The church biscuit: 70. Chocolate Macaroons – Amaretti scuri

Chocolate Macaroons ((from Nigella Express)

Chocolate Macaroons ((from Nigella Express)

Amaretti scuri are dark macaroons whose depth of colour and flavour comes from cocoa powder. They could not be more easy to make and at their best are slightly crisp on the outside but chewy within.  The egg yolks can be used up either by adding them to the ingredients for an extra fortifying  omelette or you could make some Lemon Polenta Crescents at the same time and freeze them for later. This recipe comes from Nigella Express.

2 egg whites

200 g ground almonds

30 g cocoa powder

175 g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 200º C/ 180º C for a fan oven / Gas mark 6

Line a baking sheet with baking parchment or rice paper (the latter is not at all necessary but some people like it). Nigella says Bake-O-Glide is preferable and now I think of it I may have a sheet left for me by daughter No 3 so I may well try that next time (and there will be a next time for this recipe).

Mix the UNBEATEN egg whites with the ground almonds, cocoa powder and icing sugar (I sifted them all in) until you have ‘a sticky but cohesive mixture’.

Fill a large bowl with cold water and dip your hands in to wet them before rolling the mixture into little balls the size of small walnuts. (Keep wetting your hands as necessary – it does help.)

Arrange the little balls on to the lined baking trays and bake in the oven for 11 minutes. Nigella says it’s hard to tell when they’re ready as they will be squishy to touch but will harden up on the outside as thy cool. They should remain moist within as that gives them their chewiness. Let them cool for a few minutes on the baking tray and the transfer them with the careful use of a spatula to a wire rack.

Chocolate macaroons (from Nigella Express)

Chocolate macaroons (from Nigella Express)

My comments: This recipe is very easy and it’s great just adding all the ingredients together at once. However, I notice from Nigella’s picture that her macaroons are evenly dark and don’t have a speckled finish that mine did. That got me thinking that next time I will discard the gritty bits of almond skin that remain in the sieve once all the creamy nut has gone through. Nigella’s also appear flatter than mine but she doesn’t mention pressing the balls down a bit  – this too I might try next time. My biscuits have also cracked more. The 11 minutes sounds very precise but as  I don’t trust the accuracy of my oven so I left them in for longer – perhaps this lead to the cracking. I shall put the timer on for 11 minutes exactly next time and see how that works out.

Picture of Nigella's chocolate macaroons taken from the book Nigella Express

Picture of Nigella’s chocolate macaroons taken from the book Nigella Express

However, these are small points because these are divine little biscuits which I will definitely make again … and again … and again (possibly with a bit of crystallised ginger in the middle or a piece of dried pear or dried sour cherry, possibly soaked in Amaretto liquer … ) I shall make lots in a few weeks time and fill the 3 lovely tins that came with the very expensive Amaretto di Saronno  biscuits (which I shall never buy again as homemade ones are so much better, temptingly beautiful though the tins are!). One tin will have these and another can be filled with sour cherry amaretti, an Ottolenghi recipe. The third tin I shall fill with riccciarelli whose citrus flavour  will hit a quite different note from the other 2 biscuits. (The chocolate macaroon recipe above is I think preferable to the one that comes after the ricciarelli recipe – as the pictures seem to show.)

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6 Comments

  1. Linda Pennell
    Posted November 28, 2015 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Thank you – these turned out very well and have been named ‘reindeer droppings’ by my nephew! A delight for children and adults then.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted November 28, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Wonderful! How seasonally appropriate, I think we shall call them that too and enjoy them all the more.

  2. Posted November 28, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Nigella is a good source for the “stir it all together” sort of recipe. I’ve never known one of hers to fail, either. The chocolate macaroons do look rather delicious..

    • Mary Addison
      Posted November 28, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Though Nigella does skip over a few elements from time to time. Nevertheless these, even streaky, cracked and not quite the same shape as hers are delicious.

  3. Posted November 29, 2015 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous dainty biscuits today and how I would like to sample one with a cup of tea right now…. I will go and put the kettle on!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted November 29, 2015 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Enjoy your tea Lydia!

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