I have been quite the baker lately! Two weeks ago, I shared my & Suzi’s Bahama Mama cupcakes and, immediately after, Banana Nutella pancakes. This weekend, I made three culinary achievements: French Macarons, buttercream frosting, and green tea ice cream. Today, I’ll share with you the first two.
My first attempt at French Macarons did not work out well, but we discovered later that Margaret’s oven wasn’t working properly. (Really! She replaced it soon after!) Still, these cookies are fickle little things. I used the recipe from Ana of Lovely Lady Cakes as a base, but I made a few tweaks to it. I definitely recommend checking out her video if this is your first (or even second) time attempting French Macarons. You can also sub out the extract and food coloring for other flavors and colors if you want to experiment.
Lavender French Macarons with Buttercream Frosting — makes approximately 50 quarter-sized Macarons.
French Macaron Ingredients:
- ¾ cup almond flour
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 4 tbs sugar (I use cane sugar)
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tsp lavender extract — please make sure you are using lavender extract and not lavender essential oil, which is poisonous if ingested! It’s very hard to find; I had to buy mine on Amazon.
- 2-3 drops red food coloring (optional; I used 2, which I don’t think was enough)
- 4-5 drops blue food coloring (optional; I used 3, which I don’t think was enough)
Buttercream Frosting Ingredients: (This is great for cupcakes, too!)
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1 stick of butter, room temperature
- 2 tbs milk (half and half or soy milk work great, too!)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Sift the almond flour and confectioner’s sugar into a medium bowl, then combine the two.
- In a separate bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer, if you have one), whisk two egg whites for about two minutes, until light and frothy.
- Add cane or regular sugar one tablespoon at a time to the egg white mixture, and whisk for another minute or two, until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
- Carefully fold the egg white mixture in with your dry ingredients — use a rubber spatula for best results. This will take a bit of time (5 minutes or so), and when you’re finished your batter should be about the consistency of lava (seriously). It should not be thin like cake batter.
- If you are using any kind of flavoring or food coloring, carefully stir it in now. You don’t want to stir too much or you will lose the lightness of the batter.
- Place parchment paper onto two baking sheets.
- Transfer the batter into a plastic bag, cut a small piece of the tip off of the bag, and pipe dime-sized amounts of batter onto the parchment paper. Place them far enough apart for them to expand to about twice their size.
- Preheat the oven to 300º and let the uncooked Macarons sit for 15 minutes while the oven preheats. (You can also skip below to the frosting directions and prepare it while you wait.) The batter should form a thin shell on top. Test a few out with your finger; if they crack a bit, they are ready for the oven!
- Place your oven racks on the top- and bottom-most slots in your oven and place one baking sheet on each rack. Bake for 6-8 minutes, then switch the positions of the baking sheets and bake for another 6-8 minutes. I baked mine at 8 minutes, then 6, and they were a little too brown for my liking, so keep and eye on the clock.
- Cream butter with the paddle attachment on your stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) in a medium bowl, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl at least three times to get any devious clumps of butter that may be hanging out there, trying to mess up the smoothness of your frosting. (Trifling butter!)
- Pour in one cup of confectioner’s sugar and mix well — again, scraping the sides of the bowl for clumpage (ew). Then, repeat with the other cup of confectioner’s sugar.
- Mix in your vanilla extract.
- Mix in your milk, one tablespoon at a time.
- Frost one Macaron half, pair it with another half that’s roughly the same shape, and enjoy! I find them to be particularly wonderful with tea. :)