Earl Grey Macarons and Troubleshooting tips for Macs

I love earl grey. Anything. I get a kick out of finding ways to incorporate tea into my baking. I also have an obsession (as you probably figured out by now) with making macarons. A simple way to add flavor to anything is to infuse the cream you use when making ganache, and this technique is used often by bakeries to flavor their macarons. Matter of fact, a lot of bakeries specializing in macarons use white ganache flavored different ways as part of their fillings exclusively. You can add flavor on the “back end” of the ganache as well using flavor compounds. The possibilities are endless when it comes to flavoring a ganache. Sometimes the trick is being able to incorporate ENOUGH flavor and this is why I love the double bergamot earl grey tea. You don’t have to use a ton of tea to get the flavor you want. I particularly love the Stash brand of double bergamot earl grey if you can find it.

Happy macaron-ing

 

Earl Grey Macarons

(This recipe is the Italian method)

200 g almond flour, sifted (I like Wellbee’s brand-see below under tips)

200 g confectioners sugar, sifted

2  teabags of loose earl grey (tear bags open and remove tea)*

*I like Stash brand of “double bergamot” earl grey

75 g egg whites

200 g granulated sugar

50 g water

75 g egg whites (room temp)

pinch of cream of tartar

2-4 drops gel food color of choice (such as lavender or violet) I used a combo of each

1. In a large bowl combine the almond flour, and confectioners sugar, and the loose tea. Add the 75 gms of egg whites, and stir to combine to form a paste. Set aside.

2. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine 75 gms of egg whites and the cream of tartar and begin whipping them on medium-high speed.

At the same time combine the 200 gms of  granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan on high heat; bring to 240° without stirring while whipping the egg whites on your mixer simultaneously. You want the cooking sugar syrup to reach 240 degrees at the same time your whites reach stiff peaks. To time this; keep the stand mixer next to the stove so you can peek at the whites while still watching your cooking syrup. If you notice the whites starting to get too stiff before the sugar is done; slow down the mixer to low-speed.

3. Once the syrup is at 240 degrees, stop/take off the heat and start pouring the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl slowly with the mixer running on slow-medium at the same time; careful not to let the syrup hit the whisk to prevent hard syrup forming. Once all the syrup is in, crank up the mixer and whip the whites until very glossy and stiff. Add the gel color to the meringue when it is about 90 % done.

4. Take the whipped meringue and place on top of the almond mixture and start to  fold gently until all of the meringue is incorporated; careful not to deflate the mixture. You are looking for a thick consistency like lava but one that allows you to have the batter fall in ribbons when you hold the spatula above the bowl. A good measure of consistency is to let the batter fall off the spatula until you can make a figure 8 without the batter breaking. If the batter breaks while doing this, fold it a few more times. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and pipe the cookies on parchment lined sheet trays; leaving at least an inch space between cookies. Take the trays and rap them hard on the counter to release any air bubbles. Let the trays sit out anywhere from 30-60 minutes; as long as it takes until when you touch the top of the cookies they are dry and no longer tacky to the touch.

5. Bake the cookies  one tray at a time in a 325° F oven (300° F if convection oven) for about 15-18 minutes until the cookies are no longer wet on the bottom and appear dry. Please note: Every oven is different and you may need to play around with your temperature or time to achieve the perfect macaron. Sacrifice one if you have to test. Let the cookies cool on the tray. Sandwich with the filling. Store the cookies in the fridge to “mature” in an airtight container 8 hours or overnight; this helps the cookies become even more chewy as the moisture from the filling helps the texture of the cookie as well as enhancing the overall flavor.

Earl Grey White Chocolate Ganache

9 oz. white chocolate chopped fine (Do NOT use white chocolate chips!)

4.5 oz. heavy cream

2 earl grey tea bags

Make the ganache: heat the heavy cream in the microwave on high for 1 minute. Steep the tea bags in the heavy cream for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes; squeeze the tea bags into the cream until dry and discard. Place the white chocolate in a medium size heat proof bowl. Using the microwave, heat the heavy cream again on high until very hot and pour over the chocolate; let sit one minute then gently whisk until emulsified. If there are chocolate pieces remaining; reheat the mixture on high at 20 second intervals until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set the ganache in the refrigerator until firm while you make the macarons. You can prepare the ganache the day before.

Tips/trouble shooting for successful macarons:

Know your oven. Buy an oven thermometer and keep it in your oven and calibrate your baking based on the oven temp. Rotate the pan if necessary. Even the most expensive ovens can have hot spots or uneven areas. If your oven has a convection function- use it! Convection is best for macarons (plan to drop the temperature 25 degrees less if using convection for baking). Quite a few of my earlier recipes I did not have a convection oven so that’s why those recipes did not post an oven temp for convection.

Try different recipes. I’m not claiming mine is perfect by any means. I have even tried different recipes/ techniques myself by adding in dried egg whites etc. The point is find one base recipe you like best and practice with that same recipe over and over- tweak the temperature, tweak the timing, tweak your mixing etc. This will help you find your rhythm and determine what is wrong by eliminating/changing each component. When I want a more shiny mac, I swear by the Italian method- but I use both French and Italian. I find the Italian method yields macs that are more shiny because the sugar is fully melted into the batter.

There is no ‘perfect’ recipe for a successful macaron. Early on I would scour the web trying to find the perfect recipe thinking it was the recipe. The truth is it’s about the technique and mastering the trouble shooting factors that yield the perfect macaron. Practice as much as possible. Try not to get mad- you will have bad macaron days. It happens. Don’t give up. #beenthere #Ifeelyou

Use only flat sheet pans. THIS IS KEY!! You cannot use a warped sheet pan- your batter will run and you will end up with weird shaped cookies. Side note: you can buy 1/4 sheet pans-they can be tricky to find but they resist warping more since they are smaller. I find mine in restaurant supply stores. You can even find 1/4 size silpat mats for them as well. Sometimes when I’m testing a new recipe I will pipe out a batch on this size pan so I don’t have to pipe as much.

Use a scale to measure ingredients. People have asked me why I don’t post the measurements in just cups etc. Macarons are very fussy- if you want to increase your chance of getting the perfect cookie plan to measure by using a scale. That’s what professional bakeries do. There are many inexpensive scales out there. To be a serious baker (no shade) you should have a scale- and buy one that does both grams, ounces. #sorrynotsorry

To get smooth bump free macarons you should always sift. I admit- sometimes I’m lazy and even I don’t always sift- case in point on my matcha tea macarons; when I made that batch I was being lazy and I did not sift (look at the pics of them and you will see bumpy macarons).

Don’t crowd the pan with as many macarons as you think can fit. If you pipe too many it can create excess moisture and lead to cracked shells. Also, they need room to spread after piping. FYI- there are silpat (copycat like mats) out there that have an excess of circles on them with little spacing- I shoot for the ones that have 20 circles per 1/2 sheet pan on them. I made the mistake of buying a mat that had the circles way too close- I won’t name the brand but it is a dark brown mat.

Parchment paper vs. Silpat. The choice is up to you. I personally do both. I tend to prefer parchment paper-I find that the foot of the cookie is better, but some people swear by a silicone mat.  If you do use paper- make sure it is flat and fits the size perfectly on the sheet pan. Any excess wrinkling or curled or wavy flaps will affect how the cookies rise and affect the ‘feet’ of the cookie. FYI- you can find boxes of parchment paper that fits 1/2 sheet pans at places like Smart and Final for cheap. The box will last you forever and its superior than the roll type you find in the grocery store because you don’t have to fight with the roll factor.

• Almond flour: consider drying out your almond flour (it may be too moist and contributing to your shells cracking). To dry out almond meal/flour place on a sheet pan in single layer and set in the oven at your lowest temperature (ideally 170-175 F) and bake for around 10 minutes. If you place a handful of almond flour in your hand and squeeze it and it sticks together than chances are it needs to be dried out first. BTW, I recently found this “very fine” almond flour online called Wellbee’s and it is NOW my favorite. It is very fine and light in color which I love!

Don’t use liquid food coloring or add excess liquid flavorings. Only use gel food color or powdered food coloring. Too much liquid added to the batter can adversely affect the shells.

Consider aging the egg whites. I’ll be honest- I typically don’t do this-again, I’m inherently lazy. I’ve tried it, I even did my own study once over a weeks time when I aged whites and made several batches with and without and I’m not completely convinced. Some people swear by it and say it makes a difference. Eh, I’m not sold. I heard a rumor though that Laudure ages theirs like a week. But do try it. To age: separate your whites out the day or 2 before and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and then poke holes in the plastic and place back in the fridge. Remove from the fridge when ready to bake and let sit out until room temperature.

Speaking of egg whites; make sure they are separately cleanly. Wash your hands before you start. #Captainobvious. Not a tiny speck of egg yolk can invade your whites or your meringue will not come out right. Clean our your mixer bowl each and every time before starting your recipe. You can even wipe out the bowl with a paper towel that has been moistened with vinegar to remove any trace of dirt or grease. Also- when separating your whites use 3 separate bowls. Crack one egg at a time and then place that egg white into a separate CLEAN bowl so that if you get a speck of yolk you don’t destroy the whole batch. Even though I’m lazy I ALWAYS use this method.

Watch as many videos you can find about how to mix/fold correctly. Under mixing or over mixing is typically the main reason why macarons don’t come out right. Hint- err on the side of undermixing as you can always squeeze out the batter and redo. Youtube is great for this-type in the search area macaron and a plethora of videos will come up. To visually see how the batter is supposed to look will make a huge difference. I tried to make a video using my camera once but it was a disaster, otherwise I would post a video for you.

I hope this helps. Just know that we’ve all had times when our macs did not come out. I used to work in a commercial kitchen where we made thousands of macs in one day, and even the head pastry chef would have times where she would have to do over a recipe because she over mixed or whatever reason they did not come out right, so don’t beat yourself up if they don’t look perfect. They are very finicky.


Creamsicle Macarons (Orange-Vanilla Macarons)


Does your childhood Summer evoke memories of you and your friends sitting on the porch eating a creamsicle popsicle? That sound of the dude with the push cart full of popsicles with the distinct unmistakable sound of bells clang al-ang- ing against each other. You could spot that sound 3 blocks away I swear. Just enough time for you to run in the house and yell, “Mom!!!!!!” “The ice cream man is coming, can I have a popsicle?” “Pleassssse?” The tang of the orange encapsulating that sweet vanilla flavor. There is nothing like it. It’s still one of my favorite flavors.

These macarons will transport you back to the 70’s (if you’re in your 50’s like me) when times were simpler. No WiFi, no reality Tv, no silly internet stories clouding your brain, just the nice weather forcing you to play outside. One bite will have you day dreaming of peaceful summers….

Creamsicle Macarons

75 g aged egg whites, room temp

pinch of cream of tartar

1 tsp. egg white powder

50 g superfine granulated sugar

90 g almond flour

135 g confectioners sugar

1 tsp. vanilla powder

orange gel food coloring

clean small brush for “painting piping bag” (cheap @ the craft store) or use the blunt end of a wooden skewer

* A note about superfine sugar- please do NOT buy it-it’s priced higher. Simply make up a batch by pulsing some in a food processor and store away in an airtight container.

1. In a food processor pulse the almond meal, and confectioners sugar, stopping to push contents down into the bowl and process until fine. Sift contents into a bowl and discard any hard lumps. Stir in the vanilla powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer place the egg whites, cream of tartar, egg white powder, and superfine granulated sugar, and hand whisk until foamy. Fit a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on low speed (Kitchen aide stop 4) for 2 minutes, then medium speed (stop 6) for 2 minutes, then on high speed (stop 8) for 2 minutes, then increase to highest speed (stop 10) for one minute, or until whites are stiff. Hint: if you remove the bowl and turn it upside down and the whites do not slide out they are ready! (Just be careful when checking!)

2. Gradually add the almond flour mixture to the meringue and mix/fold with a rubber spatula until mixture when lifted is able to form a figure 8 ribbon. About every 5th fold lift the spatula up and let the batter fall gently back into the bowl. Once you can form a figure 8 ribbon without the mixture breaking, the mixture is ready. Prepare the piping bag with a round tip and swipe three stripes of orange gel coloring inside the piping bag. Fill gently with the mac batter.

3. Prepare a sheet pan with either Silpat or parchment paper and preheat the oven to 300° F. Pipe the macarons onto the prepared sheet pan about a quarter size with 1 1/2 inches space between. Note; if after piping there are visible peaks then the batter is too thick and could cause problems such as cracking or not rising correctly. Squeeze out all the batter back into the bowl (with firm pressure) and refill the batter back into the piping bag and re pipe.  Usually the act of doing this will thin the batter enough (without having to mix more) to get a more ideal thickness. Once you have piped the batter take the sheet pan and rap it on the counter a few times (3-6)  to release any air bubbles. If you still see any visible air bubbles pop them gently with a bamboo skewer or toothpick. Allow the sheet pan to sit for 30-60 minute to form a “skin” so when touched the batter is no longer tacky feeling.

4. Bake the macs for about 13-15 minutes until when touching the top of a macaron, the top does not wiggle or slide but is firmly set. If they look like they are getting too browned then cover with tinfoil for the last few minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Do not attempt to remove until they are completely cool. Once cooled fill as described below.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

3 large egg whites, room temp

3/4 Cup granulated sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter

1 tsp. vanilla

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine egg whites and sugar. Set over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until mixture is hot and sugar is dissolved. Remove bowl and place on mixer and beat until stiff meringue forms and bottom of mixer bowl is cool to touch; about 5 minutes. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time until all is incorporated. Add the vanilla,  then beat until smooth.

To assemble macarons- Pipe a ring of vanilla buttercream onto one half of the underside of a cookie, then pipe the orange curd inside the vanilla ring, cover with another half of mac cookie. (see photo)

Orange Curd

1/2 Cup fresh orange juice

zest of two oranges

3/4 Cup superfine granulated sugar

6 large egg yolks

pinch of salt

1/2 Cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Combine yolks, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, salt, and butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thick, 8 to 10 minutes. Let mixture come to a boil and cook, continually scraping sides of pan, for 2 minutes. If desired, strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and very firm, about 2 hours.

Any leftovers will last in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks in the fridge. You may also freeze leftover curd.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Caramel Apple Macarons

caramel-apple-macarons-to-celebrate-fall

Leftover caramel in the fridge is a very dangerous thing. Especially when you discover how good it is stirred into a cup of hot coffee. That leftover caramel got me thinking. Lately I’ve been kind of macaron obsessed. Don’t know why, but it seems to comes in waves. The macaron obsession is real. I was in Safeway and started daydreaming of macaron flavors (I know I’m weird) when I spotted this bag of dried green apples. I’m constantly on the lookout for freeze dried fruits to grind up to add to macaron batter. A quick side note: if you use freeze dried fruits they MUST be rock hard and not have any moisture to them or it doesn’t work.

Caramel apple season is upon us, and I’m so ready for apple desserts, so I thought it would be fun to come up with a caramel apple macaron.  Any more than 2 tablespoons of apple powder messes with the shell and it doesn’t come out right; so to amp up the apple flavor even more, I simply sprinkled some on top of the batter before baking. I also sprinkled some on top of caramel filling before capping off the macaron.

You could also cut a piece of the dried apple and smush it down into the caramel and cap off the macaron to achieve max flavor, but since I had some leftover ground up pieces of apple I chose to go that route. Or do both! I love how when you smush the top macaron onto the caramel all the little bits of dried apple are visible on the sides.

caramel-apple-macs-resized

Caramel & Green Apple Macarons

Caramel Filling

yield: about 1  1/2 Cups

200 grams granulated sugar (about 1 Cup + 1 tsp.)

pinch of kosher salt

2 Tbsp. water

90 grams unsalted butter (about 6 Tbsp.)

120 ml heavy cream (8 Tbsp.)

 

In a microwave glass measuring cup  place the heavy cream and microwave until very warm, and set aside. In a heavy saucepan place the sugar, salt, and water and stir gently to combine. Bring to a boil without stirring (brushing down the sides with a wet pastry brush if crystals form) and continue cooking until medium amber color. Carefully stir in the cream and whisk to combine. Stir in the butter and continue to cook for one more minute, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool for about 20 minutes. Pour caramel in a container and chill until ready to use. Note: If you want salted caramel stir in 1 teaspoon of either fleur de sel or kosher salt once you remove from the heat at the very end.

Green Apple Macaron Shells

yield: about 2 dozen macaron sandwiches

Freeze dried granny smith apples

165 gms almond flour

165 gms confectioners sugar

150 grams granulated sugar

115 grams egg whites (about 4 whites)

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

electric green gel food color (I use Americolor)

mint green gel food color (I use Americolor)

 

In a high speed blender place a couple handfuls of the dried apple and pulverize until you achieve a fine powder. Sift through a fine mesh strainer and measure out 2 Tbsp. of the fine powder. Note-there will be some bigger pieces that remain and that’s okay, reserve those to sprinkle on top as well as adding to filling later.

In a food processor pulse the almond flour and confectioners sugar about 5 times. Sift into a bowl and whisk in the 2 Tbsp. of apple powder and set aside.

In the mixer bowl of a stand mixer place the room temperature egg whites and cream of tartar and whisk until foamy (I actually do this by hand). With the mixer on medium fitted with the whisk attachment, gradually add the granulated sugar in small increments then turn the mixer up to medium high and whisk for about 8 minutes or until meringue appears marshmallow like and stiff peaks are achieved. When the meringue is about 90 percent mixed add in a few drops of both mint green and electric green to your desired color; keeping in mind the color fades a bit when the shells bake.  Tip: to test if the meringue is ready, turn off the mixer and turn the bowl upside down.  The meringue should not shift or move, if it does mix a couple more minutes and test again.  Add the almond flour mixture to the meringue and fold several times until when lifting the spatula, the mixture falls back into the bowl in sheets or ribbons.

Prepare a sheet pan with either parchment paper or a Silpat liner. Pipe the macaron batter about 1 inch size circles leaving about 1 1/2 inches in between. Rap the sheet pan on the counter several times to release any air bubbles and then sprinkle generously with the reserved apple dust.

Preheat the oven to either 300° F or (275° F if using a convection oven). Bake the shells for 18-20 minutes; stopping halfway to cover the shells with tinfoil to prevent the apple pieces on top from getting too brown. To test if the shells are done wiggle one gently and if the top still moves then bake another minute or two and check again. Let the shells cool completely on the pans before removing.

Let the caramel sit out to soften a bit to piping consistency.  Pipe a small amount on one half of a shell and generously sprinkle some of the reserved apple dust and top off with another shell of the same size. Store the macarons in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 24 hours before bringing to room temperature to serve. store any leftover (as if) in the refrigerator.


green-apple-caramel-macs

green-apple-macarons-with-caramel-filling

 


Lavender Macarons

lavender macarons filled with lavender ganache

Lavender macarons with white chocolate lavender ganache

There is a sad fact about macarons- and I’m sure you’ve already figured it out. Sometimes these cute, delightful, little suckers just don’t come out right. You scratch  your head and wonder, “What in the heck did I do wrong?” Well, you are not alone. Even though I have made thousands of them, Lord knows, I  have a bad macaron day every now and then. As a result I’m constantly searching out new ideas and ways to master these little gems. I recently spent a good part of a day playing with different techniques and recipes and played around by adding in some dried egg white powder. I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome- they came out delightfully chewy and had the perfect texture. Now that I live in Arizona and the climate is dry I am playing around with different (French method technique) recipes as the humidity here is not as much a factor, although it is still monsoon season here so lately the humidity has been high. Adding in some dried egg white powder can help with humid weather conditions.

I highly recommend the book “Les Petit Macrons” which includes several recipe methods for macarons that includes great photos and trouble shooting tips as well. Plan ahead and make the lavender ganache the day before if you have time, as you will need the extra time to allow the lavender to steep to develop flavor.

Lavender Macarons

recipe adapted from “Les Petits Macarons” by Kathryn Gordon & Anne McBride

165 g ( 1  1/4 C) almond flour

165 g  (3/4 C) confectioners sugar

1 tsp dried culinary (food safe) lavender

115 g  (1/2 C) egg whites (from about 4 egg whites)

150 g  (3/4 C) granulated sugar

1 Tbsp (5 g) powdered egg white

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

purple gel food coloring

1. In a food processor bowl place the almond flour, confectioners sugar and dried lavender, and pulse about 4-5 times to combine. Sift through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl and set aside. Note; you can pick out any pieces of the lavender left in the strainer and add back into the almond four mixture. Prepare a sheet pan with either parchment paper or a Silpat. I prefer parchment. Note- try to pick very flat and not warped pans. If your pans appear a little warped sometimes lining with both Silpat on the bottom and then laying parchment paper on top can help.

2. In a stand mixer bowl place the powdered egg whites and granulated sugar and whisk with a hand whisk. Add in the egg whites and cream of tartar and whisk again. Fit the mixer with whisk attachment and mix on medium speed for about 10-11 minutes until a stiff peak stage. Stop the mixer when the white are about 90 % mixed and add in the gel food coloring and continue to mix gently until desired color. Note: to test if whites are at the correct stage- you can turn the bowl upside down and check; if the meringue does not shift or slide in the bowl then they are perfect!

3. Using a spatula quickly add the whites to the almond flour mixture and fold until mixture falls off  in sheets, when the spatula is lifted. To test a shell- place a small amount in a piping bag fitted with a round 1/2 inch circular tip and pipe out a round onto the parchment paper. If a peak forms but does not collapse after a minute or so, then the batter is too thick. Squeeze the batter back into the bowl (do not mix batter) but rather refill the piping bag and repipe the shells. Pipe about 1 inch size shells leaving an inch and a half in between each shell to allow for spreading. Lift the pan about 6 inches off the counter and let the pan slam onto the counter about 4 times to remove any trapped air bubbles. Set the pans on a flat surface and allow to sit for 30 minutes or until the top of the shells are no longer tacky when touched.

4. Preheat the oven to 300° F and bake for about 17-18 minutes turning pan hallway through front to back until shells appear firm at the foot if wiggled. Allow to cool completely over a wire rack. When cooled lift off carefully and pipe with ganache filling.

Lavender White Chocolate Ganache

1/2 Cup heavy cream

1 heaping tsp. dried (culinary) lavender

10 oz. good quality white chocolate (NOT white chocolate chips), chopped fine

Heat the heavy cream to just a boil and place in a small bowl with the lavender and let it steep for several hours (5-8 hours is ideal) stored in the refrigerator. Place the chopped chocolate in a food processor bowl fitted with the metal blade and pulse to chop the chocolate fine. Reheat the cream to a boil and strain out and discard the lavender. Add the hot cream to the chocolate in the  food processor and allow to sit for one minute, then turn on the processor and mix until combined and smooth. Store in bowl in the refrigerator until firm. Once firm, stir vigorously until smooth and place in a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe filling between two macarons to sandwich.


Pineapple, Coconut and Pina Colada Macarons

In my favorite dream I’m laying in a hammock swaying under a breezy palm tree sipping a cold pina colada. I have no job to return to, no bills to pay, I have thin thighs, and no worries what so ever. Oh, and there are no calories at all in my pina colada. It’s my dream, okay?  My personal beach butler is only there to return every so often to ask me if I want another drink… Yeah, nice fantasy, huh? At least in reality you can create a tasty macaron…

coconut and pina colada macarons

Coconut Pineapple Pina Colada Macarons

pina colada macs

Coconut Macarons

3 large egg whites (105 g) (room temperature)

pinch cream of tartar

1/4 cup (50 g) superfine sugar

1/2 tsp. coconut extract

3/4 Cup (72 g) almond meal, sifted

1/4 Cup unsweetened (desiccated) coconut

1 1/4 Cups (156 g) confectioners sugar

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer place the egg whites and cream of tartar and whisk on medium speed until foamy. Once they start to become foamy slowly add the 1/4 cup sugar and continue to whip until they are stiff. Towards the end of whipping add the 1/2 tsp. of coconut extract.  Hint: if you remove the bowl and turn it upside down and the whites do not slide out they are ready! (Just be careful when checking!)

2. In a separate bowl whisk together the almond meal, coconut, and confectioners sugar well to remove any lumps. Gradually add the mixture to the egg whites and mix/fold with a rubber spatula until mixture falls in sheets when the spatula is lifted. About every 5th fold lift the spatula up and let the batter fall back into the bowl.

3. Prepare a sheet pan with either Silpat or parchment paper and preheat the oven to 300° F. Pipe the macarons onto the prepared sheet pan about a quarter size with 1 1/2 inches space between. Note; if after piping there are visible peaks then the batter is too thick and could cause problems such as cracking or not rising correctly. Squeeze out all the batter back into the bowl (with firm pressure) and refill the batter back into the piping bag and re pipe.  Usually the act of doing this will thin the batter enough (without having to mix more) to get a more ideal thickness. Once you have piped the batter take the sheet pan and rap it on the counter a few times (3-6)  to release any air bubbles. If you still see any visible air bubbles pop them gently with a bamboo skewer or toothpick. Allow the sheet pan to sit for 30-60 minute to form a “skin” so when touched the batter is no longer tacky feeling.

4. Bake the macs for about 13-15 minutes until when touching the top of a macaron, the top does not wiggle or slide but is firmly set. If they look like they are getting too browned then cover with tinfoil for the last few minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Do not attempt to remove until they are completely cool. Once cooled; fill with your choice of fillings such as purchased key lime curd, vanilla bean buttercream, purchased pineapple jam, or pineapple curd. See below for a few recipes.

Pineapple Macarons

3 large egg whites (105 g)

pinch of cream of tartar

1/4 Cup (50 g) superfine sugar

“Electric Yellow” gel food color (4-6 drops)

2 Tbsp. finely ground pineapple powder (from purchased freeze dried pineapple)

1 Cup (96 g) almond meal

1 1/4 Cups (156 g) confectioners sugar

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer place the egg whites and cream of tartar and whisk on medium speed until foamy. Once they start to become foamy slowly add the 1/4 cup sugar and continue to whip until they are stiff. Add the gel color paste towards the end of the whites becoming stiff.

2. In a separate bowl whisk together the almond meal, pineapple powder, and confectioners sugar well to remove any lumps. Gradually add the mixture to the egg whites and mix/fold with a rubber spatula until mixture falls in sheets when the spatula is lifted. About every 5th fold lift the spatula up and let the batter fall back into the bowl.

Follow steps 3 and 4 as above with the coconut macarons. Fill with Pineapple curd, pineapple jam or vanilla bean buttercream. For the pina colada macaron sandwich one coconut mac and one pineapple mac and fill with vanilla bean buttercream.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

4 egg whites

1 Cup granulated sugar

3 sticks unsalted butter (room temp)

1 1/4 tsp. vanilla bean paste

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine egg whites and sugar. Set over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until mixture is hot and sugar is dissolved. Remove bowl and place on mixer and beat until stiff meringue forms and bottom of mixer bowl is cool to touch; about 5 minutes. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time until all is incorporated. Add vanilla bean paste,  then beat until smooth.

Pineapple Curd (click here for recipe link)


Matcha Green Tea Macarons

There is something about matcha that I cannot resist. Matcha green tea ice cream, matcha macarons, matcha milk tea. The flavor is earthy and comforting. It’s not a flavor that everyone loves. I think you either love it or hate it. I happen to LOVE it. I personally can’t imagine anyone NOT liking it. It is divine in these macs. I deviated from my usual swiss meringue buttercream and opted for a more simple American style version here.

matcha green tea macarons
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Matcha Macarons 2

matcha macarons with matcha buttercream filling

matcha macarons

Matcha Macs 2

Matcha Macs 3

 

Matcha Green Tea Macarons

200 gms almond flour, sifted

200 gms confectioners sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder

75 gms egg white

1/8 tsp. mint green gel paste food coloring

200 gms granulated sugar

50 gms water

75 gms egg white

pinch of cream of tarter

1. In a large bowl combine the almond flour, and confectioners sugar, and matcha powder with a whisk. Add the 75 gms of egg whites, and green gel paste color and stir with a spatula to combine into a paste. Set aside.

2. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine 75 gms of egg whites and the cream of tartar and begin whipping them on medium-high speed.

At the same time combine the 200 gms of  granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan on high heat; bring to 240° without stirring while whipping the egg whites on your mixer simultaneously. You want the cooking sugar syrup to reach 240 degrees at the same time your whites reach stiff peaks. To time this; keep the stand mixer next to the stove so you can peek at the whites while still watching your cooking syrup. If you notice the whites starting to get too stiff before the sugar is done; slow down the mixer to low-speed.

3. Once the syrup is at 240 degrees, stop/take off the heat and start pouring the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl slowly with the mixer running on slow-medium at the same time; careful not to let the syrup hit the whisk to prevent hard syrup forming. Once all the syrup is in, crank up the mixer and whip the whites until very glossy and stiff.

4. Take the whipped meringue and place on top of the almond mixture and start to  fold gently until all of the meringue is incorporated; careful not to deflate the mixture. You are looking for a thick consistency like lava. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and pipe the cookies on parchment lined sheet trays; leaving at least an inch space between cookies. Take the trays and rap them hard on the counter to release any air bubbles. Let the trays sit out anywhere from 30-60 minutes; as long as it takes until when you touch the top of the cookies they are dry and no longer tacky to the touch.

5. Bake the cookies double panned (placing one empty tray underneath the piped cookies) one tray at a time in a 325° oven for about 15-18 minutes until the cookies are no longer wet on the bottom and appear dry. Sacrifice one if you have to test. Let the cookies cool on the tray. Sandwich with the buttercream filling. Store the cookies in the fridge covered loosely for 8 hours or overnight; this helps the cookies become even more chewy as the moisture from the filling helps the texture of the cookie.

 

Green Tea Buttercream

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

230 gms confectioners sugar

3 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. green tea matcha powder

 

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the lemon juice and matcha powder and beat until combined.


Chocolate Strawberry and Neapolitan Macarons

I am having a total 70’s flashback today (in reference to my childhood) thinking about Neapolitan ice cream. In the 70’s it was still the cheap square cardboard boxes when it came to ice cream, and you didn’t have a million flavors like we do today. Somewhere along the line we transitioned into circular ice cream containers. What’s up with that?

Neapolitan ice cream was a frequent in our house growing up. I loved the first glance of those perfectly proportioned lines of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry when you first lifted the lid on the container. I was a naughty girl and always scooped from the strawberry stripe only. I’m sure my Mother figured it out. If not-she is certainly right now- reading this. For some reason I was not much interested in the chocolate or vanilla. Today I have grown out of my strawberry obsession and am an equal flavor opportunist.

Neapolitan macarons. You get all 3 wonderful flavors at the same time. Give it a try….

I did a couple variations on flavors. You could use vanilla swiss meringue buttercream to fill all or also choose to divide some of them and fill with chocolate ganache or even strawberry buttercream.

neapolitan macarons

strawberry choc and neapolitan macs

neapolitan macaron closeupstrawberry mac and neapolitan macs

chocolate with neapolitan macs

Chocolate Macarons

200 gms almond flour, sifted

200 gms confectioners sugar, sifted

2  Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

76 gms egg whites

200 gms granulated sugar

50 gms water

75 gms egg whites (room temp)

pinch of cream of tartar

1. In a large bowl combine the almond flour, and confectioners sugar and cocoa powder. Add the 75 gms of egg whites, and stir to combine. Set aside.

2. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine 75 gms of egg whites and the cream of tartar and begin whipping them on medium-high speed.

At the same time combine the 200 gms of  granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan on high heat; bring to 240° without stirring while whipping the egg whites on your mixer simultaneously. You want the cooking sugar syrup to reach 240 degrees at the same time your whites reach stiff peaks. To time this; keep the stand mixer next to the stove so you can peek at the whites while still watching your cooking syrup. If you notice the whites starting to get too stiff before the sugar is done; slow down the mixer to low-speed.

3. Once the syrup is at 240 degrees, stop/take off the heat and start pouring the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl slowly with the mixer running on slow-medium at the same time; careful not to let the syrup hit the whisk to prevent hard syrup forming. Once all the syrup is in, crank up the mixer and whip the whites until very glossy and stiff.

4. Take the whipped meringue and place on top of the almond mixture and start to  fold gently until all of the meringue is incorporated; careful not to deflate the mixture. You are looking for a thick consistency like lava. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and pipe the cookies on parchment lined sheet trays; leaving at least an inch space between cookies. Take the trays and rap them hard on the counter to release any air bubbles. Let the trays sit out anywhere from 30-60 minutes; as long as it takes until when you touch the top of the cookies they are dry and no longer tacky to the touch.

5. Bake the cookies double panned (placing one empty tray underneath the piped cookies) one tray at a time in a 325° oven for about 15-18 minutes until the cookies are no longer wet on the bottom and appear dry. Sacrifice one if you have to test. Let the cookies cool on the tray. Sandwich with the filling. Store the cookies in the fridge covered loosely for 8 hours or overnight; this helps the cookies become even more chewy as the moisture from the filling helps the texture of the cookie.

Strawberry Macarons

Follow the same recipe as above except substitute the cocoa powder with 2 Tbsp. dried strawberry powder and add a few drops of deep pink food coloring gel in step one.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

4 egg whites

1 cup granulated sugar

4 sticks  unsalted butter

2 tsp. vanilla

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine egg whites and sugar. Set over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until mixture is hot and sugar is dissolved. Remove bowl and place on mixer and beat until stiff meringue forms and bottom of mixer bowl is cool to touch; about 5 minutes. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time until all is incorporated. Add vanilla and and beat until smooth. Use a generous 1 tsp. full to fill macarons.

Note: any leftover buttercream may be frozen. Store in an airtight container. To use: thaw at room temperature and rewhip with paddle attachment. You may also make strawberry buttercream by dividing adding in some seedless strawberry jam and whipping to combine.

Assembling Neapolitan Macarons: match up one chocolate and strawberry mac cookie and fill with vanilla buttercream. As an alternative you may fill some with chocolate ganache.

Small batch chocolate ganache

4 oz. semi sweet chocolate, chopped fine

3 oz. heavy cream

In a medium bowl place the chopped chocolate. Heat the heavy cream on high until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for one minute before stirring to combine thoroughly. Place the ganache in the fridge while you make the cookies.