Chocolate, Cocoa Nib and Hazelnut Macarons

Yup, it’s macarons on the brain again! C’est parfait!

Once again, I am working from my trusty Ottolenghi recipe – replacing ground almonds with hazelnuts, sprinkling caramelised cocoa nibs on the tops of the macarons, and filling them with rich chocolatey ganache. It might have been spiked slightly with a splash of vodka, but that part was entirely unintentional.

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The hazelnut flavour was present, but subtle. If I were to make these again (and if I didn’t have a bottomless pit of cocoa nibs to get through) I would sprinkle the macarons with chopped hazelnuts, and put a few chopped hazelnuts in with the ganache as well. Also experimented by sprinkling a couple of the macarons with cocoa powder instead of cocoa nibs, and I really liked the simple but pretty effect that produced.

I’ve realised that only one of my baking trays (the cheap Pyrex one with raised sides from Tesco) actually produces successful macarons, the other one (the posh even-heat-conducting from Lakeland) never does. Why is this?

The science behind good macarons still perplexes me, so I guess that this will have to remain a mystery for now. I’ve only ever made macarons using the French meringue method so far, but having come into possession of a sugar thermometer means I may pluck up the courage to try the Italian meringue soon.
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