Meyer Lemon Macarons

I am one of those people who actually prefers lemon or citrus flavors over chocolate. Not having the ingredients to make a lemon tart like intended, I gave into the macaron madness. This batch turned out so perfect and consistent with the last couple batches, I think I’ve finally mastered the suckers and I can justify a slight ego boost. Now my friends, it’s your turn.

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Coconut and Lime Macarons

A crack of the knuckles, a light breath to blow dust off the keyboard, and sitting down at my computer with purpose again. Remember to enjoy the little things. Oh blog, how I missed you. I want to apologize to you friends for the lack of updates since holidays began. Interestingly enough it is when most blogs show the highest number of post but when you work two jobs in retail, then take a vacation to visit family your time for cooking gets shorter. Many days I would get home at 11pm, go to bed and start the day over at 8am – 11pm again. I know, I did it to myself so only I am to blame, but it was nice to have the extra money, and work at a job that I cannot even express how much I enjoy it compared to the other.  Okay, enough about me and my weirdness enjoying a busy holiday season at the country’s biggest shopping mall.

On to the real matter at hand, food. Well with me it’s more sweets and desserts, but you know that by now. I have had this combination on my list since my first batch of macarons came out all lovely and puffy. At the local market I seen these lims that were the size of a large lemon and they smelled fantastic. Then what is in a basket on the end cap? A bag of organic shredded coconut which was on sale. I knew it had to be so I picked up both and went home on a mission.

It took mostly visual tweaks to get what I was looking for from these cookies. The first batch I used just the green color and it looked like the color teal from a bad prom dress in the 90’s. They tasted amazing but when the look doesn’t match the flavor it throws the mind off a bit. In that first batch I also learned that if you are going to put anything on the top of the macaron to decorate, make sure the cap is set. Meaning, it isn’t tacky to the touch.  When baked it will help form the dome but it also helps anything added to the top of the cookie from sinking into it. I am here to make the mistakes for you and trust me, many are made.

The green shells were finally achieved by following the basic shell recipe from an earlier post. Then adding to whipped egg whites;  3 drops of the forest green food coloring gel and one drop of chocolate brown food coloring gel, both from from AmeriColor. It got me the perfect green color I was looking for to represent a lime. After matching up the shells to as close as possible matching sizes. On one side I piped a ring of the Swiss buttercream frosting just around the inside edge leaving a hole in the middle. Once all the pairs had one side with the ring of buttercream, time to fill in the hole with lime curd.

You can have the curd in a squeeze bottle or a piping bag, I used both and they worked well, just add a little bit of the lime curd to the center hole of each cookie half inside the buttercream ring. Gently place on the matching half and refrigerate in a sealed container for up to two weeks. Just let them sit for 5 minutes before eating to come up in temperature. The shells will stay firm but soft and not dry and crumbly, like you might find in a late afternoon visit to the local pastry shop.

These coconut and lime macarons were shared at a dinner party with some friends as an after dinner treat. The host is not a fan of sweets that don’t involve chocolate, but for him to make a comment about how just amazing these were in the complexity of textures and flavors had me blushing. The light and not overly sweet Swiss buttercream with the tang of the lime curd balanced out with the sweet crunchy shells perfectly into an almost addicting combination. So of course I had to share it with you my friends. I hope you all had a lovely holiday season and I wish you the best this coming new year. You will see more of me in 2012, with new recipes and of course more macarons!

Coconut and Lime Curd Macarons
Makes 20-25 Macarons

Lime Curd

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • juice of one lime, large (or two small)
  • zest of one lime, large (or two small)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 egg yolks (save the whites for your macaron shell recipe)

In a small sauce pan over medium heat combine the butter, sugar, lime zest, lime juice, and salt, whisk to combine.  Add in one yolk at a time until combined. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until thick like a heavy sauce.  Pour into a bowl and place cling film over the top resting on the curd to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate over night to 1 week.

Basic Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Freeze any unused buttercream in individual containers with 1-1.5 cups in each container. This way you have buttercream at the ready for your next macaron or cupcake craving.

Macaron Shells

Following the recipe from a previous post, after the shells are not tacky to the touch sprinkle generously with flaked coconut and bake as normal. The coconut will toast lightly and add lovely flavor and texture to the cookies.

Blackberry Macarons

The macaron madness continues.  I adore how they fit any flavor combination you can possibly think of.  I already have two pages in my notebook filled with combinations to try.  This round I went with a basic macaron with a blackberry buttercream.  I had some blackberry compote in the freezer left over from the orange blossom cheesecake.  This filling fits macarons perfectly, it isn’t overly sweet and has the perfect ratio of acidity vs sweetness.  Did I say they taste amazing yet?  This is so far my favoriate combination, but I am sure I will say that again soon.

I hope you get a chance to give macarons a try in your kitchen. If you do, my previous post has some of my own tips that helped me. I hope they will help you as well, so good luck!

Basic Macaron Shells
Makes 30 Cookies

Shells

  • 115g Blanched Slivered Almonds or Almond Meal/Flour
  • 200g Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 100g Aged Egg Whites (3 egg whites), room temperature
  • 20g Sugar
  • 2 drops Violet Gel Food Coloring

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.  If you only have two cookie sheets, place one on a wire rack to create a flat surface.  This is so you can double up the cookie sheets for baking the shells.  If using parchment paper a great trick for if you’re new to macarons is to draw out circles using the base of the piping tip to create a guide for me while piping.  With a pencil and the Adeco #804 tip create circles in a 5×8 pattern on one side of each sheet of parchment.   When you have made your circle guide on one side, flip it over so you don’t accidentally pipe the mixture onto the pencil drawings.

Grind the almonds and confectioner’s sugar in a food processor.  Grind for 2-3 minutes until fine and like sand in texture.  Sift 2-3 times to lighten the dry mixture. Reprocess as needed to get out all of the big pieces of almonds ground down, and lumps out of the sugar.  You are looking for the consistency of sand.

In a bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer (I found a hand mixer more successful).  Whisk the egg whites until a foam tarts to foam, it should have a slight tinge of the color of the egg whites in the folds of the ribbons.  Slowly add in the sugar while mixing and whisk until a medium stiff peak forms. Add in two drops of food coloring gel. Continue to whisk, as soon as you can hold the bowl upside down over your head with out it falling out, the eggs are done.

Sift half of the dry mixture onto the egg whites, and mix in to lighten.  Sift in the remaining dry mixture, and begin to gently fold in.  Once mostly combined, tip the bowl at a 45° angle.  Spread the mixture out on 1/3 of the side surface of the bowl, sweep under and fold it over on it self.  Repeat this process 10-12 times.  When you reach the 10th time, stop and lift up a spatula full of the mixture if it forms thick ribbons, watch the mixture and count to 10.  It should absorb into the rest of the mixture with only slight indication of edges, your mixture it done.  It should just very slowly settle on itself.

Pour mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round tip.  I used Adeco #804.  Pipe out following your guide pattern (make sure the side with the pencil lead is facing down onto your prepared cookie sheet). Gently tap the bottom of your sheet twice to remove air bubbles, and let it set out to dry to form a shell.  What you’re looking for is it to not feel tacky.  This can be 15 minutes to an hour depending on the heat and humidity in your kitchen.

Bake at 300°F for 18 minutes.

Once finished baking if you are using parchment let cool for 10 minutes then transfer the top tray to refrigerator to cool.  When they are completely cool it will turn off of the parchment quiet easily.  If you are using a silpat you can let sit out to cool until you can easily remove from the silpat.

Once the shells turn over easily without sticking transfer to a wire rack, and prepare your next batch with the two cookie sheets by doubling them up and sliding the parchment or silpat with shells onto the top sheet.  Follow the same baking temperature and time, repeating the cooling process as well to remove the shells from the parchment.

Pair up the shells of the same size and flip bottom up to let cool completely before adding in filling.

Refrigerate in a sealed container for a week.  Let come up in temperature slightly before eating for best texture / taste.

Blackberry Buttercream

  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • 3 sticks Butter (24 tbsp), room temperature
  • 1/4c Blackberry Compote

In the bowl of your stand mixer whip the egg yolks with a pinch of salt.  Whisk until tripled in volume, and a pale yellow in color.  Meanwhile, place a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat with the sugar and water.  Bring it up to 245°F

While whisking the eggs on medium speed, slowly pour in the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream. Once all the sugar is incorporated, whisk on high until cool, about 10 minutes.

Once the egg and sugar mixture is cool, still at medium speed, add in the butter in small chunks of 2 tbsp.  Once all the butter is incorporated slowly add in the blackberry compote, and whisk until smooth. Add more confectioner’s sugar if you want more sweetness, then whisk until smooth.

Place into a piping bag fitted with a round tip.  I used an Adeco #809 tip.  Pipe the frosting onto half the paired macaron shells.  Once you have completed piping all the halves, place on the tops.  Store in the refrigerator sealed 7-10 days, bring close to room temperature before eating.

Macarons very slightly modified: Tartelette // Buttercream inspired by: MasterChef Australia


Chocolate Macarons with Coffee Buttercream

I now understand the term macaron madness.  I cannot believe how much fun I am having making these things!  Honestly, I don’t need this many macarons in the house and I wish all of you could show up just to take some away.  They are just too hard to resist eating.

For this batch of macarons, I wanted to come up with a filling that would require egg yolks.  I was left with three for every batch of macarons and would rather not waste them.  So, I took some inspiration from my favorite cooking show,  Masterchef Australia (link at the bottom). This version of buttercream uses egg yolks – yay no waste! – and it’s very smooth which complements the cocoa shells wonderfully.  I decided to add half of the espresso powder in the buttercream near the end give an almost crunchy texture to the cream with tiny bursts of coffee flavor to wash away the sweetness of the macaron. I don’t think it could have turned out any better.

Macarons are the bane and bliss of many food bloggers.  I have been semi-successful before but that was nearly a year ago.  I wanted to make them again as an alternative to my birthday cake. The problem was, my old recipe wasn’t working for me.  I wasn’t getting any pied or feet, I blame the new oven I got in the spring.   I gave up for a while until I read Tartelettes ebook, Demystifying Macarons.  When you want to make macarons, Tartelette is a pretty reliable go-to.  I had multiple success now with her recipe and technique by mixing it with some other little tips and tricks that worked for me.

Remember when you were told as a kid, “practice makes perfect”?  Well, Parisian macarons fall along those lines.  I cannot explain well enough in words what the mixture should be like.  Where to be gentle, where to just stir with some vigor, and the exact texture.  I will tell you I have found that adding cocoa powder produces a chewier cookie, and takes less folds than the basic macaron recipe does.  So, it’s just working with the basic recipe enough times to gain a feel for it, to know when you are at the right constancy.  If you decide to go down this road of trial and error, I promise to send you happy pastry thoughts.

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