Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Heaven and Hell Macarons: Dessert-Inspired Macarons for Mactweets

I hope you aren’t sick of macarons yet. Today brings day three of this week’s macaron fest.

Why? You see, I discovered MacTweets. And joined them last month. Not one to start and then quit things, I knew I had to take part in this month’s challenge, which was to either create a dessert out of macarons or create a macaron inspired by a dessert.

This required something serious. Not like Key Lime Pie, which one could easily turn into a macaron by making a lime buttercream and smacking it between plain macaron shells. No,no. I needed inspiration from something serious.

Something serious like the Heaven and Hell cake that I read about in Saveur a couple of weeks earlier. This cake, which hails from an establishment in Dallas, is so named because it involves layers of angel food cake and devil’s food cake.

Along with peanut butter mousse and bittersweet chocolate ganache. It’s a serious dessert. And the macarons I made based on that very cake are serious as well. Chocolate shells for the devil's food cake. Plain shells for the angel food cake. And of course, peanut butter mousse and bittersweet chocolate ganache have their place, too.

Heaven and Hell Macaron Shells (as adapted from Tartlette)

25 grams sugar

3 egg whites

190 grams powdered sugar, divided

110 grams blanched almonds, divided

10 grams cocoa powder

One cool thing about this particular batch of macarons is that I was able to make use of my new kitchen scale, thereby resulting in more accurate measurements.

To begin, grind half the almonds in a food processor until finely ground, add 100 grams of powdered sugar and pulse until a uniform mixture is achieved. Set aside. Grind remaining almonds until finely ground, add remaining powdered sugar plus the cocoa powder and pulse until a uniform mixture is achieved. Set aside.

Whip the egg whites until foamy, then continue whipping while slowly adding the granulated sugar. Whip until the mixture is stiff, like shaving cream.

Divide meringue evenly between the plain almond mixture and the chocolate almond mixture. Carefully fold the meringue and each almond-powdered sugar mixture in fewer than 50 strokes, taking care to scrape the bottom of the bowl on the strokes.



Pipe the mixtures in rounds about 1 ½” in diameter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.



Let the piped rounds sit for 45 minutes, bake at 280° F, for 20 minutes. As the shells age and bake, begin making the two fillings that draw inspiration from the cake: peanut butter mousse and bittersweet chocolate ganache.

Peanut Butter Mousse Ingredients (as adapted from Saveur)

¾ cup creamy peanut butter

6 tablespoons cream, divided

½ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup cream cheese, softened

Beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, and powdered sugar on medium speed until smooth, add two tablespoons of cream and beat an additional minute.

Beat remaining cream in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form.

Fold mixtures together, freeze lightly, stirring occasionally.

Bittersweet Ganache Ingredients

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (Scharffen Berger 70% cocoa bittersweet)

1/3 cup heavy cream

Heat the cream to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and add chocolate, gently shaking pan to cover the chocolate. Let stand for 1-2 minutes and then whisk smooth.

Now it’s time to assemble macarons that are as much of a monstrosity as the original Heaven and Hell cake. First, spread some peanut butter mousse on a chocolate shell.

Then repeat with chocolate ganache and a plain shell.

Sandwich them together to achieve a true dessert-inspired macaron monstrosity.

I’ve interestingly never had Heaven and Hell Cake myself. But these macarons, though not the prettiest, have convinced me that I need to try at some point.

Have you ever tried Heaven and Hell Cake? Does this post make you want to?


  1. You, ma'am, are a machine. I'm amazed & impressed that you can churn out a touchy dessert like a macaron multiple days in a row, never mind the fact that they're all different flavors. *golf clap*

    Although I have to say, I'm a bit disappointed in these colors. They're so...dull...^_^

  2. Oh is this brilliant and I want a plateful! I have only recently discovered the Heaven and Hell Cake since it is in a cookbook I recently bought and I fell in love! Haven't made it yet but ooooh how I am tempted by your mac version! Yay! And so thrilled you are back with us!

  3. What a heavenly mouthful and your macs are so appropriately named as they can also be hell to make (in my experience anyway.)

  4. Love these I do, and have learnt about the Heaven & Hell Cake from your blog post. My sis lives in Dallas, so I must tell her soon. These must have been delish! Thank you for joining us at MacTweets!

  5. Oh wow!!!!!!!!!!!! These look amazing! Some serious macaron making going on!!! Can I come and be your official taste-tester?

  6. Oooh, what an inspired first entry into Mactweets! Personally, I get stuck at the peanut butter mousse... ;)

  7. Ohhh lawsy! I feel like if the show Pimp My Mac existed, these would happen. I haven't had that cake, though may just seek it out next time I'm in Dallas. Honestly though, I'd prefer these because, c'mon...maconvert here.

  8. @Mary at n00bcakes It's a good thing nobody checks the time stamps on these pictures too carefully, 'cause I definitely bake and then post quite a bit later. I'll take my golf clap anyway.

  9. @Jamie Happy to be back with MacTweets - already anxious to hear what the February challenge will be!

  10. @lora Yes, they can be very tricky, though I have never had a batch come out inedible. Just less than perfect looking.

  11. @Deeba PAB Thanks for hosting! You all are such an inspiration.

  12. @Hannah Have you ever made peanut butter mousse? You should. It's easy and delicious.

  13. @Jessica @ bake me away! Well, you see what you've done now, is you've made it so that I need to write a post titled "Pimp My Mac."

  14. What a great interpretation of this month's mac challenge. I love the chocolate and peanut butter combo for the filling and, yes, this definitely makes me want to try heaven and hell cake.

  15. @Cathy Thanks Cathy! Always happy to meet another MacTweeter.

  16. I love the idea of Heaven & Hell macaron - I bet they taste divine:)

  17. @LadyMacaron20ten They are so good that I had to take them out of my freezer and give them to coworkers. Danger!

  18. Such a creative idea for heaven and hell macs! All those flavors and colors in a tiny treat are definitely macinspirational!

  19. Love your heaven and hell macs! It's great to have a mactweet-er in dc. I could use a heaven and hell mac right now.

  20. @hicookery Thanks - I was at a loss of what to do and then remembered I'd wanted to make the Heaven and Hell cake. Still have to make that cake itself, though.

  21. @Cecilia I still have a bunch in my freezer. I think we need a DC mac-swap get together.