Chocolate Peppermint Macarons (Dairy and Gluten Free)

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Your standard macaron gets a makeover with a chocolate wafer cookie and a dairy-free chocolate peppermint filling (secret ingredient – coconut cream!). A smattering of crushed peppermints adds extra mint flavor and a bit of glamour. Bring these to your next holiday cookie exchange!

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I’m beginning to notice a theme with my macaron baking.

Remember the first time I ever made macarons (these Raspberry-Chocolate beauties), back in April 2016? I remember it well. I was on my 2nd date with my now-ex-boyfriend, hanging out with my roommates in the kitchen, when Megan sensed an opportunity. Knowing I wanted to look good in front of Chris, she suggested I bake her favorite dessert – macarons.

kill-her

Now, there were several roadblocks to this: a) I had none of the requisite materials (hand mixer, sifter, almond flour, courage), b) I had never even looked at a recipe for macarons, and c) I was scared AF. But I had to make Chris love me – so I went out on a limb* and made some bomb cookies.

*With the help of liquid courage (wine and tequila)

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During the month of July, Chris and I gracefully transitioned our relationship into a friendship, and I turned back to the glorious realm of Tinder. Which, quite honestly, I prefer – mostly because nowhere on the “relationship” agenda is the intoxicating feeling that the man buying you dinner could be a serial killer. And it was through Tinder that I met another lovely young man – who I almost ruined things with in the first three minutes of our first date. Roll the tapes!
J – How’s your day been?
Date – It’s been good! I took a trip up to campus earlier to help some students.
J – Oh, are you a TA or something?
Date – …I’m a lecturer, I teach several sections of an engineering class…
J – OH! COOL!

Ugh. The downside to having a brain that refuses to surpass the age of 21. However, I think I ended up making him like me over the course of the date, mostly by using big words that I learned for the SAT to make him think I’m actually mature and smart and stuff. And by talking about this here blog of mine.
Date – I’m having a cookie party soon, you’ll have to come over and show me how to make something fancy!
J – Have you ever had macarons??
Date – No, let’s make them!

Self-sabotage at its finest.

sabotage

So, long story short, I’m teaching him how to make macarons at some point this weekend. And, since April was a long time ago, I figured I should refresh my own memory on how to make them – and what better time than for my friend Leeanne’s cookie swap party?

On a very cold and rainy Tuesday, I made a pot of coffee, grabbed my ingredients, and got to work. I was very pleased with the result, and I hope you will be, too!

Chocolate-Peppermint Macarons

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To make these cookies, you will need:
Cookies
– 100 g almond flour
– 170 g confectioner’s sugar
– 15 g unsweetened cocoa powder
– 3 egg whites, room temperature
– 50 g granulated sugar
– 1/4 t cream of tartar
Filling
– 9 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
– 9 oz coconut cream
– 1 t peppermint extract

To begin, combine your almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, and cocoa powder. Whisk to intersperse. Using a fine mesh strainer, sift this mixture twice to get out any lumps – you want to have a very fine powder. Set aside.

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Add your egg whites to a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites on low speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Turn the mixer up to medium and add your granulated sugar and cream of tartar in a slow stream. Turn the mixer up to high and beat the egg white mixture for several minutes, until it holds soft peaks.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry mixture into the egg whites, 1/3 at a time. You want to make sure you keep the air in the egg whites, so don’t over-mix! Once just folded, add the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.

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Line two baking sheets with Silpat or parchment paper. Pipe small, uniform circles of batter onto the baking sheets, just like you see above. Once you’ve piped all your batter, smack the baking trays down on the counter 5-10 times to release any air bubbles. Let out that holiday anxiety!

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Let the batter sit for 45 minutes to an hour. You’ll know it’s ready when the top of the cookie is dry to the touch. At this point, preheat your oven to 280F. Working one tray at a time, bake on the center rack of your oven for 16-18 minutes, until the cookie has formed little feet at the bottom. Remove from the oven, then put in the next tray.

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Once the cookies are cooling on the counter, you can get started on your ganache. Add your chopped chocolate and peppermint extract to a medium bowl and set aside. Heat your coconut cream in a saucepan over medium until hot, but not boiling. Pour the hot coconut cream over the chocolate, and let sit for 3 minutes. Once the chocolate has softened, stir the cream into the chocolate, forming a silky ganache. Let cool slightly, then add to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.

Pair together cookies of similar sizes, and pipe the ganache filling onto one cookie per pair. Top with the other cookie, and voila! You’ve made macarons!

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If you want, you can crush some candy canes or peppermints and roll the sides of the cookies in the crushed candy to add extra holiday flair. Or you can leave them plain! You’re the boss!

Think these will be enough to make that guy fall in love with me?

XOXO,
Jesse

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