Monster of the day: Zombies! When I see the picture above, I imagine the ground cracking open as zombies try to pry their way out of the dirt, like in a horror film. At least that's what happened as the macaron shells were baking. I "accidentally" put the shells in the oven before the skins were completely dry, so as the macaron feet were forming, the middle of the shells began bulging out and cracking, like fists were trying to punch their way out below the chocolaty macaron tops. Quite an entertaining thing to watch. It was definitely a sign that these were meant to be Halloween macarons!
Before starting college, when I still went trick-or-treating, my favorite candies to receive were always those of the peanut butter chocolate variety, like Reese's pieces or those funny Halloween-themed half chocolate/half peanut butter coins. But... now that I'm too busy with studying (and possibly too old?) to go trick-or-treating, this year I decided to create a more upscale twist on my beloved childhood PB & Chocolate combination by playing around with the filling in my favorite Pierre Hermé chocolate macaron recipe. So even though I still enjoy peanut butter cups very much, I must admit that these macarons are wayyy tastier!
Chocolate Macaron Shell Recipefrom Dorie Greenspan's Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
Sorry to disappoint, but I totally forgot to copy down the recipe (plus now that I think about it, the recipe was 3 pages long...). BUT, I will direct you to a reliable chocolate macaron shell recipe that's been successfully reproduced by many bloggers: David Lebovitz's Chocolate Macaron Recipe. By the way, if you want your macarons to have crackly Halloween-ish tops like mine, bake your macaron shells while the skin on them is still weak and not 100% dry. It's definitely interesting to watch them rise in the oven.
Chocolate Ganache Recipe
adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
1 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tbsp butter, room temperature
Chop up the chocolate and place in a small bowl. With a spatula, work the butter until it is smooth and creamy and set aside for the moment. Boil the cream in a small saucepan (it will boil quite quickly since there isn't that much of it). Once boiling, remove the cream from the heat and pour it into the bowl with the chocolate.
With a spatula, slowly incorporate the cream into the chocolate by stirring in small circles until the mixture is smooth and all the chocolate is melted. Next scrape the softened butter into the mixture, and again with your spatula, mix in the butter by stirring in small circles until the ganache is even and the butter is totally incorporated.
Now either leave the ganache to set at room temperature or place it in the refrigerator for quicker setting. It'll be ready to use when it has a spreadable consistency, a bit like nutella or peanut butter (just not as sticky).
Peanut Butter Frosting Recipeadapted from Yogi @ Recipezaar.com
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp butter @ room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk (only if frosting needs thinning)
Mix the two butters together until smooth. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar till even. If the frosting seems too dry or too thick, add in the milk until the frosting is at a spreadable, but not too runny consistency.
AssemblyPair macaron shells of similar sizes together. On one shell, with a knife or spoon, drop a small dab of chocolate ganache in the center, as pictured above. Then pipe a circle of peanut butter frosting around the chocolaty center. With the matching shell, sandwich the filling in between and gently squeeze until the filling is evenly distributed between the two shells. Once all the macarons are filled, refrigerate them for a few days to allow the flavors to meld. To serve, take the macarons out of the fridge and let them come back to room temperature for a nice, soft texture. Enjoy!