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BITTER CHOCOLATE MACARONMakes about 72 macarons (or about 144 shells)
about 1 hour
about 25 minutes
2 hours + 24 hours
FOR THE MACARON SHELLS:
120g cacao pate (or dark chocolate 100% cocoa)
300g ground almonds
300g icing sugar
110g 'liquefied' egg whites*
4.5g carmine red food colouring (or cochineal)
300g caster sugar
75g mineral water
110g 'liquefied' egg whites*
FOR THE BITTER CHOCOLATE GANACHE
400g liquied creme fraiche or whipping cream (35% fat)
360g Valrhona Guanaja couverture chocolate
40g cacao pate (or dark chocolate, 100% cocoa solids)
140g 'La Vietter' butter (sweet butter from Charentes) at room temperature (The butter is soft enough when you can dip a finger in without meeting any resistance. Make sure you take the butter out of the fridge several hours in advance.)
Sift together the icing sugar and ground almonds. Chop up the cacao pate and melt it at 50ºC in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir the food colouring into the first portion of liquefied egg whites and add this to the bowl of icing sugar and ground almonds but do not stir.
Bring the water and sugar to boil to 118ºC. When the syrup reaches 115ºC, simultaneously start whisking the second portion of liquefied egg whites to soft peaks on a medium speed. When the sugar reaches 118ºC, pour it over the egg whites. Whisk and allow the meringue to cool down to 50ºC, then add it to the bowl of icing sugar and ground almonds, stir, then fold in the melted cacao. Spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle.
Pipe rounds of batter about 3.5 cm in diameter, spacing them 2 cm apart on baking trays lined with baking parchment. Using a sieve, sprinkle them with a light dusting of cocoa powder. Rap the baking trays on the work surgace covered with a kitchen cloth. Leave to stand for 30 minutes until a skin forms on the surface.
Preheat the fan oven to 180ºC. Put the baking trays in the oven. Bake for 12 minutes, briefly opening and shutting the oven door twice during cooking time. Take the shells out of the oven and slide them on to the work surface.
For chocolate ganache. Cut the butter into pieces. Chop up the chocolate and tip it into a bowl. Bring the cream to the boil. Pour it over the chopped chocolate a third at a time.
When mixture reaches 50ºC, add the pieces of butter a few at a time.
Whisk to obtain smooth ganache. Pour it into a gratin dish. Press clingfilm over the surface of the ganache and set aside in the fridge for the ganache to thicken.
Spoon the ganache into a piping bag with a plain nozzle. Pipe a generous mound of ganache on to half the shells. Top them with the remaining shells.
Store the macarons in the fridge for 24 hours. Remove from the fridge two hours before eating.
* 'Liquefied' egg - Egg whites will liquefy if you sit them in the fridge for several days, preferably a week. During that tie, the egg whites lose their elasticity, the albumen breaks down and they will be much easier to whisk to soft peaks without the risk of turning 'grainy'. And you don't have to worry about bacteria because they will be cooked in the oven at a high temperature.