Macarons, NOT macaroons

In dessert, food on 01/04/2009 at 10:34 am

Macarons might be my favorite dessert. They are light and qq, with delicate flavors. While there are several bakeries in Manhattan that specialize in these delights, but they have nothing on the fresh, home-made version. I have been greatly disappointed, even by the most famous French bakeries…

The original macarons were two cookies sandwiched together while hot. Now they typically are cooled and sandwiched with some filling. It’s often a chocolate ganache, but it doesn’t have to be. This recipe uses cream cheese frosting and it’s pretty good. Next time I’m making pandan and durian macarons!



macaron batter:
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup almond flour
1 T fragrant jasmine tea
2 1/2 T cocoa powder
1/4 cup + 2 T egg whites (about 4 large eggs)
pinch of salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 T unsalted butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

prep: draw 1-inch circles every 2-inches (a quarter is about the right size) on the bottom of parchment paper; preheat oven to 325F.

mix: push almond flour through a sieve, and sift together with powdered sugar.

divide your almond/sugar mixture into two medium or large bowls. add cocoa to one bowl, sift if necessary and set aside.

grind tea leaves in mortar; combine tea with the other almond/sugar mixture and set aside.

in a large clean, dry bowl whip egg whites with salt on medium speed until foamy. increase the speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar. continue to stiff peaks – the whites should be firm and shiny.

with a flexible spatula, gently fold half the egg whites into each almond/sugar mixture until completely incorporated. when you have a smooth surface with no peaks, stop mixing. the mixture should be shiny and will flow slowly, like hot glass.

fit a piping bag with a 3/8-inch (1 cm) round tip (you can use a ziplock bag with the corner cut off, but that doesn’t work well for me). pipe the batter onto the circles. tap the underside of the baking sheet to remove air bubbles.

bake: for 10 to 12 minutes at 325F.

cool: transfer parchment to a cooling rack. when cool, slide a metal offset spatula or pairing knife underneath the macaron to remove from parchment.

filling: mix cream cheese, softened butter and sugar on medium until well mixed. add vanilla.

finishing: pair macarons of similar size, and schmear a small dab of filling onto one of the macarons. sandwich, and refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to blend together.

eat: bring back to room temperature before serving. yum!

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