For the “Hamburger Meat” (Chocolate Ganache)
*Make the day before
- Place cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Place chocolate and vanilla extract in a medium size metal bowl. Pour hot cream into chocolate and let sit 30 seconds. Whisk together until fully combined.
- Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.
For the “Cheese”
- Melt candy, per instruction on packing. Leave white or adjust color with food dye.
- Spread onto a piece of parchment paper, making sure it is not too thick.
- Let the candy harden and cut into 2 1/2-inch squares using a warm knife.
For the Almond Macarons
Editor’s Note: Recipe adapted from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Using a round cookie cutter as a guide, trace 2¼-inch circles on two sheets of parchment paper spacing them evenly apart. Place parchment ink side down on sheet pans. Set aside.
- Place almond flour in a food processor and pulse to grind as fine as possible.
- Sift together almond flour and powdered sugar into a large bowl. Make a 4-inch well in center of mixture and pour in ¼ cup + 1 ½ tablespoon egg whites. Combine with a rubber spatula, until evenly distributed. Set aside.
- Place ¼ cup + 2 tablespoon egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Combine granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until syrup reaches 220 degrees on candy thermometer.
- While sugar syrup is cooking, add a pinch of sugar to egg whites, turn mixer to medium speed, and whip egg whites to soft peaks. (Note: If whites reach soft peaks before syrup reaches 248 degrees, reduce speed to lowest setting, just to keep whites moving.)
- When syrup reaches 248 degrees, remove pan from heat. Turn mixer to medium-low speed, and slowly add syrup, pouring it between side of mixing bowl and whisk; meringue will deflate. Increase speed to medium and whip for 5 minutes, or until whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. Although bowl will still be warm, meringue should have cooled; if not, continue to whip until meringue is cool.
- Fold one-third of meringue into almond mixture, then continue adding meringue a little at a time (you may not use them all) until a ribbon of batter drizzled across the surface of the mixture will hold its shape momentarily, but slowly looses form. Batter shouldn’t be so stiff that it holds its shape without moving at all, but it shouldn’t be so loose that it flattens and does not maintain ribbon; it is better for batter to be slightly stiff than too loose.
- Pour batter into a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch tip. Hold bag upright ½-inch above center of traced circles and pipe out enough mixture to fill circle. Lift away pastry bag and repeat until all remaining circles on first pan are filled. Lift up sheet pan and tap bottom of pan to spread batter and smooth any peaks left by pastry bag. Sprinkle half of piped circles with sesame seeds to make top bun.
- Place sheet pan in oven, immediately lower oven temperature to 325 degrees, and bake for 9-12 minutes. Tops will be shiny and crisp. Set pan on a cooling rack and cool completely. Preheat oven to 400 degrees again.
- Pipe remaining meringue mixture into circles on second sheet pan and repeat baking process. Let cool completely.
- Transfer chocolate ganache into a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch plain pastry tip.
- Remove macarons from parchment paper and turn over macarons without sesame seeds. Place the piping bag of ganache in center of upside down macarons and pipe ganache into a spiral but not quite reaching edge. Place a piece of “cheese” on top of ganache. Drizzle on “ketchup” and place sesame macaron on top, and slightly press down.
- Macarons are best if wrapped well in plastic wrap and stored in fridge overnight before enjoying. Bring to room temperature before serving. Can be refrigerated for up to 5 days if wrapped properly.