’s cool that Christian Slater came to your party.

  14. Whitney says:

    I still have never had a macaron but this would be the one that I would want to try first. Chocolate and raspberry yum!

  15. Rita says:

    Ok, I a now going to try my hand at making macrons, yours look positively tempting and it seems that they are a popular dessert as I’ve seen them in quite a few blogs. (only your’s have inspired me to try them, everybody elses seem too fussy.)
    Isn’t it nice when a great dinner comes together, the company, your prep and the lovely food are all perfection!
    On a picky note, and you don’t have to bother reading any further, but what’s up with all the caps, hats at the dinner table? I quess 35 years of teaching and me standing at the entry door reminding kids to take their hats off, or no hats in the classroom is an old habit to break. Please don’t take offense, I’m just an “Old” bird who finds that rude, and obviously I need to lighten up.
    The main thing is that everybody was comfortable and looks happy at your house. Cheers.

  16. Laura says:

    I know I said this on your last post, but it must be said again, I adore you house. All the beautiful windows and the amazing views outside. I don’t think I would ever leave if I lived there! Just beautiful!

  17. Diane says:

    Oooh the macaroons! I literally squealed at the sight of the hidden raspberry nestled in the ganache!

    =) Diane

  18. Mary says:

    Loved this post. If I was a guest at your house and was served this food, I would absolutely DIE of happiness and excitement. This is so fun. Yes!!!

  19. Tony says:

    I cannot believe I have yet to make macaroons. They look so pretty especially with the surprise raspberry in the middle :)

  20. Kirsa says:

    Hi there Jen :)

    This is the first time I’m actually commenting on your blog (which I found originally by looking for a specific chinese food… was it dim sum, hot pot or spring rolls ? can’t remember).

    I must say that everything looks so gorgeous and *edible* !!!! I mean I can’t help myself but tell me at each recipe “I gotta try this” You got me going on a real food rampage in the last week at least.

    We do not come from the same area of the world (Hi from Québec province !) but we can at least understand ourselves about one thing: snow. One of our songs here even says “Mon pays, ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver” which means “My country is not a country, it’s winter”

    SO ! this party you had looks amazing ! happy guests, happy food, happy hostess, what else can you ask for ? Maybe a suggestion if you’re willing to try it out, for the rice crispies squares: simply mix in dried raisins in the prep. We used to get a layer of chocolate and one of raisins (yay bicolor !), but just with raisins is quite good, if you dont crave too much chocolate. I think raisins gives it that “extra” something from the plain recipe.

    looking forward for your next entry !!!

  21. barbara says:

    Macarons are still on my list of “one day”. I have Helen’s recipe printed out since forever…since I started blogging actually.

  22. audra says:

    Jen~ It’s all so lovely! I’ve emailed you previously, but this is the first time I’m commenting (I’m one of those silent, admire from afar types). This post, as well as the one displaying your kitchen, made me miss Boulder more intensely than I usually do, with all the natural light pouring in the windows, and the snowy mountainsides. The house I lived in at the top of Flagstaff doesn’t have the open layout that yours does, but I really loved living there. I miss it all, and love that I can continue to experience it through your amazing photos. Also, I have a great appreciation for meticulousness, especially in the kitchen. My mother has a tendency to explode all over the kitchen while preparing dinner, while my dad and I tend to clean as we go. Since I am usually the one who cleans up after my mom’s creations, I always feel so refreshed after reading/viewing your posts. =)

    I must confess, even after having read so much about macarons, I still have not had the pleasure of trying one. I’m not even sure I can quite imagine what it might taste like– and the raspberry/dark chocolate combination is my favorite! I’ll have to get some recommendations as to where I can find a really good one around here… I love that you placed surprise fresh berries inside!

    Thanks again for the photos. I know it is a personal interest for you, but they really help me feel like I get to continue to experience an area I love so much, even from NJ.

  23. Margie says:

    The way you chronologue. it is easy to fit right in, the only missing part is the other bit of conversation. No party pooper here though, I have a creative imagination and simply fill_in_the_blanks. I believe I even had a package of magical cookies delivered via Miss K. They must have arrived after my last gin and tonic. ;)
    Seriously, you do a MEAN party! I’d love to be invited to one.

  24. Bake It Pretty » Blog Archive » French Macaron Adventures says:

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  25. cindy says:

    i love having people over for dinner and drinks…but these photos make it look so effortless!

    i never ever tire of staring at macarons, they are so cute! yours look great, i also have issues with hollow-tops, but my last batch turned out pretty well…and helen is a pastry goddess, she definitely has helped me out with macs on a few occasions. well done!

  26. Gita says:

    Oh my gosh!! That is some lovely spread and your guests are very lucky. The pink macarons look so pretty. Eventhough I have tried my hand at baking them several times, the macaron gods hasn’t smiled on me yet. Ofcourse I would keep on trying.

  27. bee says:

    i love your light airy living room and kitchen. and the macaroons, of course.

  28. Asianmommy says:

    What a wonderful dinner–I love your dessert spread!

  29. Lindsey says:

    I have never made macaroons, but since they are EVERYWHERE right now I must add them to my list of things to bake soon…I also love your living room! I grew up in a house with a 2 story open living room with a giant picture window, and I will never tire of huge windows and high ceilings, along with tons of natural light. It also looks like you have a spectacular view!

  30. Macie says:

    Looks like an awesome dinner! I always make too much food, but someone once told me that it’s a sign of a good hostess — so be proud!

  31. Mrs Ergül says:

    It takes courage to host a bigger party and look at that extensive menu! That’s no simple feat!

    Hmmmmmmmm I love these macs! I have never come across anyone who would have thought of putting real raspberries, nicely hidden in the chocolate ganache!


  32. Patricia Scarpin says:

    My goodness, what a wonderful dinner party, Jen! (I wish I’d been part of it) ;D

    Your desserts are so delicate and pretty… And I love seeing all the smiling people, too.
    Haven’t tried making macarons again, it’s time, I think. Yours look so pretty! Such an inspiration.

  33. jenyu says:

    Lisa – thanks :) It was a party for my tele pals and their assorted partners and kids.

    Mark – oh that’s right! I want to get my hands on that neato compound stuff you used. Sounds so good and fun. Thanks, the party was loads of fun and Kaweah DID have a great time. Although I did catch her snapping her jaws at a dangling cookie… bad dog.

    Rosa – thanks!

    Zinnur – yes, I have had trouble with the color turning beige too. I need to continue experimenting with reducing temperature, increasing temperature, reducing bake time, increasing bake time… Take care when using my temperatures though – I am at a high elevation and it could work out very differently for you.

    Charlane – :)

    Lauren – I love David, but his macaron recipe just didn’t work for me. I believe a good deal of that is my elevation, but still – 20 minutes is such a long time… My macarons from his recipe were tiny bricks.

    Chocolate and Toast – yes! The rice crispy treats were a huge hit. :)

    Peabody – you can run for president on Rice Krispy treats, you know. Good stuff.

    Jenny – good luck with your desserts :)

    Valerie – It took me over a year to work up the courage. Just be prepared that when you make them, you can’t stop. They’re really fun. I don’t know if anyone ever helped Aud. Since this is Ned… there are people around here who intentionally live without electricity and plumbing (we even saw a house for sale that had a pit toilet IN THE HOUSE).

    Caitlin – I’d say that is the same here, most of these folks have never had a macaron. It was a fun time :)

    Tartelette – you’re perfect! One day I’m going to make macs with you and then you’ll see where my screw ups are (and you’ll tell me how to fix them!) xxoo

    Aaron – ha ha, you’re smoking stuff again? :)

    Whitney – it’s a very lovely combination of flavors.

    Rita – Hmmm, I hadn’t really noticed. You see, we live in the mountains. These are all skiers. It’s cold outside and some probably felt it was a little cold inside too (it was downright hot for me, but I was running around hosting). Most of us wear hats not for fashion, but to keep our heads and bodies warm. Having been bald from chemotherapy last year, a hat was the difference between being comfortable and falling very ill. So it doesn’t bother me if they keep their hats on, but I don’t feel anyone was being intentionally disrespectful :) However, most everyone takes their shoes off! ha ha.

    Laura – thank you, I quite like our house too. I thought I would get sick of it being cooped up during my cancer treatment last year, but I never got tired of it. I love it. I think it made me feel better, in fact.

    Diane – :)

    Mary – oh lord, don’t die! Thanks for your sweet comment.

    Tony – Come on, man! You of all people would own those macs!

    Kirsa – thanks and thanks for the suggestion on the Krispy treats. Problem is that my husband really does not like raisins and it seems several of my friends don’t either. So I generally avoid putting them in most of the foods I make.

    Barbara – can’t wait to see your macs, sweetie.

    Audra – thank you. Macs are hard to describe: crispy and chewy, sweet and nutty, delicate. They are such a delight. I hope you find some soon!

    Margie – the conversations at the party were pretty hilarious :)

    Cindy – thanks. I’m slowly slowly getting to the point where I might be reducing the hollowness of my mac tops.

    Gita – good luck with that!

    Bee – :)

    Asianmommy – thank you.

    Lindsey – it’s a great living room to be sure. Just a little freaky when the winds are pounding against the windows at 90 mph! :)

    Macie – thanks! I guess that also means assured leftovers :)

    Mrs. E – you’re so sweet, thank you, hon.

    Patricia – if you lived near me, you would have been invited! Good luck on those macs. I know you of all people can master them.

  34. Mollie says:

    Beautiful! (and I won’t tell anyone you really blog for me… :) )

  35. jenyu says:

    Mollie – oh that’s right!! :) I won’t tell anyone either ;)

  36. Refaa says:

    love these macarons

    hold a ribbon – what do you mean by that ?

  37. jenyu says:

    Refaa – when you lift a spoon or the whisk out of the batter and let it drizzle back on itself, the drizzle or ribbon should hold it’s shape for a few seconds before blending back into the batter.

  38. Refaa says:

    thanx jen for clearing that for me :)

  39. jenyu says:

    Refaa – sure thing!

  40. Lola. says:

    Hi, I am confused about the recipe for the macaroons..In the making of them you mention granulated sugar mixed with a few drops of food colouring,but in the ingredients granulated sugar is not mentioned,I am hopeing that you could let me know how much granulated sugar is needed to make the macaroons..They are the Raspberry ones,I would be very grateful if you could do that for it is my first time to make them and I love to eat these macaroons but the are really expensive here in Dublin.

    Many Thanks.

  41. jenyu says:

    Lola – granulated sugar = sugar. If you look at the ingredients list there is powdered sugar and sugar. Sugar is the granulated sugar.

  42. rosemaryandthegoat says:

    I have to make macarons this week. I want to make pink but not sure if they will be pink or red. Mine are going to be M&M enhanced. I picked up some pink and purple M&M’s in NYC a couple of weeks ago so need my macaroons to be pink in color. I read were you can freeze macarons. Can they be frozen for any length of time? Thinking of making them for a xmas party I’m catering but don’t need the last minute work on desserts. Yours are beautifully pink, can’t wait to try them. When we ate at Gramercy Tavern in NYC we had 4 amuse bouche desserts. One was a raspberry macaron the size of a dime :)

  43. jenyu says:

    rosemary – They can be frozen, but 1) I’ve never tried it and 2) I don’t know for how long. Maybe a couple of weeks? Check because Helen really knows macs.

  44. Amanda says:

    Your macarons are PERFECT.

    And I love the raspberry ones! Your blog was definitely helpful in my macaron research. (: I’ll be trying these along with lavender and strawberry more around spring. (: Thanks for the ideas!

  45. Rainie says:

    Hi, I have some problem doing Macarons. After I bring it to bake, the shells become flat and thin. Unlike yours, looks taller. Can I know what’s the problem? :(

  46. jenyu says:

    Rainie – there could be a lot of problems. Off the top of my head based on so little information, I can only guess that you overbeat your whites or overfolded when incorporating the almond flour.

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  49. Chrisje says:

    I love this post; It’s long, it’s got good photography, it’s got recipes that also show European measures – I’m happy. I might try out your recipe for macarons; they looked very well done and it’s very inspiring to see how someone knows their way around less conventional recipes (that’s what I think macarons are).
    And your house is so big!

  50. laura says:

    Hi! these look AMAZINNNGGG. i’ve been looking for macarons recipes for the upcoming spring break and these are perfect. the only problem, i’m not sure what the measurements are for the macaron recipe–grams. I use the cups/tsp measurements as shown in the filling recipe. I’m not confident in converting it myself and if possible, could you send me a converted version of the macaron recipe? i would greatly appreciate it!

  51. jenyu says:

    Laura – the gram measurement is because weight is precise whereas volume (cups) are not for things like flours or powdered sugar. I suggest getting a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients if you enjoy baking. You don’t have to get a fancy expensive one – any scale will do.

  52. Maria Elena Esquivel says:

    I found your blog today Jan 29th,2011 by searching for Macarons recipies.I’m a latina in Washington DC/USA, I will try your recipies.But I most tell you I was enchanted by your pure, simple and beautiful photography.You see, I’m a professional photographer with over 35 years under my sholders, former press correspondent, food photographer, and now fashion photographer ;) yeap…all that.I really love the way you take candid shots with natural light, give me the complete feeling of the friends, laughs, smells, fun and love of your parties and family.God bless you and keep producing your art.I wish I could gang out with all of you, you look so fine, fun and nice people to have as friend I wish I could be there too!

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