Chocolate macaroons

Makes about 20

Is the macaroon fad here to stay or was it a flash in the pan, I wonder? My guess is they are stronger in the marketplace than the cupcake fad which will surely exhaust itself.

For the macaroons

110g icing sugar
10g good-quality dark chocolate powder
50g ground almonds
2 medium egg whites
40g caster sugar

For the filling

70g good-quality 70 per cent dark chocolate
20g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
50ml double cream

First, make the chocolate cream filling: put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, separately bring the cream to the boil and pour it over the chocolate; stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until the chocolate has melted, then stir in the butter until the mixture is smooth. Lay a sheet of clingfilm over the surface of the chocolate and leave to cool at room temperature for an hour or so, but don't put it in the fridge.

To make the macaroons: preheat the oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a dry, very clean bowl, then add the almonds. Next, make thef meringue. By hand or with an electric hand mixer or machine, whisk the egg whites and caster sugar in a separate bowl until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Carefully fold a third of the meringue into the icing-sugar mix with a large spoon until it's well incorporated, then stir in the rest until mixed well.

Line a baking tray with silicone or greaseproof paper. Clean a piping bag with boiling water to remove any grease and wipe dry. Load the mixture into the piping bag and pipe 10p piece-sized blobs, or larger, with a plain nozzle. Drop the tray on the work surface from about 10cm high to help spread the mixture evenly. Leave the macaroons uncovered for 15-20 minutes before cooking.

Bake the macaroons for about 10-12 minutes. You'll know they are cooked when they come away from the paper with a spatula or palette knife. Put to one side and leave to cool.

To assemble, spread about half a teaspoon or more of the filling on the flat side of a macaroon and sandwich with another half. Serve at room temperature.

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