Yield: 2 dozen
|Whole blanched almonds
|+ 3 tb sugar
|Semisweet chocolate, finely cut
Process almonds and 3 tablespoons sugar in food processor bowl fitted with metal blade, pulsing on and off, until very finely ground. Add vanilla. Pulse again and scrape inside of work bowl with metal spatula. Add water and pulse again to mix. Leave almond mixture in work bowl while preparing meringue.
Whisk egg whites and ½ cup sugar in mixer bowl.
Place bowl over pan of simmering water and whisk until egg whites are hot and sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Whip meringue until cooled and fluffy. Add about ¼ of meringue to work bowl containing almond mixture and pulse to mix. Add another ¼ of meringue to work bowl and pulse to mix again. Remove blade and scrape almond meringue mixture from work bowl onto remaining whites. Fold into egg whites.
Scrape almond-meringue mixture into pastry. bag fitted with plain tube that has ¼-inch opening. Cover two baking pans with parchment paper. Pipe 24 (½-inch) macaroons on each pan (48 total), leaving 1 inch between macaroons. Bake macaroons at 375 degrees until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. (Switch pans from back to front and top to bottom once or twice during baking. ) Cool macaroons on pans. When cool, remove from parchment paper.
Bring cream to boil in saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and allow to stand 2 minutes. Whisk smooth.
Scrape filling into bowl to cool.
To assemble, place dab of chocolate filling on flat side of 24 baked macaroons. Press flat sides of remaining 24 macaroons against filling. Store in cool place. Serve macaroons on day they are prepared. Makes about 2 dozen.