Closing out this macaron week are these unusual and flavorful beauties. I was inspired to use fennel in the shells when spotting the powder but when I saw the candy coated fennel seeds in my local spice store market I knew I had to use them to jazz up the filling.
These were fun to make and I just loved the flavor and the extra candy crunch. They looked pretty sans candy as well.
Fennel Macarons with Vanilla
Fennel Candy Buttercream Filling
For the Fennel Shells:
I used the Tartelette's basic recipe. Use a kitchen scale for precise measurements.
- 3 egg whites - aged at least 2 days. Let them sit out on the counter uncovered.
- 25 grams of fine granulated sugar
- 200 grams of powdered sugar (minus 2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons Fennel powder
- 110 Grams of almond flour*
*You can buy almond flour that has been ground with or without the skin. I use the later (blanched). The former looks really nice if you are not coloring the shells. You can also grind your own almond flour by putting whole or sliced almonds in a food processor or blender. If you do, make sure you throw a little of the powdered sugar in to prevent the almonds from forming a paste.
- Sift the powdered sugar, fennel powder and almond flour together or pulse them together briefly in a food processor. Make sure there are no large pieces and set aside.
- Whip the egg whites. When they start to get foamy, slowly add the sugar. Continue whipping until you can turn the bowl upside down and nothing slides out. (I also add a pinch each of salt and cream of tartar)
- Add the powdered sugar/almond/fennel powder mixture to the egg white mixture and fold, using quick strokes at first then slow down. No more than 50 strokes all together. The batter should have a "flowing like lava" consistency.
- Fill a Pastry bag and pipe circles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or on a Silpat.
- Let the macarons dry for about one hour until they harden.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
- Bake for 18-20 minutes.
- I keep the oven door propped open with a dish towel or wooden spoon. Try to refrain from obsessive peeping to see if they get feet.
- Let cool completely and then match up the shells into pairs according to size and fill with the buttercream.
For the Vanilla Fennel Candy Buttercream:
- 1/4 stick butter room temperature
- 1/8 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup candy coated fennel
- Orange food coloring (optional)
- Beat the butter and milk together with one cup of the powdered sugar.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar one cup at a time.
- Add food coloring if desired.
- Spoon the frosting in to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Stand it up in a tall glass and fill the bag.
- Pipe the filling onto one macaron shell and sandwich together with the other.
- Gently roll the macaron in the fennel candy.