I've tried to make these several times before over the years but always coming up with a big fail. I don't know if my piping skills have increased or I am just making a better French macaron batter, but these worked.
Most likely, it's the mysterious macaron convergence that happens once in a while when it all inexplicably goes smoothly. Well not entirely. Most of the yellow shells cracked. No idea why. I divided the batter into three parts and tinted them all different colors, all in the same way, with the same materials. Go figure.
Macaron baking logic is not logical at all. I am so used to it by now, when things go awry, I just shrug and plod on.
After the batter was colored to my liking, I piped out egg shapes purposely using almond flour that had the skin left as opposed to the pure creamy almost white variety. My thinking was it would provide enough flecks to look like speckles. However, after checking the first round of photographs, the shells were too subtle for my liking so I went for a more obvious look.
For the fix, I diluted brown paste food coloring with bit of alcohol, dipped a small paintbrush in the mixture and flicked the color onto the shells. Much better.
Otherwise, I left the shells plain flavored and opted for rich chocolate ganache filling. These are a perfect, festive addition to any Easter brunch dessert table. I recommend serving them in Easter grass or a paper bird's nest.
Speckled Egg French Macarons with Chocolate Ganache Filling
For the Speckled Egg French macaron 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)
- 110 Grams of almond flour*
- Pinch of cream of tarter
- Pinch of salt
- Yellow, pink and blue powdered or paste food coloring
- Brown paste food coloring
- 1 tablespoon clear drinking alcohol (vodka, etc.)
*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.
- 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 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.
- Divide the batter into three parts and add food coloring to each.
- 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 egg shapes 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.
- Place shells on a piece of parchment paper. Mix a bit of brown paste food color into the alcohol.
- Dip a paintbrush into the diluted color, hold the brush over the macaron shells and use your finger to flick the bristles of the brush sending flecks of brown onto the shells.
- Let the speckles dry then match up the shells into pairs according to size and then fill.
For the chocolate ganache:
I used THIS recipe from Joy of Baking