Monday, February 24, 2014

Macaron Monday: Cashew Cardamom French Macarons with Lavender Buttercream Filling


Today I am showing off more cashew meal love with these lovely flavored French macarons. As I said previously, using cashew flour when making French macarons gives them a whole other taste dimension.



For the shells, I went for cardamom spice to balance the sweet nutty cashew flavor. Cardamom turned out to be macaron shells' best friend.



Never thought I would say this but I am longing for the spring day this year I can start planting my herb garden. I am a recently converted gardener and spend some of these long snowy weekends flipping through seed catalog porn. My lavender did very well this year and I eagerly anticipate it's return and will add a few more plants. Instead of solely harvesting the dried buds I want to try making extract. Overly ambitious? Probably.



Using lavender in buttercream has proven to be one of my favorite macaron filling flavors. It's elegant enough to use for wedding celebrations and when paired with a more earthy spice like cardamom, it brightens the flavor and balances the warmth.


Cashew Cardamom French Macarons 
with Lavender Buttercream Filling



For the Cardamom macaron shells:

Use a kitchen scale for precise measurements.

Ingredients:
  • 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
  • 2 tablespoons Cardamom powder
  • 110 Grams of cashew meal (found at Trader Joe's)
  • Pinch of cream of tarter
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or use a silpat.
  • Sift the powdered sugar and cashew meal together or pulse them together briefly in a food processor. Make sure there are no large pieces. 
  • Remove and discard two tablespoons of the mixture and whisk in the 2 tablespoons of the cardamom 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/cashew/cardamom 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 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 Lavender 
Buttercream filling:

Ingredients:
  • 1 stick butter room temperature
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lavender extract
  • 1/4 cup dried lavender
Directions:
  • Beat the butter, extract and milk with one cup of the powdered sugar.
  • Add the remaining powdered sugar one cup at a time.
  • Stir in the dried lavender
  •  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.

3 comments:

  1. You make the best macarons, Lora. I love the use of cashew meal instead of almond.

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  2. Cashew meal and cardamom sound like a wonderful pairing. Lovely looking macs yet again and I have no doubt that you will make some awesome lavender extract this year!

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  3. You are always so innovative with your flavours (and shapes, textures etc!), especially with your macarons. I love the flavour of lavender and would never imagine pairing it with cardamom. England vs India! I love the idea, though and I can actually imagine it working quite well.

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