Estimated cost: $2.72 per 12 macarons, $0.23 per macaron
How cute are these chocolate bear macarons?! I think they’re one of the cutest things I’ve ever baked, and I’m excited to share with you how I made them.
The shells are infused with cocoa powder and are sandwiched together with a rich chocolate ganache. If you want to try venturing from only making round macarons, this simple bear design makes character macarons seem not so scary to make! However, if this is your first time making macarons, check out my more in-depth post on how to make macarons. You can find more pictures, GIFS, and macaron templates on that page! I also recommend reading Mimi’s macaron post.
When making these bear macarons, the brown food coloring is completely optional. If you’re happy with the color of the macaron shells from just the cocoa powder, feel free to omit adding in the food dye. If you want a deeper green color, add in some brown gel/powder!
To decorate the bear faces, I used royal icing (like this simple eggless royal icing recipe) since I always have it stocked in my freezer. If you don’t want to make royal icing, you can also use melted white chocolate for the snout/ears and milk/dark chocolate for the eyes + nose!
Check out my other macaron recipes here: Swirl French Macarons with Chocolate Coffee Ganache, Cinnamon Bun French Macarons, Red Velvet Macarons, Ice Cream Shaped Macarons with Chocolate Ganache, Ferrero Rocher Macarons with Nutella Ganache, Frog-Shaped Matcha White Chocolate Macarons.
Bear-Shaped Chocolate French Macarons
For the French macaron shells:
- 50 g egg whites, room temperature ($0.24)
- 40 g granulated sugar ($0.08)
- ⅛ tsp cream of tartar ($0.04)
- 60 g almond flour, sifted ($1.13)
- 45 g powdered sugar, sifted ($0.20)
- 5 g cocoa powder, sifted ($0.09)
- brown food coloring, optional
For the chocolate ganache:
- 50 g milk chocolate ($0.51)
- 50 g heavy cream ($0.42)
- pinch of salt ($0.01)
For the decorations:
- black and white royal icing (see recipe notes), OR melted milk/dark chocolate and melted white chocolate
- Put printed macaron template on work surface. Place silicone baking mats or parchment paper on top of templates.
- Set up one medium piping bag with a medium round tip and one small piping bag with a small round tip. If you do not have a round tips, you can just snip the end of the bags before piping.
For the French macaron shells:
- In a medium bowl, mix the sifted almond flour, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder.
- In a small bowl, combine granulated sugar and cream of tartar.
- Pour the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer. Set up a stopwatch to time how long to whip the meringue. (These times are listed to help beginner macaron makers. With practice, you can go by eye.)0:00 – 4:00 minutes: Mix on medium-low for 4 minutes (Kitchenaid speed 4).4:00 – 9:30 minutes: Turn the mixer to medium speed (Kitchenaid speed 6). Add a third of the granulated sugar and cream of tartar mixture. After 30 seconds, add another third. After another 30 seconds, add the last of the granulated sugar and cream of tartar mixture. Keep mixing at medium speed until you have reached a total of 9:30 minutes. The meringue should be balled up onto the whisk, very thick, glossy, and have stiff peaks. If not, keep mixing at 30-second intervals at Kitchenaid speed 8 until it is.
- Add all of the powdered sugar, almond flour, cocoa, and brown food coloring to the meringue. Gently fold the macaron batter, often scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Continue folding, adding more brown food coloring as needed.
- Fold the batter until it reaches a thick, glossy consistency and flows off the rubber spatula into ribbons. To test if it is ready, allow the batter to flow off the spatula and into the batter. If the ribbons do not melt into the rest of the batter after 30 seconds, continue folding. Be careful not to over mix. When it passes this test, transfer a little more than 3/4 of the batter to your medium piping bag, and the remaining to your small piping bag.
- With your medium piping bag, pipe round shells onto your silicone mats/parchment paper, using the round macaron template as a guide. Tap the trays against the counter a few times to get rid of air bubbles. If there are bubbles on the surface, you can use a toothpick or cookie scribe to pop them. Popping the air bubbles helps stop them from cracking when being baked.
- Once you get rid of as many air bubbles as possible, you will now pipe the ears with the smaller tipped bag. You can pipe ears on half of the macaron shells or all of them—it is your preference. Using the small piping bag, pipe a small circle on the top left of on of the shells to make one of the ears. Repeat on the top right side for the other ear.
- Allow the macarons to sit out at room temperature to dry for at least one hour. They will be ready to bake once the surface of the macaron is matte and dry to the touch. If it is a really humid day, it can sometimes take 2 hours for them to dry.
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Place an empty baking sheet upside-down on the middle rack.
- Place the baking sheet with the macarons on top of the upside-down baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating halfway through. To test if they are done baking, gently push the side of one shell. If it wiggles on the sheet, they need to be baked longer.
- Remove the macarons and place them on a wire rack. Bake any remaining macaron shells.
- Allow macarons to fully cool before peeling them off the parchment paper or silicone mats.
For the ganache:
- Add milk chocolate, salt, and heavy cream to a microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave for 45 seconds, then mix. If the chocolate is not fully melted, microwave at 10-second intervals and mix until it is smooth.
- Place bowl into the fridge and stir it every 5 minutes until the ganache is thick enough to pipe, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer ganache to a piping bag.
- Match the macaron shells, lining up each pair on your work surface. If you're using royal icing, pipe on white for the snout + ears, and black dots for the eyes.Alternatively, you can use melted white chocolate for the snout + ears and melted milk/dark chocolate for the nose + eyes.
- Pipe a dollop of the chocolate ganache on the bottom shell, then add the other shell on top.
- Leave macarons in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 24 hours before eating. This allows them to mature, making them softer, chewier, and more flavorful. Eat at room temperature.
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