I interrupt my strawberry series to bring you Macarons. Hopefully you will find them equally delicious! Before I started blogging, I had never heard of a French Macaron. Then I saw them everywhere, and everyone made them look so pretty, but they had a reputation of being so technically difficult. I was scared to try them. But after I made Pistachio Ice Cream, I had egg whites like crazy. Normally I would throw away 1 or 2 if I had them, but 6 felt way too wasteful. So I had to come up with something to do with them. It felt like it was time to try Macarons.
Being that I am not French, and I am not all that fancy of a person, I had to make these my way. I picked a chocolate version with a peanut butter buttercream frosting. A truly American flavor with a delicate French dessert. I read up a lot before I made my first batch. I consulted Annie’s Eats, Tartlette’s Tutorial, and of course how could I not read Mad about Macaron’s? I think the main thing I learned is that it is humid in Iowa, even with the air conditioning on. So I should have let them sit out longer before baking. The first tray ended up in the garbage, the second tray was much better.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons
For the Macarons:
110 gm almond flour
200 gm minus 2 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa powder (Dutch-process preferred)
100 gm egg whites (from about 3 eggs), aged at room temperature for 12-24 hours
50 gm granulated sugar
Peanut Butter Butter Cream
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tbls milk
Combine almond flour, confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder until well blended (I used my food processor). In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar and continue beating until a smooth, shiny meringue with stiff peaks forms. Add the ground almond mixture to the bowl with the meringue and quickly but gently fold together using a wide rubber spatula until no streaks remain. You want to achieve a thick batter that ribbons or flows from the spatula when lifted.
Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats. Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a plain wide round tip. Pipe into small rounds on the prepared baking sheets (each round should be about 1-1½ inches in diameter), spaced about 1 inch apart. Let sit at room temperature for about an hour to develop a hard shell.
Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Bake for 8-10 minutes, depending on size. Transfer the pans to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely before moving the cookies.
While the cookies are cooling, make the frosting. Stir together all the ingredients until it is the right consistency. I always just add the milk at the end to get the texture I want. Put into a piping bag, fitted with a plain tip.
Once the cookies are cool, match them up so they are paired with one that is a like size. Squeeze some frosting onto the base, and place the top on. Gently press down. They are best to eat the next day.