The macaron. These are probably one of the most intimidating cookies out there. I’ve made them before, but it was in the summer, and humidity was raging. I guess the extra moisture in the air attributed to my macarons ending up with no feet. They tasted wonderful, but they were pitiful flat little cookies.
I sort of forgot about these little treats until my sisters and I visited Sucre in New Orleans. It was love at first bite. Pistachio was my absolute favorite out of all the flavors we tried.
That evening, I was asked to bring all desserts for Christmas. I knew that I had to give these macarons another attempt. I mean, dew point was in the 30s and that’s SUPER rare in Louisiana. So, bye bye to the humidity for this attempt!
That first picture….yep, those were the macarons that I made! I was yelling in excitement to the hubs as I stared into the oven, watching those little feet happen. I totally had my first macaron success!! Best of all? My family thought they tasted just like the ones from Sucre! Win!
This was also my first time making some form of a meringue buttercream. Seriously y’all, I thought this was a massive fail, but I remember reading on blogs that it does take a while to come together. After several minutes, just like that, it went from a separated mixture to a gorgeous frosting! I’m in shock that a frosting with so little sugar tastes so much better, too! Definitely making a meringue-type frosting again soon! I ended up filling a few with plain buttercream to see how it would taste (as you can see in the bottom row), but after tasting both, I felt that the spiced eggnog frosting was the way to go here.
For the macarons:
- 90 gr egg whites (use eggs whites that have been preferably left 3-5 days in the fridge)
- 25 gr granulated sugar
- 200 gr powdered sugar
- 110 gr almonds (slivered, blanched, sliced, whatever you like)
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, (think bubble bath foam) gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue (think shaving cream). Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.
- Place the powdered sugar and almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground.
- Add them to the meringue, give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 280F.
- When ready, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don’t let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy.
- Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer.
For the eggnog filling:
- 1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 sticks (180gr)(6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Put the sugar and egg whites in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat the meringue on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick shiny meringue, about 5 minutes.
- Switch to the paddle attachment and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes.
- Add the cinnamon and nutmeg to the buttercream.. Fill he shells with the buttercream and enjoy!