Thursday, September 12, 2013

Goji Berry Macarons with Mixed Herb Vanilla Buttercream Filling

When I made those pomegranate macarons a couple of days ago, I used pomegranate powder I found in the health food store. At the same time, I purchased goji berry powder as I thought it could provide a unique macflavor.

Continuing on in my frantic quest to use up some of the fresh herbs in my overgrown garden, I dragged out some leftover vanilla buttercream from the freezer and mixed in several varieties to make the filling.

This turned out to be one of my best macaron combos ever. The sweet, tart flavor of the goji shells combined with the medley of herbs wrapped in vanilla flavor was outstanding. The bright colored goji powder also contributed a soft beautiful color to the shells. Bonus!

But these were hard won. I had made batch after batch of these goji shells, only to have them all fail. I wouldn't give up because you know I never do.  So after trying different fixes like aging the egg whites longer and beating the egg whites a bit more, I finally hit the jackpot (or grew the feet) when I reduced the 2 tablespoons of goji powder in the shells to 2 teaspoons.

It seems my mac mojo is back people.

Goji Berry Macarons with Mixed Herb
Vanilla Buttercream Filling

For the goji berry shells:

Use a kitchen scale for precise measurements.

  • 90 grams of egg whites - aged at least 2 days. Let them sit out on the counter uncovered.
  • 25-50 grams of fine granulated sugar
  • 200 grams of powdered sugar (minus 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons ground dehydrated goji berry powder
  • 110 Grams of almond flour*
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
*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.

  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use a Silpat.
  • Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour together or pulse them together briefly in a food processor. Make sure there are no large pieces. 
  • Remove and discard two teaspoons of the mixture and whisk in the 2 teaspoons of the goji berry powder 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. Add the pinches of salt and cream of tartar.
  • Add the powdered sugar/almond/goji berry mixture to the egg white mixture and fold, using quick strokes at first then slow down. The batter should have a "flowing like lava" consistency.  Make a peak of the batter and if it does not disappear after 5-7 seconds, keep folding. If it's running all over the place, you will probably have to start over. 
  • Place a pastry bag fitted with a round-shaped tip in a tall water and fold the edges down around the glass.
  • Fill the pastry bag with the macaron batter, twist the open top to secure and pipe circles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or on a Silpat. 
  • Let the macarons dry for about a half hour or until they harden.
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Place the macarons on the middle rack in the oven. I keep the oven door propped open with a dish towel or wooden spoon.
  • I place another empty baking sheet on top to prevent the shells from becoming toasted and discolored.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  • When checking them after 10 minutes or so,  if the ones in the back of the sheet seem to be cooking faster that the ones in front, flip the tray around.
  • To test to see if they are done, peel the baking paper or Silpat back, if the shell comes off easily, they are done.
  • If you do have a problem with the shells sticking to the surface when removed from the oven, lift up the baking paper and pour a bit of water underneath. this will steam them off the paper.
  • Transfer to a baking rack and let cool completely before matching up the shells into pairs according to size and then fill.

For the mixed herb vanilla buttercream:

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (I used rosemary, sage, basil, tarragon, oregano and thyme)
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Place the butter, 2 cups of the powdered sugar and the milk in a mixer and cream together.
  • Mix in the vanilla extract.
  • Add the rest of the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until combined. If the mixture is too liquid, add more powdered sugar.
  • Mix in the fresh herbs.
  • Fit a pastry bag with a large round tip and fill the shells with the buttercream.

1 comment:

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