January 19, 2014

Coconut Curd Chocolate French Macarons

The holidays are over and all of the gifts are unwrapped and packed away. What did you all get for Christmas?

I got curd. 

Yes, you read that right. I got curd. 

Now, like many Americans, when I was growing up I hadn't heard much of curd outside of little Miss Muffet's curd and whey snack (which is actually more like cottage cheese, but I digress...).

True curd is actually a dessert spread, similar to jam or jelly, but thick like pudding and very sweet. Fruit curds are a fancy dessert's best friend, like scones, tarts, and the French Macaron. It's a perfect pair for a fancy tea party.

While lemon curd is a common companion to the macaron, but there are many other flavors of curd around to try. This Christmas, I was given a jar of coconut curd from my mother-in-law. Inspired by the coconut chocolate candies that I make every holiday, I just knew that chocolate macaron shells would be a delicious pairing with the sweet coconut curd.

Coconut Curd and Chocolate Macarons

Coconut curd is a smooth white mix with tiny fragments of coconut flakes. The texture is thinner and smoother than pudding and a bit sticky on the fingers, but it holds its shape well inside the macaron sandwich and can be a bit stiff if refrigerated.

Coconut Curd & Chocolate Macarons

100 grams egg whites, aged at room temperature
110 grams almond meal
190 confectioner's powdered sugar
10 g Dutch process cocoa powder
 50 g granulated sugar
Pinch of tartar (optional)

10 oz jar of coconut curd

1. Sift and mix almond flour, cocoa powder, and confectioner's powdered sugar in food processor. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 325°F. Whip egg whites on medium speed in a stand mixture. Add a pinch of cream of tartar for extra stability (optional). Continue to whip until egg whites are foamy and cream of tartar is dissolved (1 - 2 minutes).
3. Add granulated sugar to egg whites while beating on medium high. Continue whipping on medium high until meringue forms and becomes glossy, stiff, and can form stiff peaks (about 4 - 8 minutes).
4. Pour half of the almond flour, cocoa, and powdered sugar mixture into meringue and gently fold together with rubber spatula. Once combined, add second half of almond flour mixture. Fold until lumps are removed, but not more than 40 times to avoid removing too much air. The mix should flow like lava when complete.
5. Pipe batter with a round piping tip onto parchment- or silicone-lined baking sheet. Pipe evenly sized circles about a 1/2 - 3/4 inch apart. Gently tap baking sheet against table when done to remove air bubbles from macarons.
6. Let macarons rest for 30 minutes to let the top of the shell dry. When it is no longer tacky to the touch, it is ready to be baked.
7. Bake at 300°F for 10 - 15 minutes until baked solid through the center. When baked solid, the macaron cookie should remove very easily from the parchment or silicone. 
Let cool on wire racks. 
8. Spoon coconut curd into a piping bag or spoon the curd directly onto the coconut shell and sandwich the two chocolate shells together.

Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve within a few days. 

This chocolate macaron shell is based on my favorite recipe mix by Raspberri Cupcake. It's a very thick and hardy balance between almond flour and sugar, so it turns out nearly perfect for me every time. I highly recommend her recipe.

Coconut Curd and Chocolate French Macarons Recipe

Did any of you bakers and foodies got special ingredients to play with in the kitchen? I'd love to hear all about it!

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