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Macarons with dark chocolate filling

Sat, 23 October, 2021

Authentic French macarons with lemon and chocolate filling are a bit of an effort to make, but they are one of the loveliest desserts that ever existed!

macarons with dark chocolate filling

The Parisian macaron experience

The Weather Man and I once queued for over half an hour outside Pierre Hermé’s patisserie in Rue Bonaparte, Paris, in order to spend a small fortune on a boîte of assorted macarons.

Which we promptly ate out of the boîte, outside the shop, ribbons and pretty packaging discarded, like they were chips. Embarrassing, I know. You could tell straight away we weren’t French.

That’s how fantastic the macarons were, and it was the first time we had ever tasted them. Only a year or so before the multi-coloured, sandwiched shells the size of a greedy bite started springing up around the weekend supplements and magazines (in those bleak, pre-Insta times).

It was about that time too, 2005, that Ladurée, Parisian patisserie and tea rooms, opened its first shop in London.

lemon and chocolate macarons

What are macarons like?

Macarons are light and sophisticated almond meringue biscuits, sandwiched with a filling. They come in various flavours, some of which are pretty standard like coffee, apricot, rose, chocolate or pistachio; while others are immeasurably recherché: Love in a Cage, Vegetable Garden or Infinitely Fig.

There is no standard filling for macarons as it all depends on matching the flavour. And so they may be filled with buttercream, with smooth flavoured whipped cream, chocolate ganache, jam or confit fruit.

They are mouth-wateringly delicious, but also eye-wateringly expensive. A box of dozen from Pierre Hermé will set you back £31 while Ladurée charge £29 plus shipping.

authentic macarons with dark ganache

Why are macarons so expensive?

They are very labour-intensive biscuits to make and most of the process is done by hand. What’s more, each individual flavour needs to be made as a separate batch of appareil (macaron mix) so there is no cross-staining or contamination of flavours. It’s a high-precision job, for sure.

Mine is a practical macaron recipe: the flavour is just one, plain; my method, even though it closely follows the original Ladurée technique, is sensibly doable and the filling keeps for up to five days.

macarons with lemon curd and dark chocolate ganache

How to make authentic macarons?

The appareil consists of two parts: almond paste and Italian meringue.

The first is a doddle: stirring ground almonds and icing sugar into egg whites (44% of the overall egg white amount you’re using – there is a need to be precise in this recipe) into a thick paste.

Tip: egg whites are rather difficult to measure out precisely so it’s better to break them up with a fork until foamy before you weigh them out.

The Italian meringue is made by adding hot sugar syrup in a slow stream to egg whites first beaten to stiff peaks. Trickier than your ordinary meringue!

Especially that it is better done with a hand-held mixer rather than in a standing one, because in the latter the syrup will get splattered around the sides of the bowl instead of getting right into the whisk.

So you have to handle the bowl dancing on the worktop (place it on a tea towel), the mixer in one hand and the pan with the hot syrup in the other!

Also note that the syrup is made with very little water so it takes next to no time to make. If you think you’ll leisurely beat your egg whites while it cooks, think again: the meringue base needs to be stiff-peaky and ready when you put the syrup on.

The two parts are gently combined until smooth and shiny again, and then there’s no escape – the mixture needs to be piped unless you’re rebelliously into very rustic, randomly shaped and sized macarons. Which of course there is nothing wrong with.

It helps to stencil rings on the parchment, 4cm in diameter, if you want the piping to be neat. Do it with an ordinary pencil, not a toxic marker, as sometimes the rings transfer onto the macarons’ bottoms.

But try to pipe the mix within the circles. Ignore peaks – they will flatten as the mix stands, because it needs at least half an hour of rest and setting before it goes into the oven. That’s when the ‘foot’ should develop: the foamy rim around the base of the macaron. Without the feet, they are decidedly second-rate!

Once baked, they will keep reasonably long in an air-tight container, just like meringues. So if you wish, you can make a batch and then fill just a few at a time, for a treat or a gift.

just baked macarons

What filling for macarons?

As above, there are many options, depending on the flavour you want to achieve. My recipe is for a plain macaron filled with a drop of lemon curd and dark chocolate ganache.

By all means, make some raspberry buttercream for pink coloured biscuits. Milk or white chocolate ganache perhaps? Simply whipped cream if they’re for immediate consumption. Or, even easier, good jam. If Pierre Hermé can use jam, so can you.

macarons with lemon and chocolate filling

More French dessert recipes

Relatives of macarons, croquants, are not quite as iconic but considerably easier to make. And delicious too.

À la recherche du temps perdu? With a cup of tea and a madeleine, évidemment.

A little old-fashioned, but none the less delightful, are classic chocolate profiteroles.

More almond biscuit recipes

This is the German Christmas version of almond biscuit: Zimtsterne. Quite challenging to make but very rewarding.

Dacquoise biscuits are a cross between macarons and sponge – mine here are orange flavoured.

And the Basque version of macarons is worth a mention, similar but a little more rustic.

filling macarons

Macarons with dark chocolate filling

Servings: makes 12 macaronsTime: 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 125g (1 cup) icing sugar
  • 125g (113 cup) ground almonds
  • 90g (3 oz.) egg whites, divided
  • a pinch of salt
  • 110g (12 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • For the filling:
  • 100g (12 cup) double cream
  • 100g (34 cup) dark chocolate chips
  • 4-5 tbsp lemon curd


1. In a large bowl place the icing sugar, the ground almonds and 40g of the egg whites. Mix to a paste.

almond paste

2. Prepare 2 baking sheets lined with parchment. You can draw a stencil of circles for easier and shapelier piping, with a 4cm pastry cutter and a pencil (use a pencil rather than a pen as some of it might transfer onto macarons).

3. Place the remaining 50g of egg whites with the pinch of salt in a spotlessly clean bowl or the standing mixer bowl. Beat with a balloon whisk or standard beaters of a handheld mixer until stiff peaks form. Add any colouring at this point, if using.

4. Place the caster sugar with the water in a small milk pan and bring to the boil. Let it boil furiously until it turns syrupy and thick (110C/230F on a jam thermometer scale).

5. Resume whisking the egg whites while you pour in the syrup in a slow stream. Scrape the sides of the bowl if the syrup splattered around and continue whisking until the meringue is stiff and glossy.

6. Spoon the meringue into the bowl with the almond paste and fold in until well combined and shiny again. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle.

macaron appareil

7. Pipe piles of meringue within the marked circles. Don’t worry if there are peaks – they will all flatten as they stand. Give the baking trays a couple of sharp taps to deflate the mix and leave them for 30-50 minutes to dry and form a skin.

piped macarons

8. Preheat the oven to 150C fan if possible/300F/gas 2. When the macarons are almost dry to touch, transfer the trays into the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until firm. Cool completely on the parchment.

9. To make the chocolate filling, bring the cream to the boil in a small pan or a bowl in the microwave. Add the chocolate chips, let it stand for a minute and then stir until smooth. Chill the filling about 10-15 minutes, until it thickens.

10. To fill the macarons, spoon a small blob of lemon curd in the middle of one macaron and pipe the chocolate around it. Sandwich it with another and press lightly to spread the filling evenly.

11. Store the macarons at room temperature in a tin or jar, for up to 5 days.

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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