almond macaroon torte with chocolate frosting

And on Saturday, we returned from our week at sea, our week of no work, of sunshine and someone else making dinner and lo, what a bummer. But we had a great time, from stunning views as we sailed out of New York Harbor on a freak 75 degree day in March:

leaving new york
the verrazano went by our patio

On an epically proportioned boat

ferry back to the boat

With the second-tiniest but most enthusiastic sailor (a baby two days younger had the audacity to steal Jacob’s Youngest Cruiser thunder)


To short excursions, an abundance of pool parties and endless plates of fresh fruit.

old and chipped in nassauaquarium at the atlantisthis is the pool areasole food photo

And then we came home and I battled a torte recipe with knives and rulers and whisks and the arced steel blade of a food processor and prevailed. Because I am awesome, right? But I’m convinced that the recipe had it out for me. Well, the recipe and these still-wobbly sea legs, the feeling that the kitchen is sloshing along in choppy waters no longer charming on day two (and now three).

orange peel syrupwhipped egg whitesmeringue layers, before bakingmeringue layer-blobs, after baking

But mostly the recipe: I didn’t understand why it recipe demanded slivered almonds (which had been harder for me to find) if only to grind them in step one. Two vanilla beans seems excessive considering that the vanilla taste was still muted — I’d use extract next time and save the expense. A fussy orange peel syrup imparted virtually no orange vibe in the final frosting. Steps seemed out of order (preparing a syrup first that you wouldn’t need for hours) and measurements were absent where I needed them. Syrup is chilled just to be warmed again. A simple adjustment shaved 30 minutes off the prep time of the frosting. A sloshy orange “compote” seemed like something that would just dissolve a dry meringue, not complement it. Parchment rectangles were sprayed with oil (is this necessarily?) which caused the rectangles to spread into puddles which merged together and slid off my trays; only significant trimming salvaged them. And the baking time was easily double what was needed (good thing I watch the oven like a hawk).

stacked and filled macaroon torte

And yet! Despite all of those laments above, I’m spectacularly excited about serving this tonight because I’m pretty sure it’s going to taste like a giant Kit-Kat candy bar. How could it not? It’s gigantic rectangle comprised of stacked, thin, crunchy layers spread thickly and then coated completely with semisweet chocolate that hardened overnight into a candy-like shell. It’s homemade from fantastic ingredients, it’s flour-free (thus kosher for Passover and gluten-free), dairy-free (paerve), practically fat free, can be made a day or two in advance and doesn’t require refrigeration. Guys, this is like the Harvard of desserts. But mostly it’s a giant Kit-Kat, which means that even schlubs like me get a piece.

almond macaroon torte

One year ago: Artichokes Braised in Lemon and Olive Oil
Two years ago: Vegetarian Cassoulet
Three years ago: Arugula Ravioli

Almond Macaroon Torte with Chocolate Frosting
Adapted heavily from Bon Appetit

I’ve made a tremendous amount of changes to this recipe — adjusted cooking times, added weights, added dozens of tips, rewrote just about everything, etc. — and this is a good thing as the one I started with was exasperating. And that’s putting it mildly. But the core of the recipe — what I ended up with after a lot of tweaks and what I believe it is meant to be — is delightful, both an elegant, showy torte and a candy bar that I cannot wait to get a taste of in T-minus 7… 6… 5 hours… Not that I’m tapping my feet or anything.

Update: We loved it. It was a huge, huge hit, although not precisely Kit-Kat-ish. The layers (as the ingredient list gave away to some commenters) are almost exactly like those trendy macaron, which is to say crisp but soft and slightly chewy. The chocolate remained firm. It was easy to slice cleanly with an unfancy knife and I’ll definitely be making this again.

Serves 12

Almond macaroons
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 1/2 cups (10.5 ounces or 300 grams) slivered almonds (or an equivalent weight of blanched, sliced or already ground almonds)
1 cup (196 grams) plus 3 tablespoons (37 grams) sugar
2 large pinches kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 large egg whites

Frosting and assembly
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Flavoring of your choice, such as 1/2 teaspoon orange oil or extract, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, almond or other extract
20 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (61% or less is recommended, I think it would also be great with 72%, a nice bitter contrast to the sweet macaroons), chopped or chocolate chips
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted (at 350 degrees for 7 to 9 minutes on a tray, stirring once or twice)

Make macaroons: Position an oven rack in the top and lower third of oven and preheat oven to 325°F. Draw two 12 x 4-inch rectangles, spacing 2 inches apart [see Note below for my tiny kitchen adjustments] on a piece of parchment paper, then two more of the same size on a second sheet. In total, you’ll use 2 sheets of parchment paper and draw 4 rectangles. Turn each sheet of parchment over (so your ink or pencil lines don’t seep into the macaroon) and spray with nonstick spray [but first see Note below about the necessity of this] .

Place almonds, 1 cup sugar and coarse salt in a food processor (you can skip the food processor, however, if you use an equivalent weight of almond meal or ground almonds, just mixing the ingredients in a bowl) with vanilla bean seeds, if using (you’ll add liquid extract in a bit) and blend until finely ground.

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large, dry bowl with clean beaters (or a whisk attachment) until soft peaks form. Drizzle in vanilla extract (if using), then slowly add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Beat until stiff but not dry. Fold nut mixture into egg whites. Spread 1/4 of macaroon batter evenly within each rectangle, filling completely.

Bake macaroon layers until golden and almost firm to the touch in the center, reversing sheets halfway through — this took a total of 23 measly minutes in my oven; the original recipe says it can take up to 40. I would check in on yours at 23 minutes and then every 5 minutes thereafter if they’re not done yet.

Cool macaroons on their sheets on a cooling rack.

Make frosting: Simmer 1/2 cup of water and sugar in a medium saucepan until sugar dissolves. Measure 10 tablespoons from this and either discard the rest of save it for another use. Put the 10 tablespoons syrup back in the saucepan and add flavoring of your choice. Bring the syrup back to a boil and add chocolate to the saucepan. Remove from heat and let sit for one minute, then stir the chocolate until smooth. This should yield a medium-thick frosting, good for spreading. If yours is on the thin side, you can let it cool for 5 or 10 minutes until it is a good spreading consistency.

Assemble torte If needed due to spreading, carefully trim your macaroon layers back to their intended rectangular sizes — for me, a sharp knife lightly coated with oil worked best for this.

Place one macaroon layer on a long platter. (If you’re a follower of my layer cake tips, you’ll already know that slipping little pieces of parchment or waxed paper under the edges will help keep your platter clean; you pull them out when you’re done frosting the torte.) Spread 1/2 cup frosting evenly over. Top with another macaroon layer. Spread 1/2 cup frosting evenly over. Repeat 1 more time then top with last macaroon layer, flat side up (whoops, didn’t do this). Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of torte. Press sliced almonds onto sides of torte.

Do ahead: Can be made one to two days ahead. Cover with foil tent. Store at room temperature.

Tiny kitchen/tiny tray tweak: If you’re curious as to why mine may look a little smaller or taller than yours, I had to make my rectangles a little smaller — 11 x 3.75-inch — to work within the tiny baking sheets that fit in my tiny oven. I flipped them over so they didn’t bump into the walls of the tray, but this proved unfortunate when mine spread down the sides! I (of course) don’t recommend the tray flipping.

About that spray oil: As I mentioned in the post above, this step vexes me. I’ve always made macaroons and meringues on sheets of parchment paper that were not sprayed or grease, the nonstick properties of parchment were enough to release the cookies. But this recipe has you use nonstick spray on them, which encourages your neat rectangles of macaroon to slide and spread. This is not ideal. I hope to update this step soon with a note about whether you can get by without the spray oil, using plain parchment. Fortunately, any spreading can be trimmed but more ideal would, of course, be no spreading at all. Update: At least one commenter (thank you Kate!) made these without oiling the parchment, found that the macaroons spread less and had no trouble removing the macaroons from the parchment.

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266 comments on almond macaroon torte with chocolate frosting

  1. Laurel

    Welcome back Deb, you are so awesome for posting so many things while you were gone. Glad you had a great trip with the little sailor! You are the best.

  2. jitters

    What a delicious looking torte and even more delicious little sailor! I’ve been following your blog for a while and I have really enjoyed it! About the torte, is almond flour the same as ground up almonds? Do you think this recipe would work with jam instead of chocolate?

  3. Giant kit kat? Harvard of desserts? This almond macaroon torte sounds splendid. I’m not an expert, but I believe that macaron recipes call for slivered almonds because it creates a drier flour, if you’re looking to create your own almond meal.
    You are truly a superb and patient recipe tester!

  4. Excellent suggestion! I have exactly six egg whites leftover from my first batch of homemade gelato attempted yesterday. Not sure what I was going to do with them, but this is currently in the lead.

  5. Rebecca

    Dangit, now that I’ve seen this, I’m going to have to make it. Just as soon as I get back from the grocery store. Thats quite a mug on your kid there, :) He’s adorable

  6. Happy Passover Deb.
    I just finished baking my macaroons for tonight and for some crazy reason they are flat!
    I think it must be the rain! Oh well, they may look ugly but taste good.
    Your torte is fabulous!

  7. Dawn

    I saw this in Bon Appetit just last night, and couldn’t help question the process myself. I think I’ll leave the orange out if I ever make it.

  8. Shelli

    Hi Courtney, not 100% sure but pretty sure the sugar for the frosting should be 1/2 cup *not* 12 cups. The 1/2 cup water to 1/2 cup sugar would basically make a simple syrup with which the flavored syrup gets made. But, again, not certain on this.

  9. Stefanie

    This looks delicious. I only have one problem… I’m allergic to almonds. Do you have any other suggestions for an alternative nut (I can have any except almonds and pecans)?

  10. Martha Hochman

    Oh my gosh, I’m so happy to see that somebody else thought some of the things in this recipe were a little strenge seeming. My big question was did you have to bake the torte layers on a tray with a low side? I happen to have cookie sheets with no sides – oh NO! But guess what? They baked just fine on my trays! And you are so right about the syrup-mine had no flavor at all; I thought I just had flavorless oranges-maybe you did too! I did have horrendous trouble with frosting. I followed the recipe in the magazine and the frosting was like stirring fast setting concrete. The frosting got harder and harder by the minute as I was attempting to put in on the torte. At the end I was just smashing it onto the sides as best as I could. To remedy it’s sad look, I stuck sliced almonds into the frosting sticking out
    porcupine style. Alas, the almonds would not just stick to the frosting like I think they should have. I’m really curious to see how this torte goes down with my crowd tonight. If it’s a quarter as good as aKitKat bar, I’ll be okay.

  11. You’re right you shouldn’t oil the parchment. Perhaps an Italian or Swiss meringue would help.
    Isn’t this a macaron torte and not a macaroon torte? Not sure why Bon Appetite called it a macaroon.
    I wonder if your oven was too hot. I find it’s always a good idea to have an oven thermometer.
    I agree the extract is much better for the vanilla because you’ll never get the flavor out of the vanilla pod that way.

    I can understand letting the orange peel macerate in the syrup for that time because it takes that long to get the flavor out of the orange, but with your busy schedule extract would be easier and better. Truthfully, I would let the orange peel macerate for an entire day before I use it to extract the flavors.

    1. deb

      Jeff — I actually made the syrup hours early, scrubbed the peels (to loosen the oils and make sure any wax was removed, also a Shuna tip!) and found the syrup to have zero orange flavor. Also, they were organic oranges (delicious ones) — I’d expected more. I don’t think that the peel technique gives much flavor to a sugar syrup.

      My oven is accurate. I have a thermometer. Now, whether that thermometer is accurate is a different story. I’ve yet to put two thermometers in the same oven that read the same.’

      Stefanie — It’s definitely worth trying with the equal weight of another nut. Do let us know how it goes if you do.

  12. NINU

    hey deb, welcome backm the torte looks great!! funny coincidence though, i ve been mulling over the le succes recipe in rose levy berenbaums “heavenly cakes” its really similar!! though the filling is more of a ganache with cream et all…

  13. Now that’s a Passover dessert I’d dive into. Usually it’s pavlova and macaroons and while delicious in their own right, they’re not nearly as spectacular as this torte.

    Perfection is what I see on my monitor! :)

    Welcome back and Happy Passover!

  14. Susan

    Bless your heart! I just know you heard me when I spoke of my new crush on Almond Horns. With the addition of almond extract, that’s exactly what this would taste like..I just know it! This is gorgeous! Please let us know in them comments tomorrow how good it was (and what you might do differently next I’m sure it will pop into your mind, unbidden!)

  15. Susan

    One more thing…about the orange syrup. This is where Shuna Fish’s technique of rubbing the sugar with the orange zest comes in handy. It bruises that zest and gets most of the flavor oils infused into the sugar. Then you can add a few extra strips of zest to bruise and cook in the syrup as well.

  16. This really, really made me smile. Some recipes are just like wrestling matches, with you in the blue corner and them in the red corner tussling it out to see who wins out in the end. Looks like you muscled this one into submission. I’m pleased you won – your torte looks delicious. And Jacob, well, could he be any more divine?

  17. Maggie

    Awwwwww, Deb. I had such a smitten weekend — Saturday, we had your butter/onion pasta sauce and delicious meatballs, Sunday we had breakfast pizzas, kale chips, and sweet potato/swiss chard (or in our case collard) gratin, and I was sure that I’d made everything I *absolutely needed* to try before the week started. Now I might have to make this tonight. Look what you’re doing to me!

    Also: welcome back! And man, you have the single cutest kid I’ve ever seen. In my life. Ever.

  18. Laura

    Almost made this myself this weekend, but found the recipe a little too confusing to do while preparing the rest of my Passover fare. Thanks for working out the kinks!

  19. Welcome back and Chag sameach! With the scheduled posts, it felt like you were never away. and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Good luck with your dinner.

  20. Hi Deb – first of all – the eyelashes on that boy? Too cute! He’s really wonderfully adorable.
    And second – the vertigo – lay down on your bed, or the floor. Look all the way to the right, cheeck flat to the surface, and count to five. Now to the left, same thing. Do this a few times. See if that helps. It does something to realign the crystals in your inner ear and get your sense of balance back. It works on my vertigo when I get off a ship. I hope it helps you!
    Gorgeous torte!

  21. Chag Sameach, Deb (and family, of course). If you had posted this just a little sooner, I definitely would have made it for tonight. Oh well, I still have the whole week. And who says you can’t eat Pesach food after Pesach?

  22. PatW

    I discovered a solution to the problem of the disappearing orange flavor at New York Bakery Supply on 22nd street and Avenue of the Americas. They have citrus flavoring oils that really put a zing into things. They are very VERY strong stuff. I keep them on hand always! Start with one drop. I mean it!

  23. Julia

    BTW, vanilla extract might not be kosher for Passover, depending on the kind of alcohol used. I make my own extract with really cheap vodka made from wheat, which is not kosher for Passover. That’s probably why they used vanilla beans in this recipe.

  24. Thank you for posting this. I was going to make this for a seder tomorrow, when i saw it in bon appetit, but then upon reading reviews online was horrified to see just what a disaster it had been for so many. Thanks for sloshing through it and adapting it into something doable.

  25. While I initially was distracted by the Jacob-adorableness pictures… I somehow made my way to the delicious recipe and food. But quick question – if the chocolate layers/frosting hardens, how did you get such a clean cut instead of shattering the chocolate shell? Would you recommend scoring the chocolate before storing?

  26. Looks wonderful – welcome back.

    Only one complaint – there’s no way that would serve 12 people, at least not 12 of my peeps. It’s so yummy looking, I’ll get I could get four people to finish it off!

  27. This is one of my pet peeves about Bon Appetit. About 85% of the time, they’ve taken the longest, most ridiculous way around something (or worse, left out critical steps). When I saw the recipe in the mag, I couldn’t figure out the point of the orange nonsense because the chocolate is going to totally overwhelm it. That magazine is maddening – not sure I’ll re-up this year. By pure coincidence, I made a similar almond torte with chocolate frosting this weekend (not a macaroon formula, as there were yolks), and it was easy as pie (er, torte). They need to do a better job of auditing their contributors.

  28. I just got back from spring break, so I completely understand your woes of not wanting to do anything. Giant forms of candy bars are generally going to be a hit, even if those blasted Bon Appetit test kitchens don’t know what they’re doing.

    Welcome back to dry land!! (unless it’s raining and you happen to be on wet land)

  29. Kelley

    I have a quick Passover ingredient question. When I was grocery shopping this weekend, I noticed that chocolate chips have soy lethicin emulsifiers (soy beans being one of those pesky things that isn’t really chometz, but is close enough that you’re not supposed to eat it during Passover). I went ahead and used them because the only alternative was 100% dark chocolate, but do you know of brands of chocolate chips that don’t use soy lethicin, or how much sugar I would need to add to the dark chocolate to make it taste like semi-sweet?

  30. peg

    I am so impressed with your courage in messing with it,and having the end product look so good…but even more,your baby looks sweet enough to be a dessert (just a wee nibble). I am really missing my 9 month old granddaughter minnie

  31. Jessica

    Oh my goodness. That boy of yours is the CUTEST! With that hair, those eyelashes, the dimples…..

    He was not the youngest sailor but he must have been the most adorable!

  32. Wow, that looks great.

    I love almonds in dessert: I recently made almond-orange cupcakes based on a recipe in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and I was quite pleased with how they came out. Keep the almond ideas coming!

    And to add to SoupAddict’s comment, I still can’t believe that Gourmet got axed in favor of Bon Appetit. What a shame!

  33. paisleyapron

    I positively teared up when I read that this is gluten-free. You brought a bit of sunshine into this very gloomy day I am having. Cheers!

  34. Joanna

    This torte looks beautiful.Thank you for doing all the recipe tweaking and saving the rest of us a giant headache. So how was it? Was it as good as you thought it’d be?

  35. The young sailor takes First Prize! What a gorgeous smile, happy, happy, happy!

    (much braver than me, I suffer from severe sea sickness and almost jumped into the ocean during a 6 hour trip on a huge ship; just thinking about it makes me queasy)

  36. I saw this in Bon Appetit and thought it looked great. You’ll have to update after you try it, so that we know if it actually does taste like a kit kat.

  37. Susan

    fyi for those who keep strictly K4P, vanilla extract has grain alcohol and therefore is not kosher for Pesach. Vanilla beans are fine, or kosher for P vanilla or vanilla w/out alcohol. sounds yummy, plan to try.

  38. CharlieB

    1. I’m totally making that torte this week
    2. I think my best friend was on the same cruise! What are the odds….
    3. Did I mention that I can’t wait to make that torte?

    Looking forward to the next post!

  39. I was just reading the reviews of this recipe on Epicurious, and apparently a reviewer called Bon Appetit to report a problem with the frosting seizing. Bon Appetit informed the reviewer that there’s a typo in the recipe. They accidentally left out one of the frosting ingredients. It’s supposed to have 1/2 cup warm cream added to the melted chocolate mixture. If it’s not thick enough, add up to 1/4 cup more.

    1. deb

      Re: cream in the frosting — I find that FASCINATING. I’d read the comments about the frosting seizing but mine did not. However, I also used my own approach (treating the syrup as if it were the cream you’d use in a ganache-type frosting, i.e. letting it melt the chocolate) and it worked just fine. I figured that they used a syrup instead of cream to keep the recipe paerve. I honestly think that if you’re trying to keep the recipe dairy-free, there’s no reason to add the cream. However, cream of course makes everything more lush so it’s not like it wouldn’t be good with it too.

      Our verdict — We loved it although it did not taste (exactly) like a Kit-Kat. The layers were softer than I’d expected; much more like large macarons, though looking at the almost-matching ingredients, this shouldn’t have been a surprise. The dessert was a HUGE hit and I understand that I am expected to make it again next year.

      Nonstick spray — Thrilled that some of you have tried this without using an oil spray and found, as was my hunch, that the macaroon will release from the parchment without it. And also spread less. Go intrepid testers!

      Semisweet chocolate — Add another one to the list of befuddling things in the recipe, which insists that you don’t use chocolate more bitter than 61%. I disagree with this, having made it with 61%. Macaroons/macarons are a sweet cookie (though this one is not achingly so, thankfully) and I think a more bitter chocolate would be a wonderful contrast.

      I will update the recipe (er probably tomorrow; it’s very late!) to reflect these notes.

      Kara — I was also convinced that the Bon Appetit photo had been done with all sorts of food photography voodoo as there was no way that it would cut cleanly. But it does! The chocolate is hard but not rock hard. The macaroon layers are not totally shattery, a bit softer. I used a dinky little steak knife. Slicing is not an issue.

      Lydia — Not all semisweet chocolate is dairy.

      FM — Perhaps there’s an edit you think I missed? You’re allowed to say so directly.

  40. jeannie

    This looks really good. I’ve seen a few versions online this week.
    Bon Appetit magazine arrrgghh they lost me when a recipe for pizza asked for CANNED(read Pillsbury) pizza dough. I miss Gourmet magazine How this magazine survives is beyond me.

  41. I’m loving the look of this and it is sooo reassuring to see that even you have occasional struggles in the kitchen! Thanks so much for sharing and showing us that being human is something we all suffer from!

  42. Continuing my comment #65, on the heels of the new info in #85. I’d say leaving out the cream was a critical missing step, as that would’ve avoided the seizing problem for everyone. The magazine is an embarrassment. I recently made one of their lovely-looking tarts that called for, of all things, a nasty, flavorless shortbread tart shell. Instructions were also incorrect, which they would’ve discovered if they had actually tested the recipe.

  43. Ohhhh…..we made meringues today, and would have made macaroons but the power went out! Still, the stickywonderfulyumness of the brown sugar meringues you referred us to in your 17 PASSOVER DESSERTS post are fab.

  44. Allan Goldstein

    Sorry about your unsteadiness. For what it is worth, you may have a condition called mal de barquement. No known remedy, usually self limited. Your caramelized shallots were great with the Seder dinner.


  45. This looks divine. But since I am pregnant and the thought of making this exhausts me, I settled on a kit kat…since this looks like a giant, exquisite kit kat, as you said!

  46. leu2500

    – Ever since I first read Rose Levy Berenbaum’s The Cake Bible I have converted baking recipes to weight. I just turn to the weight page, look up equivalents and use whatever shape almond I have/want to buy when they just get ground up. (with volume measures you do have to have the right shape)

    – Your problems with the recipe. I guess this is where we mourn Gourmet’s passing (all though it had lost relevance quite awhile ago for me). I look to serious food magazines to have solid technique and recipes. Sadly, however, style has overtaken substance, both in print and on TV. (Who is left on Food TV that has a solid technical background? I really miss Sara Moulton.) Dacquoise is a basic building block of the pastry repetoire.

    – Looking at your cake, and reading your troubles, I wanted to be able to give you Julia Child’s recipe for The Los Gato Gateau Cake. It’s from either JC and Company or JC and More Company. 30 years old now. It’s dacquoise, dried apricot filling, and confectioners buttercream. In those pre-parchment paper days she used cookie sheets (preferably nonstick) buttered and floured to bake the dacquoise on. She has a similar cake, in chocolate, in The Way to Cook.

  47. Jill

    Now that you’ve probably had a chance to eat it, does it taste like you thought it would…like a giant Kit Kat bar?? Is it everything you hoped for and more?!?

  48. Kate

    Hi Deb, and Chag Sameach! I made this tonight in preparation for a second-night seder. I tried the sheets both ways: the first batch (alas, I have a tiny oven and only one cookie sheet that fits in!) without oiling the parchment, and the second batch ever-so-lightly spritzed with cooking spray. The first round stayed in place quite nicely, and the second round spread a bit. There wasn’t, however, much difference in the level of difficulty in removing them from the parchment. Ma nishtanah? Nothing! So in my experience, the oil was a bit of a wash. (And, um, I might have tried a piece when I was squaring the edges, and it totally tastes like a kit-kat bar, in all the best ways.) Thanks so much for your awesome site, and moreover for sharing snippets of your life (and wit!) with us. You’re pretty awesome.

  49. FM


    I love your blog and NOBODY comes before Jacob (I don’t care HOW many days younger he claims to be!). But might want to go back and re-read your writing aloud on this one.

  50. Aaron F.

    Gwaaaaa! When I saw that picture, the first thing I thought was, “Damn! A delicious cake recipe just in time for Passover!” Alas, I soon found that I had no excuse not to make it immediately. :)

  51. AlaskaCook


    This recipe looks INCREDIBLE and I can’t wait to make it this weekend for an end-of-season ski party. It took me about 3 re-reads and multiple viewings of your picture to sort out what I think one is supposed to do to get the macaroons started (which may have been what FM was referring to?). It sounds like you flipped over two baking sheets, then drew two 12 x 4 inch rectangles on parchment paper (or whatever equivalent size will fit on the bottom of the flipped baking sheets when accounting for leakage space). Your first paragraph in the “Make macaroons” section isn’t exactly the clearest. Regardless, I love everything I have made from your site and can never wait until you post something new. THANKS!

  52. Jan

    I made this for seder tonight and everyone loved it. I followed theBon Appetit directions and added some orange syrup to the frosting to thin it. The heavy cream, used for a ganache, would have been better. Still the flavor was good and the presentation was pretty.

  53. Louise

    This looks fascinating to try! I have a few recipes that call for an orange syrup and they require that the entire orange be sliced and simmered in sugar and water to get the orange flavour. And orange always works so well with very dark chocolate that I agree with you about possibly using a more bitter chocolate.

  54. Well, you had me at Kit-Kat. I just love Kit-Kat but I just don’t eat it. So, a healthier version of it is really a find. Even if it’s a bitch of a recipe. With your help (all the proper adjustments you made) I’ll tackle it. Another time though, Easter is but days away. Need to bake the traditional stuff first :) Oh and I would leave the orange compote out. Who needs it?

  55. Laura and Dinah

    We are sisters who have come together for Passover this year and made the torte for the first Seder. I have no idea how one might prepare this alone. We divided and conquered by having one hold the ruler as the other spread out the batter! I think it might work in rectangular spring-form pans without too much difficulty.
    AND, we agree that the frosting was too thick. We thinned it out with orange juice, which turned out perfectly and provided more of a Sabra liqueur taste. We thought that the compote really completed the dish. Don’t forget to add the quartered sliced orange pieces about two hours before serving. It was a great hit! Thanks for this blog!

  56. It might all be worth it if it tastes like a Kit Kat bar! That is one of my all time favorites! Thank you for saving the rest of us from having a total kitchen disaster and fixing up the recipe! This is why I prefer to make something that has reviews attached to it. I think some of the recipes online and in magazines sound and look good, but I am not really sure if anyone has truly made them! It is either that or their ovens and tastes are very different!

  57. jeannie

    I don’t really think this is a healthier version of a kit kat bar as Magda mentioned in #107. It contains 2 1/2 cups of almonds and 20 ounces of chocolate- not exactly low fat fair. I might even venture to say that the kit kat is lower in calories because it has so little chocolate coating and no nuts.

    1. deb

      Jeannie — “Healthy” means different things to different people. For some, it’s just the absence of the artificial flavors, stabilizers, preservatives and palm kernel oil (also a trans fat) in the packaged candy bar.

      AlaskaCook — Ah, okay. I have updated the paragraph so hopefully it reads a little more clearly. Thanks.

  58. how was the food on the cruise ship? can you share your thoughts? I’ve been thinking about going on a cruise but want to pick one with above-average cuisine that they don’t nickel-and-dime you for… like part of an all-inclusive package…

    1. deb

      Rachel — I try to put a positive spin on it over here, but no, I cannot say that at least this cruise’s food was anything special. But I don’t think I represent the average food consumer; for example, we’ve got French restaurants all over the city, rich and poor, so a French restaurant on a cruise ship might be set to an unfairly high bar.

  59. jeannie

    You are so right Deb. I wasn’t thinking in those terms when I wrote the comment I guess I’m still mired in the low fat thing and I do believe that it is better to eat something of high quality and natural rather than something lower fat and full of artificial gunk.

  60. Robiin

    Jacob is very yummy, almost as yummy as my grandson (who is the same age and also has a great head of hair, though not curly). And the torte looks great, too. I am a huge fan of Ladure macaroons and this variation on the French macaroon has me drooling. A great excuse to bake during Pesach. Chag Sameah to you and your family.

  61. Laurel

    You’d think Bon Appetit would be more careful when printing these recipes. You suggested exactly what I would. Buy almonds just to grind them? You must be kidding. Oil the parchment? It’s pre-treated. Of course, they may have been concerned that the meringues being so large might stick and crack. However, an icing spatula slid underneath before removing is a lot easier than slippy, greasy layers. BTW, you’re awesome!

  62. Renee C

    Oh, how I wish I’d read about your experience with this cursed recipe before I wasted 2 vanilla beans trying to make it. The merringue layers were almost as thin as crepes. At least, I did not melt the chocolate ahead of time. I will not try this again this year, but perhaps next year.

  63. As a kid, long before I had ever heard of or given thought to trans fat, I fell in love with kit kat bars, prying each layer apart with my front teeth and eating each small layer bite slowly and deliberately. This looks amazing. I still keep thinking about and wanting to make your lemon poppyseed cake that requires bunches of egg yolks, and this looks like a good recipe to make in tandem to use up the egg whites (if I’m up to both at the same time!). Can’t beat that. I keep wanting to tell you how adorable I think Jacob is, so here it is – your baby is ridiculously adorable.

  64. LG

    I am incredibly excited to make this! It sounds like heaven – a giant macaron.
    I plan on using some prune-chocolate-armagnac filling (per David Lebovitz’ chocolate macaron recipe) between the layers and the chocolate frosting on top.
    Thank you Deb!

  65. Jeannie I think Deb said it best but let me tell you, for me healthy does not mean necessarily low-fat. I know almonds are fatty but they’re also full of vitamin E and dietary fibers, and dark chocolate is far healthier than milk chocolate or 50%. Healthy means fresh ingredients, no trans fat in sight, no preservatives and… homemade food. Is there anything better than that? So I prefer eating this recipe right here rather than any type of Kit-Kat thing any day.

  66. Debra Brackman

    Recipe looks fabulous (loving anything almond) but I thought macaroons had coconut…can you educate me please? thanks!

    1. deb

      Debra — I was surprised to learn that while I think of macaroons more commonly being made with coconut and sometimes with almonds, it’s actually the other way around. Almonds are apparently the standard. I guess just not in my household growing up. ;)

  67. I think the coconut and almond are two different things alhogether – the Parisian/French macaron is made with almond (more like a daquoise, meringue with ground nuts folded in) and the American coconut macaroon (more like a haystack cookie with unbeaten egg white binding together shredded/flaked coconut). The latter is always made with coconut (and the frenchie kind is not), as in David Lebowitz’ fabulous “American” macaroon recipe here –
    They are spelled differently (note the extra “o”in the American kind), too. Oh yeah, and the American kind requires less technique, but I love them, especially dipped in chocolate.

  68. For years I’ve been making Pumpkin Flan with Candied Ginger for seder, (we go dairy,) but this torte is the best looking and sounding dessert for a Grand Event. Thanks for getting all the bugs out.

  69. HelenM

    Thought I’d share some random coconut vs almond
    trivia that I stumbled upon by complete coincidence last week. Apparently the crucial difference is between English Macaroons and French Macarons (different spelling intentional)… English Macaroons are coconutty, French Macarons are almond based.

    This recipe looks fabulous…I’m off chocolate until Easter but will definitely be making it after that – chocolate yumminess and almondy macaronny chewy lushness = unattractively dribbling Helen

  70. Rebecca

    hi deb!
    Your blog is my favorite food blog (and you started me on the addiction i now have for food blogs by the way) and although I haven’t made much, what I have made has been awesome.

    So I made this last night for a seder I’m going to tonight, and did do it with the oil spray as I didn’t have any and don’t really like to use it. It works fine, but you have to be careful about the rectangles breaking when you remove the parchment paper (two of my rectangles that were less “well-done” broke). Other than that, I see no problem without it.

    Also, I didn’t have enough frosting to cover the sides of the torte. It was super thick and so perhaps I had too much chocolate for the syrup (I was estimating a little on the amount of chocolate and it took longer to melt)? And I made it with a combination of semi and bitter-sweet chocolate. I’ll let you know how it turned out tonight!

  71. Megan from Seattle

    Deb – this is great! I saw this recipe in Bon Apetit a week ago and really wanted to make this for Easter, but was totally confused after I read it. I will definitely make it your way! Thank-goodness for you or I would have never tried this.

  72. Anne
    Is there any reason to blanch the almonds before grinding them? I have a prevailing stash of unblanched almonds from Costco for snacking. Can I use them after grinding in the Cuisinart? I am delighted to see someone who knows how to cook analyze some of these ridiculous recipes. Steps must be taken in order, something often ignored.

  73. Ginny

    What a fantastic post! I’m drooling over everything – your picture of the city is amazing and Jacob and the torte both look so edible. Happy festive season to you and yours. xx Ginny, NZ.

  74. Debra

    I love all of your recipes. I thought you might be interested in a dessert on Epicurious called ‘Coconut-Chocolate Marjolaine’. It seems like sort of a variation of this recipe. It’s really, really delicious and fun to make.

  75. Heena

    I have a “celebrate spring” potluck picnic lunch coming up, and now I know what I’m bringing :)
    What do you think of alternating layers of chocolate frosting and salted caramel?

  76. grace

    mine were done in 26 minutes. i didn’t use cooking spray and flipped them over to over-so-gently peel the parchment off the backsides when they were COOL. flawless. also whipped up a little lemon curd with the excess yolks.

  77. grace

    one more thing – if i made this again, i’d cut down on the sugar. very rich and chewy and delicious, but a little much given all the sugar in the chocolate (60%) frosting.

  78. Symphonic Chef

    Hi Deb,
    Now that you’re back from your trip, can I just take a sec to say how AMAZING you are? I was so impressed that the awesome recipes kept popping up while you were away…. this means you had them all prepared ahead of time, somehow? Seriously, that was pure awesomeness and as a Smitten Kitchen junkie, I really appreciated it. Above + beyond…. Thanks!

  79. Thank GOD I am not the only who has a hard time following a recipe now and then! Now – onto this DELISH looking dessert..if only it were calorie free I’d be making it tonight..but with about a week left of this diet, I will have to wait. I bet gaining the weight back never tasted so good!

  80. CathiO

    Giant KitKat? I’m SO making these.
    I’m curious about forming the rectangles:
    1) if these cut easily, could you just make a whole sheet tray then cut in half?
    2) Mindful of the lines, could you put this in a pastry bag to outline, then fill in the rectangle?

  81. Sigrid

    And now she’s making her own KitKat bars …

    Could you please PLEASE give us more salads, chicken, lean cuisine? We’re on a diet here! Do to a chicken the wonderful things you do to tarts, puddings and cakes and I won’t have to delete you from my blog-feed!

    Kitkat bars, I don’t believe it. What’s next, M&Ms?

  82. K

    I usually don’t comment until after I’ve made a dish, but I’m looking forward to making this dessert for Easter lunch this weekend!
    @156 Sigrid: there are MANY other resources for healthy recipes online – not every site needs to focus on ‘lean cuisine’ because you are on a diet. I love to balance my salads and vegetables with Deb’s more decadent recipes. Smitten Kitchen is the first place I go for ideas, thanks Deb.

  83. Laurel

    I woke up laughing this morning because of you. It just struck me. Passover, we eat Matzoh because there wasn’t time to let the bread leaven. So what does Deb do? Make the most impossible TIME CONSUMING thing she can think of. Can you imagine Jews in the desert with all those egg whites, grinding almonds?

    1. deb

      Laurel — I’ve always found it remarkable that on Passover, so much effort is made to turn ground matzo bake into leavened goods. It greatly befuddles me.

      I’m pretty sure its not just me, however, making things time-consuming as I can’t imagine most seder guests would be amused to only eat things that had been made in the time people could hastily exit a desert.

      Cathio — It’s actually not the easiest thing to cut the macaroons — they wish to crumble, you have to be very careful so I’d make them again in four parts. Trimming only what is needed (hopefully less or almost nothing if the parchment isn’t sprayed with oil, causing them to spread). I did consider using a pastry bag — no reason not to — but found a spoon worked just fine.

      Sigrid — The previous recipe on this site is for Baked Kale Chips. The archives are teeming with hundreds of salads and vegetarian dishes. I generally follow a pattern of alternating sweet and savory dishes on the site, so I’m not sure how a torte recipe as the most recent post would preclude anyone’s ability to keep to a regimen.

  84. Tiny Kitchen

    This is the Passover recipe I have been waiting for. I am a huge fan of French macarons but never make them for Passover because everyone always sails right past the macaroon/chocolate platter and straight for the main-event flourless cake. It seems such a waste to exert such effort to make macarons nobody will eat. But this is essentially a chocolate-dipped macaron cake! Perfection! If only I didn’t have to wait 364 days (or the equivalent on the Hebrew calendar).

    Also, thank you for giving measurements in weight. The more I bake, the more I like weight measurements. Keep them coming!

  85. Weronikiwi

    It looks “splendid” or “sinful”, or both, I can’t make my mind. I’m afraid I should get the acces to your blog blocked when I’m on a diet.

  86. Jennie

    Someone may already have said, but you’re right to think that slivered almonds are unnecessary. It’s purely cosmetic. You can use blanched almonds if you really want that smooth white appearance, or you can use natural almonds if you don’t mind a speckled look.

    And I agree with not greasing the parchment.

  87. I am planning to make this for Easter, for my non-gluten, non-dairy eating family members, but I was just wondering if by reversing the sheets you actually mean just putting the tray from the top rack onto the bottom rack and vice versa, or actually flipping the trays over as you show in the picture? Actually shifting the macaroon layers on the parchment paper to a flipped over tray sounds scary for me, as I have this pesky habit of flipping things onto the floor… :(

  88. Jen

    Sounds yummy! Try wearing the seasickness patches if you’re still feeling bad. On our last cruise I felt great on the boat but awful once we came home!

  89. Leigh

    Did this survive long enough in anyone’s kitchen for someone to guess how long it would keep? I’m making it today (Wed) for a welcome home surprise but thought I could make another today for Easter on Sunday (or potentially just make 8 small macaron layers rather than 4 big ones and make it into 2 smaller tortes). Think it would freeze okay? Any advice appreciated!

    1. deb

      Leigh — Mine is on day 3.5 and it’s just fine. Though the chocolate is getting more brittle.

      Kimberly — Reversing the sheets is in the oven. In a footnote, I mention that I flipped my pans but don’t actually recommend it. (This was to keep them from hitting the walls of the inside of the pan, not because of the “reversing” step.)

  90. Dana

    This looks amazing! I am going to try it with ground hazelnuts, though, instead of almond flour – hoping for a nutella-like dessert. This, along with the mixed berry pavlova and chocolate idiot cake will finish off our matzoh-pizza/”flatbread” passover party on saturday. Will report back on how the hazelnuts work.

  91. Nadia

    Beautiful torte, even more beautiful baby! And having read Rachelino’s mini-tutorial on American vs French macaro(o)ns, I began to hope hat SK might attempt the French version at some point. Dorie Greenspan doesn’t even include a recipe for them in her “Paris Sweets”, writing that “…. the fame and fortunes of patisseries have risen and fallen on the quality of their macaroons. Unfortunately for us, real French macarons are hard to find in America and difficult to make at home.” I guess it’s yet another recipe needing a gazillion tweaks!

  92. I came for the torte as I was researching a much needed “wow” dessert for a friend “no cake for me please) birthday party! This cake is perfect, but the story of the cruise was a fun bonus. GREG

  93. Joe Pastry just did a marjolaine tutorial last week! Scroll down past the baklava. He’s got two kinds of layers, one sponge & one meringue; both have flour. In both cases he bakes in a single sheet, then cuts into layers. Those of you who like thorough, detailed, step-by-step explanations should def. check him out. (He has at least one cute daughter but she doesn’t turn up all that often.)

  94. Leigh

    I finished making this and had some notes – I did not spray the parchment b/c I didn’t have any around, and thought they would probably come off fine given Kate’s experiment. However, they most definitely didn’t. It wasn’t a disaster by any means, but it required at least 15 minutes of careful peeling, prodding, and lifting with sharp knife tip. Became more difficult as they cooled, and the soft underbellies definitely got tweaked. I was using Whole Foods “Natural Parchment Paper”.
    Second, I ended up making another 1/2 cup of the water/sugar mixture for the frosting b/c it was crazy fast-drying and seizing like cement. After the second 1/2 cup it was a perfect ganache.
    I used 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips and 8 oz 72% dark chocolate. Turned out well, but I don’t think I would want to go entirely with the 72%.
    Thanks for this!

  95. Paula Globerman

    My friend Susan and I made this for our seder and it was just wonderful.The best Pesach dessert.Even our pesach-phobic teenagers loved it.We did the chocolate with a half cup of cream and the orange syrup.Yum Yum.No trouble with removing the macaroons from unsprayed parchment paper.It serves a big crowd because a small piece goes a long way. We also served the oranges in syrup and it was nice together.This is a keeper and would be nice any time.

  96. Aubrey

    gorgeous torte–i might have to try that out on my french host family (i’m an au pair near paris.) i’m pretty sure they would get the macaron similarities more than the kit-kat!

    nadia: david lebovitz has several french macaron recipes on his website. and he recommends pierre herme’s macaron book as the definitive word on the subject. either way, though, they are going to be somewhat of an endeavor.

  97. cjw

    Oh, this looks delicious. I think I might have to try this on a day I’m feeling ambitious and full of self-esteem about my cooking ability!

    As to FM: It says another baby had to “seal” this thunder. Which I only noticed because I was curious and went back. :)

  98. Helen

    I’d like to know when your book is coming out. You must have one in the works and I want a copy when it does! You make such good home cooked food – I want to eat the pictures!

  99. Elizabeth

    Made this for our seder. Holy Toledo, it’s better than I imagined. I keep thinking about the left overs… in the kitchen… all alone… calling to me. Fantastic!

  100. Andrea

    I’m not too sure if I messed something up, but I made this lovely torte today, and my frosting was not at all as it should have been. In fact, as one poster already wrote, it turned out like fast drying cement. The more I stirred, the tougher it got. In the end, I ditched the icing and made a mocha buttercream that worked out beautifully, but I was disappointed in the chocolate. I did follow the recipe exactly. I did use 1/2 c of sugar and not 12 cups!
    Anyone have any ideas on what the heck could have caused my icing disaster??

  101. paula

    I made this for Easter dessert and had the same icing seizing problems others reported. It was difficult to spread, and the layers turned to solid chocolate bars when the whole thing was done. Still delicious, but not the right effect for this dessert. I’ll try adding cream next time, per the Epicurious fix. A couple of other notes: 10 tbsp equals about 1/2 cup. Why on earth would the recipe say “take 10 tbsp of the mixture” instead of 1/2 cup? Goofy and unnecessarily time consuming. Second, I think the amount of chocolate overwhelms the AMAZING flavor of the macaron layers. Next time I’ll spread only a very thin layer of (hopefully creamier) chocolate between each of the macaron layers. Third, I didn’t use oil on the parchment and it was fine. But I will say, you might want to pull them out of the oven before the middle reaches an “almost firm” consistency. It will dry out more once you remove it from the oven, and my macarons were a bit too crispy. It took 25 minutes total in my oven.

  102. In addition to the brisket, I made this torte for Easter dinner with friends yesterday. I did not use oil on the parchment. Rather than 4 individual rectangles, I made 2 12″x8″ rectangles with a mark down the middle, which I used as a guide to cut. I used the almond flour from Trader Joe’s, which has the brown bits of skin in it, and I don’t think it negatively affected the flavor.

    I did run into problems with the frosting. I was hesitant to add chocolate to water as I have always been taught chocolate and water don’t mix as a cardinal rule, but it SEEMED to work out… until it didn’t. I got it assembled and was working on the outside when the frosting got all clumpy and wouldn’t spread very well (Is ‘seized’ a more succinct description?). Then I tried to microwave it. DON’T MICROWAVE IT. Mine got all bubbly and cooked-looking: not good for presentation. In the end I melted some chocolate and covered the whole thing, leaving one half of it with about twice as much of an outside shell, but no one complained. Instead of slivered almonds on the edges I opted for a simple line of ’em along the middle third on top of the torte.

    1. deb

      I’m bummed to hear that a few of you had seizing problems with the frosting. I’d seen many people complain of this on the Epicurious version of the recipe, but since I a) used a different approach and b) didn’t run into anything of the sort myself, I figured the issue had taken care of itself. I wish I knew why this was happening to some and not others…

      1. Emma

        i made this tonight for my weekend seder and had the same issue. i used a combo of local chocolate (i live in vietnam) of varying percentages from 68-74. i also wound up using the whole amount of sugar syrup, and after resting, it looked liquid-y, but then rapidly turned into a near play-doh consistency. i actually wound up using my fingers to press pieces into place around the outside edges, and then used a ravioli press to make a fancy pattern on the top! hehe.

        maybe it’s got something to do with the chocolate itself and variations in bars??

  103. pilar

    Hi Deb! l made this last week, it was great , only problem I had was with the layers I baked on parchment paper!! it was so hard to peel paper off!! fortunately I baked 2 layers on silicone mat since I wanted to try which one would work better! last method worked out perfectly, no sticky , no mess!! Definitively next time will only use silicone mat!! thanks for your lovely posts!

  104. I made this for Easter yesterday and it was very well-liked! I had no problem with the parchment paper, although next time I’d like just use my silicone mats. I did have a slight problem folding my ground almonds into my merengue, only because I ground them in the blender and forgot to crumble up the bigger bits and sort of “over-folded” my merengue in order to break up some of the almond clumps, so some of my merengue layers weren’t as fluffy as they were supposed to be.

    I served mine with mandarin orange slices to break up the richness a bit and it tasted great! Thank you so much for your blog and your recipe simplifications!

  105. LeahZ

    I made this yesterday and had the frosting “issue”. I globbed the chocolate on and after working with it for awhile it did smooth out surprisingly well, but it was really thick. Getting the almonds to stick to the side did not work. I figured I had a problem since I did not use a particularly high quality chocolate.

  106. I made this dessert over this past weekend I have to say that I was not too excited about my results. The chocolate was too bitter and hardened too much that when we tried to cut the torte, it fell apart. I agree with another commentator above that I might have to add all the syrup to the chocolate. The chocolate was also too bitter and not sweet enough. Maybe adding more of the sugar would help. My almond macaroons were too dry, I might have left them in the oven for too long… or maybe I added to much crushed almonds. Who knows. It definitely has a lot of potential and it is a pretty looking dessert. Like my grandma said to me “I only like to make things that look pretty.” I am not particularly like that but I do think that if it looks pretty, it has a bigger chance of tasting pretty. Take a look at my post:
    On a side note, Deb, I love your posts and I am a number one fan wanting to be like you!

  107. lynda barack

    i made this dessert during passover for family and it was very well received, esp once people were assured it did not involve matzah in any way.

  108. chicagomaria

    I always visit your blog but never post. I was excited to try this, because my sweet tooth has been calling out to me, and the pictures looked great. I’ve also been a sucker for those trendy Euro-style macaroons popping up in bakeries. (This copyeditor’s take: “Macaroon” is an English word; “macaron” is French. There are American macaroons [those coconut concoctions] and there are French macaroons. I won’t call French-style macaroons “macarons” unless I’m in France.)

    When I tried this recipe, the chocolate siezed. It barely sticks the separate pieces of macaroon torte together, in fact. The edges of my macaroon layers were very crisp and shattered when I sliced the torte. I created quite the mess. I know I’m not a skilled baker. I guess I’ll have to go back to admiring your prose and photos … for a while, anyway. Maybe I’ll regather my courage with a simpler recipe. ;)

    1. deb

      Yikes, more chocolate sezing. And I had a lovely, velvety smooth ganache! If yours seized, can you tell me what kind of chocolate you used? Maybe there’s something in that.

  109. paula

    Jen, I used Ghirardelli (60%) and had the seizing problem. What kind of chocolate did YOU use? (Did you post that already? Sorry if you did.)

  110. Heena

    I made this for a picnic and it was wonderful – not a piece left. Thanks Deb!
    (Scared off by all the seizing comments, I used traditional ganache (chocolate+cream) and it worked beautifully. Also alternated the chocolate with salted caramel in the layers and it was totally addictive.)

  111. Bambi

    Thanks for this!! I’ve been following your blog the last few weeks, but this is the first thing I’ve tried from it, and I just made it this morning. My boyfriend (who’s a chef) kept trying to meddle, but I didn’t even need his help for this one!
    I actually used brown sugar as I ran out of white and it still turned out beautifully.
    The taste test sadly has to wait till tonight, but so far, so good.

    Re: the parchment/oil issue, it may depend on what kind of parchment you use. The paper here in Australia did stick a bit, but a little helpful shaking got the macaroon off with only a small measly break in one layer. Still, I may use the oil next time.

    And Re: the chocolate issue, I used restaurant grade 61% french chocolate and made this exactly as you said- it tastes wonderful (from my licking the bowl that is!) and I think it will work quite well with the macaroons, and it didn’t sieze.

  112. Diane

    My chocolate seized as well, and I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate. It’s recoverable as long as you add just a touch more liquid afterwards and stir. I find that heat also helps to soften it again, though that doesn’t always work.

  113. rachael

    Well, I can say it tasted great, but I had a terrible, terrible time with the paper. It totally stuck, so I ended up resigning myself to consuming paper with my dessert AND it STILL spread all over the paper despite my NOT spraying the paper with oil. Rats and a half. I think I’d rather use very shallow baking trays…do they exist? And yes, the chocolate frosting got too thick and helped tear the already broken layers (from hacking at the paper) but I used plain old Nestle semi-sweet chips. I think my liquid/choc chip ratio was off, and I made it too early. It cooled down completely. I’m sad, but will attempt again.

  114. I want to try this so much! and your kale chips! yum!

    your photographs are terrific. great wide angle on the bridge and cruise ship. what camera and lens do you use? thanks!

  115. MHS

    First – I LOVE your blog. I haven’t commented before – but I have lots to say about this one – so I decided it’s time.
    This was AMAZING! Asides from tasting delicious it looks so darn impressive, I could barely stop complementing myself in front of my guests. But here are a couple things I’ve noticed:
    First, regarding the cooking spray – I didn’t use it and here’s what happened: two of them – when I took them out of the oven were quite brown and crispy around the edges, and the other two were a light gold and firm in the center but didn’t get the crispy edges. The ones with the crispy edges came off without any trouble at all. The others were a bit of a problem. So I think the moral of the story is, if you don’t use cooking spray – make sure they’re really well baked before you take them out.
    Second, I had some chocolate seizing trouble too – which was mostly taken care of with some whole milk added (though for some reason that seemed to make it kind of lumpy and difficult to frost the sides – I think next time I’d just stick to more of the syrup).
    Third, I think using very bitter chocolate would not be a good idea with this kind of frosting. Reason is – the almondy part is SO good, and even with a mere 60% chocolate, and being a huge chocolate fan myself, I found myself wanting to taste more almond and less chocolate. I think the thickness of the frosting also contributes to its being a bit overpowering of the more subtle almondy flavors.
    Finally, although this doesn’t HAVE to be refrigerated, I liked it much better refrigerated. Don’t know why – but the flavors seemed to work better when the dessert was cold.
    That’s all – and thanks again for your awesome blog!

  116. The macaroon was great, but the chocolate and I also had issues. I used chocolate chips as my chocolate. I did put orange extract in as flavoring. I wound up using all of my syrup. It quickly got too stiff to spread. I think if I were doing this again, I might throw in a touch of corn syrup? I dunno. To salvage for a dinner party tomorrow night, I think I’m going to wind up throwing a layer of storebought chocolate frosting on top to pretty it up.

  117. Madeline

    I started this at 9pm last night after my baby went to sleep, and I was completely finished by 11. And that includes a half hour of sitting on the couch whining about being tired! I was pretty intimidated by this recipe because I am not used to working with eggs ( I am lactose intolerant and most of my baking ends up vegan), macarons are scary, and after bed time I usually tip toe fearfully around the kitchen for so much as a glass of water.

    I had the same issue as MHS with my macarons sticking, I ended up scraping those 2 pieces off the parchment with a knife and using them as middle layers. Because of the sticking I didn’t trim them down into neat, even rectangles so I put my almonds on top because of the jagged sides. Has a more home made look to it but turned out pretty cute! I used E. Guittard chocolate and had no problem. Now I just have to wait until dessert… this may be the hardest part. Thank you so much for all the hard work you put into this recipe!

  118. Rebecca

    I was having a crazy amount of trouble with the frosting, but then I added a half cup of water and heated it up. It worked perfectly and it looks beautiful

  119. Knoh

    My frosting was definitely too stiff, and I was considering giving up on the “dairy-free-ness” of this recipe to go with a more traditional ganache. But instead I’ll try Rebecca’s trick of extra water. The macarons turned out beautifully, and I may try going without the frosting on the sides for a less polished look. Great recipe and thanks to all the commenters for the great tips!

  120. i made this today substituting pecans for almonds, and it was great. stacked the layers with whipped cream and your ridiculously easy butterscotch sauce. sooo good!

  121. Sengkelat

    I’m a little unsure how one can take 10 tbsp from 1/2 cup of sugar water and discard the rest. 10 tbsp is MORE than 1/2 cup. Did you mean teaspoons? Or more than 1/2 cup water?

  122. Sengkelat

    I ignored the pointless step of removing all the syrup from the pan tablespoon by tablespoon then adding it back; I just dumped the chocolate in and stirred.
    The frosting was a good consistency and I had no problems with seizing, using Guittard 60% cacao chips. I added orange extract before boiling per the instructions, but all the flavor seems to have boiled off. I expect adding the extract after boiling would work much better.

    Also, I used insulated trays for the macaroons which meant the tops got very brown but the bottoms were wet and sticky; I had to de-paper them, flip them and bake them some more. My mistake using insulated trays.

    It turned out very pretty
    but it seems like it’s going to be pretty bland.

  123. Sarah B

    I’m serving this tomorrow night; I can’t wait to try it. The teeny pieces I trimmed off the layers taste amazing and my apartment smells amazing. Thank you!

  124. Sengkelat

    I always thought dissolved sugar didn’t add to volume. Perhaps my grade school science teacher was wrong. I’ll experiment and see for myself.

    Thanks, by the way, for such an attractive dairy and gluten free recipe; before finding it I was at a bit of a loss for what to make for highly allergic friends; all my dessert standbys are full of flour and butter.

  125. Sengkelat

    Um, not that you didn’t know this, Deb, but you’re totally right. My mind is blown.

    Now I just need to figure out something yummy to do with 190 ml of simple syrup.

    1. deb

      I was going to say that I hadn’t believed it would happen either but I measured it when I made this (but it sounded argumentative, which, eh…). I think that sugar becomes a liquid upon hitting heat (i.e. it also adds moisture, not just sweetness, to baked goods as evidenced by cakes with reduced sugar that seem dry). Anyway, simple syrup is great for natural sodas, lemonade and cocktails (and cocktails with natural soda and/or lemonade!).

  126. Sarah B

    Regarding spraying the parchment paper:

    I didn’t and I had no problem.

    Once they were completely cool, I cut each piece of parchment in half (between the layers), flipped the four pieces over and peeled the paper back.

  127. Kristin

    I just made this beautiful torte but wished I had read the comments first. My macaroon layers came out great but my chocolate seized! I used 3/4 Ghiradelli bittersweet chips and 1/4 Ikea dark chocolate. I suspect the chips are the culprit in the seizing. Don’t they add something to the chips to help them maintain their shape when heated?

  128. Aly

    Made this yesterday for a birthday celebration tonight, looks great. I found putting the batter in a ziploc and piping it onto the stencils worked really well.

  129. Made this today for my birthday cake—I didn’t spray the parchment paper and it was fine! I also cut my final macaroons down to 9″ due to my lack of a long platter and ended up making another layer out of the end pieces (this left me slightly short on frosting though!). I also added really pretty heart shapes on top of the final cake by making a cutout of parchment paper and sprinkling crushed slivered almonds into the holes…this turned out quite lovely. (There are photos on my blog of the hearts).
    Another thought–as the macaroons fit into the rectangle “stencil”, could this perhaps be made into any other shape (hearts, stars, etc)? Thanks again for such a great recipe Deb!

  130. Tamar

    Chag Sameach, Deb! I bookmarked this recipe ages ago and made it today for the Seder tomorrow. A few notes I had that might be helpful, even if this recipe is two years old:
    – I took to Kate’s advice and did not spray the parchment. This had mixed results – 3 of the layers peeled off easily, the fourth did not. It broke into a few pieces, but luckily this is easily covered up in the assembly.
    – My family does not keep kosher as for dairy/meat so I could have made this with cream – but alas, I only saw the comment now, after finishing. So while mine is paerve, unnecessarily so, I believe I could have had an easier time with cream.
    – And lastly, my frosting was extremely difficult to maneuver – I used 10 oz. Fruibel 74%, and 10 oz. Fruibel 57%. It spread wonderfully at first, but as I went to frost the whole thing it had cooled down to an almost chocolate-spread-like consistency, far too hard for the delicate macaron layers to handle. As a result, my dessert looks a tad messy – especially the sides, which were already crumbly from the trimming – but I’ll fix it up tomorrow with some ganache all over, and then the toasted almonds. I can not wait to try it!

  131. Well, I made it! With raspberry preserves added. My chocolate frosting was also too thick and lumpifying to spread well, and at each layer I added (thanks to ideas above) more simple syrup, tiny dabs of butter, and finally a little milk. It is decidedly raggedy but still Fancy. Now, can I get it from Brooklyn to our seder in Union Square without destroying it?

    Oh, the layers came off my one silicone sheet easily; the other pan, with parchment, stuck a bit. I removed them while the layers were still warm and flexible, and the one that really fell to bits is hidden away inside the cake.

    Better get on the road.

  132. artemis

    I made this for our seder too–a huge hit! I baked on ungreased parchment and had no problems…slid right off. My chocolate did seize so I took the advice above and added a half cup of cream, setting it briefly back on the stove to warm, which did the trick. Nice and spreadable ganache that firmed up beautifully after half an hour or so. I used a pretty freeform approach to the macaroons and just guesstimated four roughly equal rectangles, mainly because I was trying to do some of this with a five-month-old in my other arm. Not ideal but totally workable if you’re short on time or arms. Overall, a fantastic cake that’s going on our (very short) go-to Pesach dessert list–thanks!

  133. Keren

    Not to sound smug, but I made this for second Seder and it was UH-MAZING. I made a few modifications (used half and half instead of water in the frosting, made about 1/5 of it using milk chococolate for a “surprise” middle layer, put down a bottom layer of chocolate under the first macaroon layer so it was truly encased, used brickled slivered almonds for the outside) and took a few shortcuts (used almond meal from TJ’s, microwaved the frosting, did it all a week ago, then wrapped it and shoved it in the freezer). And it was perfect. Rich and sweet, but not overly so due to the (relative) lightness of the macaroon layers. All I’d change in the future is to toast the almond meal before making the macaroons, just to add a bit of roasty nut flavor.

    I didn’t use any grease on the parchment. No problems. I did burn one of the sets of macaroons on the first try, though–gotta watch them carefully, and in my oven anyway, bake them on the top level.

    It cuts and serves beautifully, by the way–looks professional, and kept so well between baking and serving. Another SK hit! Thanks, Deb!

  134. I made this twice last week- the first was a test run before my wife and I hosted our parents for Passover. The first time through I followed the recipe very closely and while it turned out totally delicious and was consumed within hours of being done, I had trouble with my chocolate seizing, my macaroons stuck to the parchment (and I think I didn’t beat the whites enough, and might have overcooked them, cuz they cracked and crumbled), and personally, I thought the whole thing was too rich(was almost assuredly my choice of 54% cacao).
    So the second time, I made a few changes: First, I poured the macaroon batter onto a piece of greased parchment in one sheet. That way, I slid it off onto a cutting board, but my first desired wafer, then was able to identically match each one after with my “template,” no ruler needed. Second, I used just a scosh less sugar in the macaroon. Third, I beat the eggs better, much, much stiffer, which created a better macaroon. Fourth, I used 75% cacao, which complimented the almond macaroon much better and wasn’t too sweet.
    My parents couldn’t believe their eyes with this torte. The phone call I received the next day contained words like “unbelievable” and “professional.”
    Thanks, Deb!

  135. Julie B

    Made this for Valentine’s Day–I just discovered you and your book. I wish I’d read the posts also since my frosting seized. I didn’t think of adding more milk until the topping layer. We may just eat the last layer of macaron with frosting and almonds. I also like the idea of cutting all of the layers when it comes out of the oven since I’m not good at staying in the lines.

  136. Bunny

    Hey Deb!
    So, just started thinking about passover desserts, and saw this marvelous creature. It looks divine!
    About the frosting: Nigella has a Devil’s Food Cake recipe, where she boils sugar, butter and water until the sugar dissolves, turns off the heat and adds dark chocolate. I’ve made that recipe numerous times and found that when I let the syrup get too hot- it seizes the chocolate. So maybe the best thing would be to place the chocolate in one bowl, make the syrup in another, and then pouring/placing the needed amount of syrup into the chocolate bowl? Chocolate doesn’t need intense heat so maybe this will suffice to melt it?

  137. Patty

    Can you explain why almond paste is not used or preferred over grinding the almonds? It seems so much easier to me but I am wondering if that just means I am a very unsophisticated cook?

    1. deb

      Patty — Almond paste is more expensive, quite sweet and not easy for everyone to get. In recipes, I generally prefer to start people with raw ingredients that everyone can get or has around. It’s not about sophistication!

  138. Charlotte

    I made your macaron cake layers this weekend for a chocolate mousse-layered cake, and it came out delicious! Brilliant advice about slipping parchment paper under the cake before layering to keep the platter clean. Also, I didn’t use spray, and I just flipped over the cake and peeled the parchment paper off without any trouble.

    I also used a second piece of parchment paper over the drawn ones before baking and then removed the lined parchment paper, so I can reuse the drawn rectangles when I make this cake again for a friend’s birthday. Love, love, love your blog.

  139. Charlotte

    Oh, also on the chocolate seizing comments–that’s happened to me before when the chocolate got too hot. I’ve recently figured out that to avoid that, you just need to make sure the pot isn’t touching the water in the bain marie/double boiler.

  140. Heather

    I made this yesterday for a dinner party and had no troubles with the frosting so thought I would share. I used Ghirardelli 61% chocolate chips, followed the recipe exactly except for adding an extra teaspoon of simple syrup at the end. It was very thick but it spread pretty easily with a spatula and the end result was great! Everyone said it looked like a professional chef made it and it tasted yummy. It was a little rich though, I think my taste buds would prefer darker chocolate next time. Thanks Deb!

  141. Sally

    Amazing. Best dessert ever, but my frosting also seized. Why the simple syrup, Deb? Why not cream? My frosting seizure was most definitely heat related. No matter. Just slapped some almonds on the top too and all was lovely. I would recommend rotating baking trays to get the cookies to cook evenly. I had some crispy and some softer. Also no matter, in the end, really. This was a big hit, a fancy cake…it has it all.

  142. noemi

    Just made this, my frosting also seized. I “saved” it by adding milk, which resulted in a lumpy chocolate sauce which I then just spooned over the layers. Mine does not look like the picture, since I can not frost the sides with chocolate sauce, ha. It still looks pretty tasty, but I am going to have to call it “Chunky Chocolate Almond Macaroon Torte”. As long as it passes the taste test tomorrow for Easter brunch, I don’t care how it looks.

  143. Cindy

    Having recently found smitten kitchen a few months ago, I have made several recipes, either straight as is or tweaked in my own fashion. I made this recipe for Thanksgiving “as is”, and then again two days later for a birthday party (at the request of a Thanksgiving attendee, who has always been a strict chocolate-with-white-buttercream frosting guy!) First time used semi sweet chocolate, second time bittersweet. All agreed both were fantastic, and split pretty evenly over preference for semi or bittersweet! Will be making it again this weekend for one of the bittersweet preferring gals. I had no problem with seizing, I used almond flour and egg whites from a container, and I did spray my parchment w/out any resulting problems. Goes together easily, looks and tastes fab! I will try toasting the almond flour as per another reviewer for yet another version of this great dessert.

  144. Sarah

    Deb, I must say that I truly love your blog. I have been following it since 2008 and you really have never let me down with any recipes. That being said, this recipe is one of my biggest hits. I have been making it for the past four years for Passover and everyone goes crazy over it. This year as I was reading over the recipe I realized that I’ve been reading one bing wrong- I thought that I must use a minimum of 60% chocolate. I like to use the 72% chocolate to create a nice contrast from the macaron’s sweetness. Also recently I made a new addition of mocha cream frosting between the layers and the combination is heavenly. Either way, thank you for your many different never-fail recipes :)

  145. Louise

    Deb – I’m always looking for a good parve chocolate frosting that does not use cream or butter so I don’t have to sub ingredients with fake stuff. This looks like it could be used on cakes and cupcakes – what are your thoughts ?? Thanks

  146. Zelda

    I made this and was unimpressed. The frosting tasted just like ganache, so I don’t understand the need to deal with the water and sugar. Unless, as you mentioned, they were trying to keep it dairy free (that doesn’t seem to be the case, since they now say there’s a typo). Also, I made the mistake of making the frosting first and then the macaroons. By the time the macaroons were done the frosting had thickened and seized. I was able to use it, but the next day the frosting was discolored (thankfully it was nice for the Seder!). Even if everything had gone perfectly, there was just too much frosting. I like rich desserts, but this was just too much. A couple of years ago I made my own similar combination of meringue and ganache, but since the meringues were larger and fluffier, and I used less ganache, it was more palatable. I think this torte would be great with a lighter frosting on the inside and ganache on the outside.

    Btw, I love this blog and have made several excellent, successful recipes that I found here.

  147. Jennifer

    I made this last night for my sister’s birthday today. I’m eager to try it. I had to trim a little bit and those bits were delicious. But I definitely did not have nearly enough frosting to cover the sides and barely enough for between the layers. I ended up leaving the sides bare and sprinkling the toasted almonds on the top. Has anyone else had this problem?

  148. Made this for my Seder and it was a huge hit! A random suggestion: I measured the rectangles out on parchment but then had trouble seeing my pencil lines when I flipped the parchment over. Here’s a solution—use a chocolate bar as a crayon and draw the lines in chocolate. Easy to see and no need to flip! Thanks for a great recipe, as always!

  149. Sylvia

    I’ve been wanting to make this for years! I saw this question a few times but couldn’t find an answer: can I use almond flour instead of almond meal and instead of processing my own almonds? Thanks!!

  150. Agnieszka

    Another great cake. I made this on Sat morning to serve for dinner in the evening. My form of the macaroons wasn’t very even (but I didn’t bother with drawing the size as I used silicon sheets), but I didn’t want to cut it up to make it perfect, so after layering I just spread the chocolate on top and put almond slices on top. Everyone thought it was very pretty. I had no issues with the chocolate spreading. However, the 1/2 cup of syrup wasn’t enough for me to melt all this chocolate (I only used 400 g and not the recommended amount, which was plenty enough). So I mixed the chocolate over bain-marie and had no issues. The first day the chocolate looked dark and pretty. The next day it started to look bit white, but it still tastes good after 3 days.
    I wasn’t able to cut it up in pretty slices, but my friend did it without an issue, so maybe it was just me (we used a knife that we dipped in hot water).

  151. Rebecca F

    Could I make this a week ahead and freeze it? I’m going out of town 4 days before this cake is needed and I’m wondering if I can make it ahead, wrap it and freeze. Would this affect the texture of the macaroon layers negatively?

  152. Eliza

    I made this and it was ok. I think I beat the eggs till they were stiff and dry and then I likely was too aggressive in my folding but… it’s still a good cake. Very heavy on the chocolate, which isnt really frosting but semi-firm chocolate. i dont think I would make it again but I am glad that I made it once.

  153. Elana

    I made this! It looked beautiful and impressive. From a taste standpoint, I thought it tasted pretty good, but i think next time I’d throw in a contrasting flavor layer like a raspberry jam, as it was a fairly rich chocolate/almond cake. The icing, as described, didn’t have the right consistency for me. I threw in about a 1/4 cup of whipping cream and it smoothed out and looked great!
    Thanks for this recipe!

  154. Mary B

    I made this for my husband’s birthday yesterday and we all really liked it. Given various commenters’ misgivings about the frosting, I ended up making my own from a recipe that I really like. I also put blackberry jam between two layers. I would definitely make again. i really appreciated that it was GF and DF!

  155. Maraha.K

    I tried this and the macaroons didn’t turn out for me. I think my food processor wasn’t strong enough to grind the almonds fine enough. The macaroons were sticky and breaking apart after being baked and cooled.
    Nevertheless, I layered them in a dish with the dark chocolate frosting and some whipped cream and it was delicious!

  156. Jackie

    I’m revisiting this recipe after I last made in TEN years ago. And remarking on your little baby whose no longer a baby and now I’ve got one the age he is in these pictures! Time is crazy. Anyway. Love this recipe! Thank you for all of your adjustments.

  157. Jacquie Katz

    I always think to myself-in the morning, I am sending this woman a note to call her a genius and tell her how much we enjoyed her recipe. By morning I have moved on and rarely get the chance to thank you for sharing. This day, the second Seder Day of Pesach, I honor you and thank you for this Maccarrone tasting recipe!!! I hate trying to make the flourless chocolate stuff or those egg white driven sponges that never rise for me the way I think they should. I had great trepidation. Egg whites are not my friends, but I made it the way you directed and it all worked. I am so impressed and so were my guests. I have made plenty of ganache frosting-I think this works more gently and is less likely to seize because you are melting into syrup. It was very runny at first but I stuck it under an air-conditioning vent in the laundry room (NC warm weather) and before dinner, it was as if an expert had frosted it. Thank you again for your invention.

  158. Kathy

    Made this ahead of time and froze it for the first seder. It ended up being very difficult to cut. And while the flavour was good, it was too hard. Perhaps this cake is not meant to be frozen?