What’s the common thread between macarons, human biology, and tax forms? I have no idea how to make, practice, or fill out any of the aforementioned items. It’s about time that I tried to get at least one of these things accomplished before I die. I took a human biology class once, did not go well, and I have turbo tax to do all the heavy lifting when taxes are due. That left me with only one feasible option. Macarons.
Macarons are one of my all time favorite desserts. I remember the first time I had macarons was at the LAX airport. I was slightly champagne drunk (honestly the only way to fly) during a layover and needed a bite to eat. I went to La Provence Patisserie and bought a dozen macarons. The experience was life changing. I bought another dozen from a small bakery in San Francisco the next day. The sugar high was real. The come down was all too real, miserable to be honest.
I decided to challenge myself and try making macarons. The thought of making macarons gave me mixed feelings, mainly dread mixed in with slight optimism. I chose to use a few recipes from Kathryn Gordon’s book Les Petits Macarons. The recipe was slightly arduous to read through, but simple enough. I chose to make the Marigold Shells with a Lemon Vanilla Bean Buttercream. The marigolds I used for this recipe were harvested from my garden (pesticide free!), but can easily be substituted with any other edible flower.
The end results were beautiful, slightly rugged, macarons with a nice flavor. When Katy says not to over mix your batter, you should listen to her, if you don’t your macarons will come out slightly chewy like mine did. But not to worry, we’re all learning here. Trying new things.
Recipe slightly adapted from Kathryon Gordon & Anne E. Mcbride’s Les Petits Macarons
Lemon Vanilla Buttercream
1 vanilla bean
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
3 egg whites
Pinch cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold butter (I always use salted butter in my cooking)
Zest 1 lemon
Split the vanilla in half length-wise scraping all the beans out with the back of a paring knife. Stir vanilla seeds into the sugar.
Bring the sugar, vanilla bean pod, and a ¼ cup (57 grams) of water to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Use a candy thermometer while boiling the sugar and remove from heat once it meets 238 °F
While the syrup is cooking beat the egg whites and tartar sauce in an electric mixer until the mixture forms small peaks. Once syrup is done and egg mixture has formed soft peaks, pour syrup down the side of the bowl. Continue mixing until cool, roughly 8-10 minutes.
Add the salt and butter to the egg mixture and continue to blend until filling is smooth and fluffy, another 8-10 minutes. Add the lemon zest at the last minute of mixing.
Set aside filling until shells are done
Makes 80 (1-inch) Macaron Shellls (36 if you cant control your piping bag)
1 ¼ cup (165 grams) almond flour/unblanched almond meal, firmly packed
¾ cup (165 grams) confectioner’s sugar
Pinch of salt
¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon powdered egg white
½ cup (115 grams) egg whites (5 medium eggs)
3 TBSP Chopped pesticide free marigold petals
6 drops food coloring (4 red, 2 yellow)
Preheat oven to 200 °F and place baking sheet in oven
Combine almond flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt in a food processor or blender , pulsing 4 times for 4-5 seconds. After each pulse, scrape sides down. Add the granulated sugar and powdered egg whites, pulse 4 more times as before. Sift together into a medium sized mixing bowl.
Combine egg whites and flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined. Add food coloring and petals just before you’re done mixing. Mix until everything is just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX (Your macarons will be chewy, like mine).
Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the finished batter and let rest for an hour.
Fit a ½ round tip to a pastry bag and fill halfway with batter. Tie off with a rubber band or hair tie.
Pipe quarter sized mounds onto a silicon-baking mat or parchment paper. Space mounds apart by 2 inches. When done making each mound release pressure from the pastry bag and twist the bag 90 degrees, without lifting the bag. Once batter stops coming out, lift the pastry bag. Move onto the next quarter sized shell. When done piping, lift baking sheet and drop onto your counter a few times. This will release any air that might be in the shells.
Bake the shells for fifteen minutes at 200 °F. Increase the temperature to 350 °F and bake for six minutes. Rotate the pan and finish baking for another 6 minutes. If shells are wrinkled, darker in the middle, or uneven, reduce heat to 300°F and let cook an additional 5 minutes. Let the shells cool for at least one hour before filling.
(Feel free to do a test run and bake one or two shells)
Once the shells are done cooling and you’ve made your filling, grab a pastry bag and fill it with the buttercream. Flip shells onto the round part and pipe the filling on half the shells. Grab the undressed shells and lightly press onto the filled shells making your macarons.