Monday, April 28, 2014

Macaron Monday: Espresso French Macarons with Peppermint Buttercream Filling


Last November I participated in an online bake sale auction to benefit the Philippines after the devastating typhoon. The event was expertly organized by Tina De Guzman of Pinay in Texas Cooking Corner

The images of damage and devastation were heartbreaking.  So I immediately volunteered two dozen French macarons. Flavors were buyer's choice. 



The bidding started at $25 but no one was more shocked than me when one lovely woman in Texas bought the macarons outright for $200.

I was so pleased to contribute that much money to the cause. When we got in touch to decide about flavors I directed her to my blog to look at some option to choose.




The buyer came back with three flavors options, espresso, coconut and lemon.  I had fun creating French macarons based on these flavor options and here is one of them.



These espresso shells were a no brainer. I used peppermint to reflect the season as these were shipped to the buyer in time for a December holiday party. The result was a dynamic flavor combo of smooth coffee flavor spiced up by the sharpness of the peppermint.



Espresso French Macarons with
Peppermint Buttercream Filling

For the espresso 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 instant espresso powder
  • 110 Grams of almond flour*
  • Pinch of cream of tarter
  • 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.

Directions:

  • 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 tablespoons of the mixture and whisk in the 2 tablespoons of the espresso 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/espressomixture 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 Peppermint Buttercream:

Ingredients:
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Directions:
  • Place the butter, 2 cups of the powdered sugar and the cream in a mixer and cream together.
  • Mix in the peppermint 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.
  • Fit a pastry bag with a large round tip and fill with the buttercream.

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