Black Sesame Macarons

There are grown up cookies and there are kiddy cookies. Guess what this is-this is a grown up cookie. The flavor is not something perhaps your 9 yr. old would like; nor even your 12 yr. old (as I found out), but it is good. This is the beauty of a good macaron. There are some really wild and crazy interesting flavors out there [in a good way] and this is one of them. I love anything with sesame seeds. I cannot go out for dim sum and NOT get a sesame ball. I simply cannot do it. There are times I crave for a sweet sesame rice ball and nothing will do. Days will go by and I will try to push it out of my brain. That damn sesame ball will keep calling my name. I cave every time. The Husband has been known to navigate the streets around Chinatown in (loop de loop like fashion) while I dodge into the congested bakery to claim my sesame ball. He knows when I get that wild look in my eye and proclaim I NEED a sesame ball that there is no turning back. The ticket has been bought- you are strapped into the seat and the ride is starting. Although this is not a sesame rice ball, it is my ode to the sesame seed in macaron form. If you want to go all out sesame-you can add some sesame powder to the vanilla filling as well and make it all sesame.

Black Sesame Macarons

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Black Sesame Macarons

200 gms almond flour, sifted

200 gms confectioners sugar, sifted

2  1/2 Tbsp. black sesame powder

75 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 sesame powder. 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.

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.

Vanilla Buttercream

2 egg whites

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup confectioners sugar (note: although not traditional in swiss meringue buttercream- it helps add a firmer structure to the filling)

Black Sesame Buttercream Filling Option: add 1-2 tsp. of black sesame powder (to taste) to the vanilla buttercream and mix well to combine.

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 confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Use a generous 1 tsp. full to fill macarons.


Mango Macarons with White Jasmine Tea Ganache

Spring is in the air. I can feel it. I can smell it. And yes, I want to taste it. I’m in a sunshine yellow state of mind. The sun is rising earlier and I’m starting to notice as I drive home from work that there is more daylight each and every day. I think our tastes change subtly with the dawning of a new season too. You aren’t always overtly aware of it, but suddenly you start craving different flavors. Brighter, fresher, lighter flavors. I start dreaming of new recipes. Spring has always been my favorite season. Always. Growing up in Michigan I used to get excited when you had those early teaser signs of spring. The first time you saw a robin bird you knew. Spring was coming, then you would wake up the next day to a snow shower. 😉 Spring is fickle that way. Now that I live in San Francisco, I still get excited about spring as it is the time to enjoy the sunshine before the fog rolls in. This is what you start to notice first; suddenly there is hardly any fog. Like I said, I’m in a sunshine yellow state of mind….

Mango And Jasmine Macarons 

Mango Macarons

200 gms almond flour, sifted

200 gms confectioners sugar, sifted

3 Tbsp. finely ground freeze dried mango (freeze-dried mango found at Trader Joes)

85 gms egg whites

optional: yellow food coloring

200 gms granulated sugar

50 gms water

75 gms egg whites (room temp)

pinch of cream of tartar

White Jasmine Tea Ganache

9 oz. white chocolate chopped fine

4.5 oz. heavy cream

2 white jasmine 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 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.

Make the macarons:

1. Grind the dried mango either in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Combine the almond meal, confectioners sugar and ground mango in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Stir in the 85 gms of egg whites and yellow food coloring (optional) and 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.

3. At the same time combine the 200 gms of granulated sugar and 50 gms of 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.

4. 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 to high and whip the whites until very glossy and stiff.

5. 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. When you lift the spatula the batter should fall in sheets. 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.

6. Bake the cookies double panned (placing one empty tray underneath the piped cookies) one tray at a time in a 325° oven for about 18-20 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.

7. Pipe the cookies with ganache.