Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world's perfect food (Michael Levine). I mean dark chocolate, in moderation, can be part of a healthy, balanced diet. Research, still ongoing, has pointed out that chocolate in moderation can help prevent cancers and heart disease. I do sure need chocolate to keep me going on Mondays...I need them when I am unhappy/moody...I need them when I am happy...I crave them after a good meal...I need them on my face as a pack when my skin is unhappy...(I even had an emergency chocolate boyfriend replacement kit for a really long time!!!) Yes, Chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you don't need an appointment (Catherine Aitken). All you need is a good quality chocolate that just melts in your mouth...smooth... releasing some magic that instantly lifts you up. I just dont get it when people tell me they are not mad about chocolates...Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies.(John Q. Tullius).How can someone just resist the smell of chocolate? Chocolate is my favourite cake/ice-cream flavour till date; after coffee of course!
My love affair with coffee started way before. My dad used to always buy a bar of "cadbury fruit & nut" the only chocolate I knew of and ate all my childhood. When I met "S", he used to always make me the most amazing hot chocolate for me (I should have know by then that this is the man I am going to marry...silly me!). He introduced me to what became my next favourite; Ferrero Rocher and then fell in love with Nutella. My tastes have changed quite a lot with time & travel and now all I prefer is dark chocolate...Lindt being my favourite at the moment. I still make steaming mugs of Hot Chocolate but with real dark chocolate and a splash of liquor in it...reminiscing our jolly days.
MacSweethearts Jamie & deeba have chosen CHOCOLAT as Aprils theme, asking us to create something sensational, surprising, unique, something beautiful, delectable, tantalizing, something worthy of a Mac Attack using chocolate. They challenged us to use chocolate in some form, some way, whether in the shells or the filling or even both, but blend it, mix it, shake it up with another flavor or two, a spice or a fruit, something sweet or spicy or tart, anything with an alcoholic kick, a novel ingredient which will add texture or flavor or color, something, anything which will accentuate, complement the chocolate flavor and make for one spectacular mac!
I made these Chocolate-Coffee Macaron shells topped with a sprinkle of raw cacao with a White Chocolate Centre & a crunchy Chocolate coated Coffee Bean centre....now that's why I call them Chocolate Excess Macarons. Somehow for me chocolate & coffee are a match made in heaven and I absolutely loved dark chocolate, coffee & white chocolate all together creating a flavour explosion in every bite.
At this point I have to tell you about HealthySupplies who sent the Raw Cocoa a few weeks back, that I have used in the macarons. They have a very good collection of harder-to-find ingredients like the freeze dried fruit powders I use in my macarons. I also love the gluten free stuff they sell like the coconut flour for instance. Do head over to their site and check out the products.Chocolate Excess Macarons
For the macarons
75 g ground almond
75 g icing sugar
30 g egg whites
10g cocoa powder
4g ground coffee
75 g caster sugar
20 g water
30 g egg whites
raw cocoa nibs
100g melted white chocolate
50g chopped chocolate coated coffee beans
Pulse the almonds,cocoa, coffee powder and icing sugar in a processor until fine. Sieve twice. Mix one part of the egg whites to this. Meanwhile whisk whites till frothy. Bring the sugar and water to boil and let it reach 115-118 C in a candy thermometer. Add this to the whites and whisking all the while on high as you pour till it form glossy peaks. Mix a part of the whites to the almond mixture gently folding it. Mix in the remaining whites till you get a smooth mixture that forms ribbons when lifted. Do not over-mix as the mixture will turn liquidy and difficult to pipe. Fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe onto a baking sheet with silpat/ non-stick sheet. Sprinkle the raw cocoa nibs on top. Leave the macarons to form a skin for 30 minutes. When you touch them they should not stick to your hand at this point, if they do leave them for some more time. Preheat oven to 140C and bake the macarons for 12-15 min depending on size. They should come off the sheet once cooked. Transfer to wire rack and cool. Pipe desired filling and sandwich the macarons.
For the filling I used melted white chocolate and sprinkled some chopped chocolate coated coffee beans.