115g brazil nuts, whizzed up in a food processor or spice mill
230g icing sugar (powdered sugar)
144g egg whites (you will need about 5 eggs)
72g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Chocolate Ganache Filling
150ml dark chocolate
150ml double cream
2 large mixing bowls (or 1 if using a Kitchen Aid)
Electric whisk (or Kitchen Aid or equivalent)
Large piping (pastry) bag with a plain round tip OR a cookie piping gun with a plain round tip
Baking sheets, lined with baking paper or non-stick baking mats. You can print out the free template at the bottom of the page for uniform sized macarons, placing underneath your baking paper and removing before baking. If you want your macarons to be a different size, draw the circles directly onto the baking parchment, then turn it over.
Blitz the Brazil nuts to a fine powder, add to the icing sugar and sift. I re-processed the nuts that didn't go through the sieve, then added to the rest. Sift again, and if you are left with any more fine Brazil nuts, you can just add them in.
Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas 2/300°F.
Put the egg whites, caster sugar and salt into a large bowl and whisk with an electric whisk on medium for 3 minutes (use a timer). Increase the speed to medium-high for another 3 minutes, then high for a further 4 minutes. The meringue will be very stiff and dry at this point - to the point you will need to knock it out of the centre of the whisk. If it's not, then keeping whisking until it does.
Fold the dry ingredients into the whites with a rubber spatula. Be firm when folding in, don't worry about deflating the egg whites - you actually need to knock out the air. This is the critical stage - it will take around 30-40 folds to get to the right point. Don't let it get to a runny batter stage - this is over mixed and will not work. However, if you spoon some out and drop it back in and it never melds back into the mix (within about 20 seconds), then you need to keep going. It's a fine balance, so just go one fold at a time!
Put a comfortable amount of mix into your pastry bag (or cookie gun, as I use) and pipe out your circles, remembering that they will spread a little bit, so don't go all the way to the edge of the template. Once you have piped out the whole tray, pick up the tray and hit it a couple of times hard against your worktop (counter) to make any large air pockets pop that would otherwise crack your macarons. Some people say you need to leave the macarons out for 45 minutes before baking, but I have followed the method that doesn't and mine turn out fine. So, pop them straight into the preheated oven for 18 minutes, or until the baking paper peels easily away from the bottom of the macarons. I recommend baking only one tray to begin with, checking halfway through to see if "feet" have formed and the shells are not cracked. If they are cracking, reduce the temperature slightly or raise/lower the shelves in the oven (particularly with fan ovens). If there are no feet, try increasing the temperature slightly or try a different shelf. Cool baked shells.
Make the filling. Place the cream and chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Carefully melt over a pan of simmering water or very gently in the microwave. Set aside to cool.
Once cooled, whisk the ganache to a thick consistency, and pipe a round onto the bottom of a macaron shell, stopping shy of the edge, then sandwich with another. These will keep up to a week in the fridge in an airtight container, and will become chewy with age (my favourite!).
If you want to use a template, I have put one below that you can print. It will print on either US Letter and European A4 paper sizes.