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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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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Macarons with Coffee Ganache

After weeks of wanting to get this just right for a personal challenge, and trying close to 10 different recipes, all failing in some way for me, I took it back to my inspiration.  Masterchef Australia, and season 2 one contestant made the most amazing looking macarons.  It worked!  I even got feet, however it was way too sweet and there was this air pocket between the chewy goodness and the crunchy shell.  So, after some minor alterations, and about two of my days off spent on researching egg whites and sugar structures I came to believe that the secret was/is ‘caster sugar or bakers sugar.’  When I switched sugars i started to get feet the texture was right, but too sweet, and it was a dead ringer for the ones Frank brought home from a bakery downtown.

I will stress this over and over…  important elements; sifting, room temperature egg whites “aged” for at least a day, and the “macaroning” which is the process in which you fold the egg whites into the almond and sugar mixture.

Macarons with Coffee Ganache

  • 200g Icing Sugar(Powdered Sugar)
  • 175g Almond Meal/Flour, fine ground
  • 105g Aged Egg Whites
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 50g Casters Sugar
  • 1 tsp powdered egg whites
  • Brown Gel Food Coloring

Turn oven on 245 degrees F.   Put racks on the 1st and 3rd positions.  Place a piece of parchment paper on the counter next to your scale place the bowl sifter on top of the parchment.  Measure out the almond flour in a second bowl on the scale, and pour into the bowl sifter,  gently sift onto the parchment do not force through the sifter.  Throw away any large pieces that do not go through.  Pour back into the bowl on the scale and check weight, add more almond flour to get back up to 175g.  Keep repeating this process until after you sift the weight comes out to 175g when placed back into the bowl.   Once you reach the desired weight place back into the bowl sifter and weigh out the icing sugar and pour into the bowl sifter and sift the flour and sugar together onto the paper.  Repeat the process of sifting both ingredients three(3) times, the last time leaving it on the parchment sifted out.

In a mixer, with a very clean wide bowl.  Add the egg whites and salt to the bowl and beat on med high speed, until it’s very foamy and doubles in size.  While the eggs are working sift the sugar and powdered egg white together and place on parchment ready to add to egg whites.    Turn the mixer on high speed and slowly add the casters sugar mix, once the sugar is all in add the food coloring until desired color is achieved.   Now, it’s critical time!  Do not over beat the eggs.  Once all the sugar and coloring is incorporated and you reached a soft peak stage stop and check every 30 seconds until medium peak stage, and you’re eggs are done! If you took them to stiff peak stage you overworked the eggs and need to start over.

Now the tricky part! Macaroning….  get a heavy silicon wide flat spatula to mix.  Add 1/3 of the dry mix to the egg whites, fold in till just incorporated.  Keep adding the dry mix to the egg mix 1/3 at a time until all incorporated.  Now the fun part!  You need to keep folding this mixture until the mixture is what is known as ‘lava stage’ What you’re looking for is when you lift the spatula above the bowl the mix very very slowly falls off and watch the mixture in the bowl.  You should after counting to 10 not see any ribbons or  lines in the batter where the batter falling off the silicone landed.  If it is incorporating too quickly you over mixed and you will end up with flat thin macarons, with no feet. Pour a small amount onto parchment about the size of a quarter.  it should not get any bigger then what you dropped it out to be, the batter should be glossy and smooth as well.  If it looks smooth, glossy, and doesn’t spread too thinly out then your done.  Pour into a 16″ or larger piping bag fitting with a large round tip, I used a Wilton #1A tip.  If the batter is running out of the bag too quickly then you over worked in the “Macaroning phase.”  It should want to slowly come out but not pour out.   Trick: if you’re working alone put the bag into a tall round container and fold the edges around glass lip over around 4+ inches not in the glass, I used my husbands pilsner glass.

On two(2) baking sheets lined with a silpat.  In a 5×8 pattern pipe out your mixture into 1″ or quarter size rounds.  The tip should be directly above the sheet and make a soft round takes about a 2-3 count with gentle pressure on each cookie before moving on to create the next.   Once you have completed piping lift and gently tap the bottoms of the baking sheets, this rounds out the cookies and also gets any air bubbles out.   Let them rest, this time varies by season, month, time of day, color of your hair… basically I cannot tell you how long to let them rest to form the shell, however!  When they are ready to bake you gently touch the top and sides and the batter does not stick to your finger, it’s not tacky.    Place both sheets in the oven, DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR for at least 10 min, if you do not have an oven window (like me!)  Once you see feet takes about 10-12 min rotate the pans, bottom on top and front to back.  Let cook for another 5-8 min until the tops feel firm.  Remove from oven and place sheets on wire racks to cool do not attempt to remove the cookie from the sheet before the pan is completely cold to the touch.

While cooling time to make the ganache!

Coffee Ganache

  • 6oz Heavy Cream
  • 6oz Bitter-Sweet Chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 packet of Starbucks Via, Italian Roast instant coffee or 1 1/2 tbsp. Instant Espresso powder (1 tbsp espresso powder to 4 oz chocolate)

Put the chopped chocolate, butter, and coffee into a small bowl.  Bring the cream up to a soft boil via microwave or small sauce pan.  Pour into the bowl over the chocolate and leave for about two(2) minutes.   Mix until it is chocolaty smooth goodness, don’t forget!  Always taste to make any modifications before product is finished.  Refrigerate for 10 min, remove and stir.  Repeat this process until it is thick and pipe-able.  Pour into a small piping bag, I used 12″ disposable bag, with a Wilton #35 tip.

Your ganache should be cooling and your cookie sheets should be cold to the touch and your macarons should just pop right off the silpat when it is gently bent.  Match your cookies up with ones of similar size, and Place on a wire rack fitted with parchment paper.  Flip so all bottoms are facing up and you know which tops match to which bottoms.  Pipe your ganache onto one row of cookie bottoms, skip the next row, pipe on the next row until complete.  You shouldn’t use too much filling leave a space between the filling and edge of the cookie.  Sandwich the cookies together and keep in air tight container!

adapted from: Masterchef Australia; Contest: Callum Hann