So here it is Halloween! I can hardly believe. Once again, I’ve taken a break from blogging since Easter. Last year I did have a good excuse – major home renovation. This year? I got nothing. I won’t even try. But perhaps you will forgive me when you take a peek at these divine, spooky sweet Chocolate Black Cat Macarons I’ve whipped up for Halloween 2022! These sinful little delights boast a crisp outer shell surrounding a lusciously chewy center filled with a silky, dark as your soul, decadent chocolate ganache.
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I mean, think about it…You get to dress weird, drink booze and eat candy for dinner. In fact, all of that fun stuff is encouraged. How could you go wrong on such a day! Our modern holiday of Halloween, actually has Irish origins. Today’s celebrations are derived from the Celtic holiday of Samhain. Samhain was Celtic New Year. It was a harvest festival which marked the dying of the sun-god and a turning to the colder, dormant half of the year. On this night, the Celts believed the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its lowest point. The dead could more easily travel back over to our side, and if we weren’t careful, we could accidentally wander over in to their world and be trapped-a good reason to stay close to home and bonfires, no doubt! This belief likely gave rise to our Halloween legends of ghosts, ghouls and witches wandering about on this night in particular. I’ve posted some great Halloween recipes in past years ranging from the historically based traditional recipes such as:
Soul Cakes (Traditional Halloween/ Samhain)
Yeasted Irish Barmbrack Bread (traditional Halloween/Samhain)
Irish Tea Barmbrack with a Whiskey Honey Glaze (traditional Halloween/Samhain)
To the more whimsical offerings such as:
White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels
Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes
Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes
As well as some wonderful boozy libations to kick your celebrations into high gear:
Or this Roasty Toasty Cocktail
A few year’s ago I managed to combined whimsical and boozy altogether in my Halloween treats with these adorable – I mean terribly frightening Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes.
or how about these Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes
A couple of years ago, I had a howling good time making these little rascals:
I loved making these boo-tiful Spooky Ghost Cupcakes!
And last year’s offering was these diabolically delicious <a href="http://<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iLOaolI8Fgc" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>Malted Chocolate Devil Cupcakes!
So yeah, I’m breaking out of the cupcake mold this year by going with these Black Cat Macarons!
Macarons can be notoriously finicky to make. I was definitely worried that the trick might be on me when I set out to make these, but I had taken efforts to get everything right. My egg whites were aged overnight, my bowls were wiped squeaky clean and I had sifted, pulsed in a food processor and sifted again. I had thoroughly read the recipe several times over. I found watching this video from Sugar Geek Show was also very helpful as far as my batter folding technique.
Truth be told, I didn’t get these to come out perfect the first time. My shells were cracked. Could’ve been I didn’t let them age enough to form the proper skin. Could’ve been I over mixed. Not sure. Yet, I persisted and Voila! So don’t despair ya’ll. Macarons are difficult, but not impossible! I think they are without a doubt worth the effort. And the good news is that even the ones that don’t look purty, still taste delicious!
All right, now that you’ve done all your prep work, get ready to make some amazing bakery quality level Chocolate Macarons! Now I realize I didn’t give you much time to get these done for Halloween – seeings how today is actually Halloween and this recipe calls for aged egg whites. But think of it this way, you will be more than ready to make these spooky macarons next year, or you could just leave the ears and kitty faces off and still be able to enjoy these fabulous treats. The choice is yours. I suppose if you are a real rule breaker you could just make these without aging the egg whites – but you didn’t hear that from me! I did make these Baileys & Coffee Macarons once and did not use aged egg whites. They came out just fine but from what I hear, aged egg whites are the preferred ingredient. But what the heck- Halloween is the perfect time for being naughty! Bake up a batch of these tricksy spooky darkly delicious Black Cat Macarons before the sun sets today! Happy Halloween ya’ll!
Chocolate Black Cat Macarons
recipe slightly adapted from: Sugar Geek Show – design inspired by Posh Little Designs
For the Shells:
- 50 grams almond flour
- 114 grams powdered sugar
- 7 grams cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- 57 grams egg whites aged overnight in the fridge and brought to room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 28 grams granulated baker’s sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the ganache filling:
- 2 ounces heavy cream
- 2.5 ounces dark chocolate
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
For the Royal Frosting:
- 1 Tablespoon meringue powder
- 2 Tablespoons warm water
- 120 grams powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- green and black gel or powdered food coloring
Preheat oven to 320ºF and line a 1/2 baking sheet with parchment paper and a macaron template or a macaron silicone baking mat as I did.
Sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and almond flour, twice if not blended.
Pulse the mixture in a food processor 8-10 times to make the almond flour mixture even finer and texture and to blend the ingredients together.
Whip the egg whites on low to frothy consistency and slowly add the sugar in thirds.
Once the egg whites turn white and you can see some lines forming in the surface from the whisk, add cream of tartar, whipping on medium until soft glossy peaks form.
Add the vanilla to the meringue during the soft peak stage. Then continue whipping on medium-high until you get stiff peaks that start gathering and bunching on the inside of the whisk.
Add 1/3 of your almond mixture to the meringue. Fold your spatula under the batter and around the edges and then cut through the center until almond flour is mixed in. Continue with the rest of the almond flour and folding until homogenous. (see video)
Gently press the spatula on top of the batter while you turn the bowl to take out some fo the air from the meringue. Continue folding around the outside edge until the batter forms a ribbon and moves like lava.
Your meringue is ready when it forms a ribbon off the spatula and the batter that settles almost dissolves all the way back into the rest of the batter but still leave a bit of a line.
Place the majority of the batter in a piping bag fitted with a 1/4 inch piping tip – like a Wilton #12 or Ateco #802. Place a tiny bit of the batter in a separate piping bag fitted with a small round tip. This will be to add the ears to your macarons.
Pipe small rounds about 1″ in diameter on the macaron template.
Go back and using the second piping bag fitted with the small tip add the triangle ears to the top edge of every other macaron round, being sure that the ears level with the height of the round batter.
Drop the pan onto the table 5-6 times from about 5″ above the table to release bubbles. Use a toothpick to remove big pockets of air trapped under the surface. Use a very small amount of water on your fingertip to smooth any rough spots.
Allow to dry, uncovered until a crust forms on the surface. About 30 minutes – 2 hours or until a dry film develops over the surface of the cookie. For humid areas put a space heater nearby to help dry the cookies faster.
Bake at 320ºF for about 14-15 minutes or until lightly browned. If not quite brown baked, bake for an additional 1 minute. Cooled cookies should pull away from the parchment paper without sticking. If they do stick, they were not baked enough.
For the Ganache:
Place all the ingredients into a heatproof bowl and microwave for one minute. Let sit for 5 minutes then whisk until smooth. Heat for another 15 seconds if not fully melted. Place into the fridge for 20 minutes then whisk until smooth. It should be the texture of peanut butter.
For the Royal Frosting:
Combine water and meringue powder in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Add extract and whisk on medium high for about 2-3 minutes.
Mix in powdered sugar until combined.
The icing will be very thick. Add warm water a few drops at a time until the icing is the consistency of toothpaste.
Divide the thick toothpaste like icing into 2 bowls
Add black food coloring to bowl 1 until desired colors are achieved.
Transfer finished black icing to a piping bag and seal closed.
Add green food coloring to bowl 2 until desired color is achieved.
Transfer finished green icing to piping bag and seal closed.
Once shells have cooled, evenly pipe rounds of ganache into the center of the bottom of each macaron shell. Top with “earred” shells to create a sandwich.
Decorate top “earred” shell with royal frosting to make cat’s eyes and whiskers. Or use mini M&M’s for the eyes as I did. You can draw the pupil on with food safe markers and stick the eye to the macaron by adding a small dot of royal frosting on the back.
Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Black Cat Macarons:
Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer
Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale
Simple Baker Silicone Baking Mat for Macarons
King Arthur Flour Almond Flour
King Arthur Baking Company Black Cocoa– This is how I got the deep dark color of the macaron shells without using food color
Wilton Icing Colors – Gel will not thin icing