1 cup of ground almond flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 egg whites
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of finely grated orange zest
(For orange chocolate ganache)
1/2 cup of heavy cream
110 g of dark chocolate
1 teaspoon of orange extract
(For step by step pictures on making and setting up macarons see Gingerbread Macaron Recipe.)
Prepare 2 large baking sheets. On 2 large pieces of paper the size of your baking sheets, trace 1-1 1/2 inch diameter circles (I used the bottom of a candle….) evenly spaced, leaving about 1 inch between each circle. This will be your template to help you pipe even circles of batter onto the parchment paper. Place one paper on each baking sheet then cover with parchment paper. Set aside. Prepare a pastry bag with a plain tip.
Sift the powdered sugar, the ground almonds, cocoa and orange zest together into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
With a hand mixer, whip the egg whites for 30 seconds on low speed then increase speed to high and whip until the whites are foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar as you continue to whip the whites until you obtain a glossy meringue and all of the sugar has been beaten in. The meringue will be very stiff (turn the bowl upside down over your head stiff) and be dense.
Gently but firmly fold the whipped whites into the powdered sugar/ground almonds/cocoa orange zest, using a silicon spatula or the equivalent, turning the bowl as you lift and fold, making sure you fold in all the dry ingredients completely.
Fill your pastry bag with the batter. Pipe circles onto the parchment paper, using the traced circles on the template sheets to guide you, holding your pastry bag above each circle and piping into the center. Don’t forget to remove your paper template from underneath the baking parchment.
Allow the macarons to sit out for about an hour or even longer if the shells are not ready to bake. The top of each shell should form a “skin” (it will feel like it hardened a bit when gently touched and not stick to your skin). Preheat your oven to 340°F (170°C). Bake the shells for 12-14 minutes, depending on their size. Mine baked for 12 minutes and my oven bakes fairly slowly.
Remove the tray from the oven and immediately slide the parchment paper with the shells off of the hot baking sheet and onto the counter. Allow to cool completely before sliding the shells very gently off of the parchment paper. Be extra careful with the center of each macaron- that’s where the worst sticking occurs!
Now make your orange chocolate ganache. Coarsely chop the chocolate and pour the teaspoon of orange extract over top it in a heatproof bowl. Next bring your cream to a gentle boil in a small saucepan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow it to set for several minutes. Then stir until creamy and allow to cool until it’s of desired piping consistency.
When the macaron shells are cool, pair the shells up evenly, each with a matching partner. Smear a half teaspoon or more of the ganache onto the bottom shell of each pair. Carefully sandwich the shells together.