300g pure icing sugar (without corn flour added to it)
110g liquefied egg whites (see below)
+ 300g caster sugar
75g mineral water
110g liquefied egg whites
2 tbsp cocoa powder
150g crushed hazelnuts
375g cooking chocolate
150g thickened/double cream
3 tbsp nutella
PREPARE BEFORE YOU START:
Trays (lined with baking paper NOT grease proof paper)
Eggs – separate eat egg whites from the yolks and allow them to sit in the fridge for a couple hours. These must be measured accurately.
Sift almond and sugar together (if you don’t have a food processor)
To make Nutella Ganache:
Add the chocolate and cream to a large microwave safe bowl and microwave for 20 seconds at a time until mixture is smooth. Add nutella and mix until smooth. Place into a piping bag fitted with a plain tip. If the ganache sets and hardens by the time it’s ready to be piped simply microwave for 5 seconds and massage until it becomes soft enough to pipe again.
Add the icing sugar, cocoa powder and almond meal into a food processor and process until well combined. This will help get rid of any lumps in the sugar. Alternatively you may sift the two together. This must be done at least 3 times.
Empty the almond mixture into a large mixing bowl, add the first portion of egg whites and mix until it forms a paste. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Add the sugar and water into a small saucepan. Give them a very gentle stir to get them mixed together. Bring to a boil on medium high heat, then turn down to a simmer. Add a candy thermometer to the pot to help you measure the temp of the syrup. As the syrup bubbles away it will splatter small bubbles of sugared water on the sides of the pot. Use a pastry brush dabbed in a little water to brush those back into the syrup. This will help prevent the syrup from crystallizing. When the syrup reaches 115C, add the second portion of egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer and start whisking them on medium/high speed to help break them apart and get them a little frothy.
When the syrup reaches 118C, pour it over the egg whites in a slow and steady stream. Whisk to stiff peaks for about 6 min. Add the vanilla extract at about the 3 min point, whisk into the meringue for a couple of minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down, then whisk for an extra couple of minutes. When you can turn the bowl over and the meringue doesn’t fall out, you know you’ve reached stiff peaks.
Grab a spatula full of the meringue and fold it into the almond-sugar mixture, mix until well combined. This allows the mixture to thin out a little before you add the rest of the mixture. Fold everything together by going around the bowl with a spatula then through the middle (as demonstrated in the video). Continue folding until the batter gets thin enough that it drips off the spatula and falls in a ribbon. It should take about 10 seconds for the ribbon to disappear into the rest of the batter. That’s when you know the batter is ready to pipe.
Spoon the batter into a piping bag with a round tip.
Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5cm (1.38 inches) in diameter, spacing them 2cm apart on (flat) baking trays lined with baking parchment. Sprinkle with crushed hazelnuts.
Gently tap the tray on the work surface covered with a kitchen cloth. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes, until a skin forms on the shells. They shouldn’t be sticky when you touch them. It’s at this point that you can preheat your oven to 180C
Bake for 12 minutes. If you feel your oven is causing the macarons to brown on one side (usually the side closest to the fan) turn the tray around about half way through baking. Once they’re baked, let them cool completely.
To finish off your macarons by piping nutella ganache blobs around the outside of one cookie. Fill the center with nutella and sandwich with another cookie.
STORAGE: store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (refrigerated or unrefrigerated).
Liquefied egg whites: Egg whites will liquefy if you sit them in the fridge for several days, preferably a week. During that time, the egg whites lose their elasticity, the albumen breaks down and they will be much easier to whisk to soft peaks without turning “grainy”.
100 g (just under 4 oz) chocolate, chopped/chocolate chips
For the molten chocolate:
100 g (just under 4 oz) chocolate (dark chocolate is preferable), chopped/chocolate chips
1/3 cup (80 mL) heavy cream
To prepare the chocolate interior, bring the heavy cream to a boil in a saucepan or in the microwave (30 seconds to 1 minute- check after 30 seconds).
Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds. Then, stir till smooth.
Place the ganache into the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or until firm and malleable (or in the freezer for 30 minutes-1 hour).
In the meantime, prepare the cookie dough by creaming together the butter and sugars.
Add in the egg, and continue to beat.
Add the baking soda, salt, vanilla and instant espresso (you could also add the espresso at the end like we did in the video). The espresso is barely noticeable, but it cuts through the sweet, vanilla scent of the cookie dough and does a fine job of bringing out that rich, chocolatey taste. You could bump it up to ½ tsp if you wish.
Gradually tumble in the flour, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is combined.
Fold in the chocolate chips and chill the dough for 30 minutes. This step isn’t completely necessary, but it makes the dough far easier to work with once it’s time to assemble. You could do the chocolate mixture and dough the night before you plan to serve the dish.
To finish the lava cakes, preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C), butter 8 ramekins (or 8 cups in a muffin tray) and dust with flour or sugar to prevent sticking.
Divide the chocolate ganache mixture into 8 portions and keep them ready on a parchment-lined tray.
Scoop ¼ cup sized mounds of the cookie dough (using a ¼ cup measure or an ice cream scoop) and divide into two parts.
Flatten one of the parts with your fingertips and place one of the ganache balls on top. Cover with the other cookie dough part and roll into a ball, making sure the ganache is completely covered in cookie dough. This is why it is important to make sure the ganache is chilled thoroughly so that none of it seeps through the dough.
You should end up with 8 cricket-ball sized rounds. Place each round into a ramekin/muffin cup.
Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the tops are golden but the lava cakes are still soft to touch and very slightly jiggly in the centre.
Serve with berries (preferably raspberries or blackberries) and/or ice cream.
If you want to remove the cakes from the ramekin/muffin tray (which is slightly more difficult), cool the lava cakes completely, then run a knife around the edges and flip over. If the bottom of the cake sticks to the pan, leaving a hole, fear not- scoop the remnants back into the lava cake and flip the lava cake pretty side up. No one will know. Heat in the microwave for 15 -20 seconds.