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With today being World Chocolate Day, Saxon Pastry Chef Catherine Adonis shared two delicious chocolate based recipes. First up we have these Chocolate Orange Macarons.

Plenty of people wonder what the difference is between a Macaron and a Macaroon. Well, a macaron originated in France and consists of two light meringue biscuits sandwiched together with a sweet ganache. A macaroon, on the other hand, consists of a shredded coconut and egg mixture which is baked into a soft and fragrant cookie (or mound).

Chocolate Orange Macarons

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For the Macarons:
100g egg whites
100g castor sugar
125g Ground almonds(sifted)
150g icing sugar (sifted)
Gel food colour

For the Dark Chocolate and Orange Ganache:
200g 70% dark chocolate
250g fresh cream
2 cinnamon stick
The zest of one orange
25ml orange/citrus liquor (optional)
TIP: The ganache can take a few hours to set so it is best to make it before the macarons or to prepare it in advance.

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For the Macarons:

  1. Sift the ground almonds, then weigh them to 125g.
  2. Add the ground almonds to the icing sugar and mix well.
  3. Prepare a baking tray with silicone mats or silicone paper.
  4. Preheat the oven to 140’C.
  5. In a stand mixer with a whisk make a meringue with the egg whites and castor sugar:
    • Place the egg whites in the mixer on medium speed and whisk until foamy.
    • Begin to add the sugar slowly, one teaspoon at a time.
    • Increase the speed slightly and whisk until stiff.
    • Add the colour at the end, we used a few drops of orange.
  6. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold the dry ingredients with a spatula.
  7. Fold in one third of the dry ingredients, until there are no longer any lumps, then repeat with the next two batches.
  8. The mixture should be smooth, with no lumps and still quite stiff but should fall off the spatula when you lift it up. Be careful not to over mix it.
  9. Place the mixture in a piping bag fit with a plain round nozzle (6-8mm).
  10. Pipe mounds of mixture the size of a R2 coin onto the mats, leaving 3cm between them.
  11. Once you have piped the whole tray, bang the bottom of the tray with your hands, until the mixture flattens.
  12. Allow the macarons to rest until a skin forms (about 5-15 minutes).
  13. Bake the macarons for 10-12 minutes, the shell should be crisp and the inside still a bit wet.
  14. Allow the macarons to cool on the hot trays.
  15. Peel the macarons off of the paper and sandwich them with your favourite ganache.

For the Dark Chocolate and Orange Ganache:

  1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces.
  2. Boil the cream, orange and cinnamon.
  3. Strain the hot cream over the chocolate pieces.
  4. Stir with a spatula until combined, then add the liquor.
  5. Blend the mixture with a hand blender until smooth.
  6. Set the ganache at room temperature, covered with plastic.

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Helpful tips

  • Macarons are tricky to make – the success lies in a beautiful stiff meringue and folding lightly but precisely to create the correct consistency.
  • First sift the almonds then weigh them. What is left in the sieve needs to be discarded or repurposed. So slightly more almonds than the recipe calls for is required depending on the texture and quality of the almonds.
  • Use gel food colour only.
  • Any filling can be used but sour or bitter fillings with strong flavour work well as the shell itself is very sweet.