Chocolate & Orange Italian Macarons
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: Approx. 20-25
For the macarons:
  • 132g (4.6 oz) icing (confectioners') sugar
  • 132g (4.6 oz) almond meal
  • 20g (0.7 oz) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 32ml (1 fl oz) water
  • 132g (4.6 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 45g (1.5 oz) egg whites (A)
  • 50g (1.7 oz) egg whites (B)
  • Brown food colouring (optional) - I didn't use colouring
For the filling:
  • 350g (12.3 oz) good-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 280ml (9.4 fl oz) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2g (0.07 oz) sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F). Cut a piece of baking paper to fit a large baking tray (you may need to prepare 2 trays).
  2. Trace 40 circle 40 mm in diameter onto the paper (or you can simply eye-ball them as you go), leaving a space in between each one. Turn the sheet over. You can place a baking mat on top of the baking paper or pipe directly onto the overturned sheet.
For the macaron shells:
  1. Place the icing sugar and almond meal into a food processor and grind to a fine powder. Add in the cocoa powder and grind again. Remove the mixture from the processor and sieve into a bowl.
  2. Place the egg whites (A) into the bowl of a stand mixer (do not start mixing yet). Combine water and sugar into a small saucepan and place on medium heat.
  3. Once the sugar and water reaches 110°C (230°F), start whisking the egg whites in the stand mixer and gradually increase the speed - they need to be thick and at soft peak stage. Boil the sugar and water until it reaches 118°C (244°F). (If you don't have a thermometer, place a small drop of the sugar syrup into a bowl of chilled water and when it reaches 118°C, it will make a soft pliable ball).
  4. Pour the boiled syrup into the whipped egg whites in a slow and steady stream. Ensure the hot sugar syrup doesn't hit the whisk. Add in a couple of drops of brown colour (if using). Continue whisking the macaron mixture until it cools slightly and starts to level out in the bowl (you should end up with medium peaks, where the tips fold over (not stiff).
  5. Add the egg whites (B) into the sieved dry ingredients and stir by hand to combine.
  6. Fold half of the prepared meringue into the egg white-almond base, before folding in the remainder with a sturdy rubber spatula. You want to fold to a point where the mixture slowly but methodically falls from the spatula in long ribbons (you should be able to do a figure 8), and where the mixture slowly melds back into the batter (i.e. 10-20 seconds).
  7. Transfer the macaron mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 10mm (1 cm) plain round piping nozzle. Pipe the mixture onto your prepared tray using the marked circles as a guide. Once you have finished piping, tap the tray to level the surface of the macaron and bring any bubbles up to the surface (you can use a small skewer to pop any unpopped bubbles).
  8. Put in the centre of the oven and bake for approximately 15-18 minutes, the remove and leave at room temperature to cool.
For the macaron filling:
  1. Place dark chocolate into a mixing bowl. Place the cream, orange zest, vanilla and salt in a saucepan over a low heat until the mixture is scalding (but not boiling). Pour the mixture over the dark chocolate and emulsify with a stick blender. Cover with plastic wrap touching the surface and leave at room temperature for 1-2 hours or until it reaches a piping consistency.
  2. Transfer the ganache to a disposable piping bag fitted with a 10-12 mm plain piping nozzle. Turn over every second macaron on the tray. Pipe the filling onto the base of the turned over macaron shell and place the second one on top and sandwich them together (it helps if you gently 'screw' the top cookie onto the filling).
  3. It's important to mature the cookies by placing them in the fridge for 24 hours or more, otherwise they will be too crunchy and lacking in flavour.
For storage:
  1. The finished macarons can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to six weeks.
Recipe by The Kiwi Cook at