Chocolate Earl Grey Macarons

These chocolate earl grey macarons were inspired by Pierre Hermé’s Earl Grey Tea Macarons. Felt like making something chocolate-y for my teammates as it was some of our last day in our General Medicine team. This team was a surprising combination actually with the whole covid-19 situation – with members sent to cover isolation ward, being quarantined themselves to make sure they’re swab negative before coming back to work, and with the reorganizations we had to have some help from other specialties. But it ended up a memorable month and will miss them!

Back to macarons – the base recipe was my usual macaron basic shells from Ann Readon’s How To Cook That. I didn’t add cocoa powder to the shells as I haven’t really experimented with that in Singapore yet and didn’t want the acidity to potentially mess up the already fragile cookies. Won’t go into specifics, but even dutch processed vs natural cocoa powder will have potential effects on the rise of the shell. Instead I decided to keep the shells simple by tinting it a caramel-brown and flavoring it with earl grey tea leaves – to be honest was just expecting the speckled appearance for aesthetic purposes but was pleasantly surprised when the earl grey flavor comes through in the plain shell!

Since the shells were plain, the flavors of the macarons came from the Chocolate Earl Grey Ganache, also from Pierre Hermé’s book Macarons, which many love for his classic recipes. It’s flavored by steeping the earl grey into the hot cream. I used a combination of Twinning’s Earl Grey tea bags which I had on hand for the extra finely ground texture, and TWG’s French Earl Grey loose tea leaves, a really lovely gift from my friend Harold at last year’s Secret Santa 🙂 Smells absolute devine by itself too (classic TWG black tea infused with citrus fruits and French blue cornflowers). When infused in the chocolate earl grey ganache, the flavor was subtle but could taste it still. I’ll keep experimenting to bring out the flavor even more though – likely next time I’d likely go for a earl grey caramel drizzle as a third element so it’s not totally overpowered by the chocolate.

After letting the ganache set, whip it with a stand mixer to lighten up the texture. It actually changes the texture quite subtly and lightens up the ganache. Since we’re on the topic of ganache, depending on the ratio of heavy cream and chocolate different consistencies can be made to adjust to the mouthfeel and final texture. (Ratio by weight – 2:1 ratio is for thick fudge-like ganache for truffles and tarts, 1:1 ratio is for thick glazes, fillings, and frostings, and 1:2 ratio for thin, pourable ganache for dipping, or whipping into whipped ganache. The Kitchn has some nice tips also). This recipe is about a 1:1.4 ratio – which works, I don’t think I’d change it. Just make sure not to overwhip which will lead to a grainy texture. If this happens, reheat the ganache in a double boiler, strain and start again.

The final product was a chocolatey macaron with richness from the almonds and chocolate ganache, plus a subtle earl grey flavor that adds an interesting kick. Dressed up a simple way with a stripe of gold paint which takes only a few seconds to do – just buy some luster dust (a small amount goes a long way) and dilute in any alcohol based food flavoring – I used almond but vanilla or pure vodka / whiskey also works as it evaporates. Make sure also that you wait at least 24 hours before enjoying the macarons – ganache has less moisture content so takes longer to allow the flavors to mature and allow the shells to absorb the moisture for that ideal soft and chewy texture on the inside 🙂 Hope you try out the recipe and enjoy!

Chocolate Earl Grey Macarons
Makes 30-40 macarons
Earl Grey Basic Macaron Shell adapted from How To Cook That

165 cup icing sugar
90g almond meal
90g or 3 egg whites
60 g caster sugar
1 tea leaf bag (finely ground, Twinning’s works)
Brown food coloring

Chocolate Earl Grey Ganache (Whipped)
adapted from Pierre Hermé’s Earl Grey Tea Macarons

142g heavy cream
10g Earl Grey tea leaves (I used a combination of TWG and Twinning’s)
200g dark chocolate
35g butter, chopped into small cubes

Decorations

Gold luster dust (1 tsp)
1 tsp almond extract, vanilla extract or vodka

To make Chocolate Earl Grey Ganache

Start this the night before. Bring cream to a boil until almost simmering, remove from heat and add the tea leaves. Cover. Let steep for at least 5 minutes.

Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. Boil the cream slightly again until it starts to simmer again. Add the hot cream over the ganache and let sit. No need to stir it constantly and allow the heat to naturally melt the chocolate. Stir gently to combine until it comes together. Add the butter and stir to combine.

Transfer the mixture into a contained and chill in the fridge until ready to use. Make sure to let it warm to room temperature when ready to pipe, or whip into whipped ganache buttercream for this recipe.

To make Earl Grey Macaron Shells

Preheat oven to 320F (160 degrees Celsius). Use a thermometer to be exactly precise. (I usually start to preheat the oven while I wait for macarons to dry)

Sift together the icing sugar and almond meal using a coarse sieve (if you use a fine sieve the almond meal will not go through). Discard any gritty bits of almond meal that do not go through.

Beat together the egg whites and caster sugar on high speed until they are stiff enough that you can turn the bowl upside down without them falling out. Beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add the almond icing sugar mixture and fold in using a rubber spatula. Add in the brown food coloring and fold in the finely ground earl grey tea leaves.

Keep gently folding until the mixture looks like lava, it should have some movement but not be runny. While you are folding periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the spatula to make sure everything is mixed uniformly.

Spoon into a piping bag and pipe small circles of mixture onto non-stick baking paper. Slide onto a baking tray and bang on the bench firmly several times on each side.

Allow to dry until a shell has formed around the macarons, and then place in the oven. Bake at 160 deg C until a foot has formed and the shells are crisp. This took roughly 10 minutes. Try not to open the oven during the cooking process as this will cause a drop in oven temp and may make your macarons hollow.

Cool and then gently peel off the baking paper (if you can’t do this easily the shells are not done yet) and pair similar sized shells. Sometimes I like to flip the macarons over to prevent hollows as it cools (not sure how effective it actually is but no harm)

To assemble

To whip the ganache for frosting, let the earl grey ganache from the fridge come to room temperature. It should be soft but still thick. Beat in a stand mixer or with a hand held mixer, until the ganache is fluffy and has lightened in color, about 1 or 2 minutes.

Pair together similar sized macaron shells (cooled), and pipe ganache in between. Sandwich and enjoy! Decorate by painting gold stripes (mix in some gold luster dust in almond extract) on top of the macaron shells. Place in the fridge for at least 24 hours overnight to let the flavors blend and mature, and to soften the macaron shell – crucial step! Enjoy 🙂

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