So of course I waited until the most humid day so far in PA to go on a French Macaron making marathon. Humidity and making macarons do not mix but I had way too many Cinderella egg whites in the fridge that needed to go to the ball.
Looks aside, I can vouch for the flavors. One of the projects I do with my herbs every year is create flavored sugars. For this macaron I replaced the plain white granulated sugar with a fragrant tarragon version. This homemade sugar also sported little pieces of tarragon I didn't bother to strain out.
I like the way they look in the shells. Something different.
To fill, I lazily used some leftover homemade chocolate buttercream I had in the freezer. Turned out it matched the tarragon flavor perfectly. I love tarragon flavor. So happy now I can have it in a macaron.
Tarragon French Macarons with
Chocolate Buttercream Filling
For the Tarragon 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 tarragon flavored sugar (recipe below)
- 200 grams of powdered sugar
- 110 Grams of almond flour*
- Pinch of cream of tarter
- Pinch of salt
- 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 tarragon 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. 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.
- Fill with chocolate buttercream.
- 1 stick butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- Place butter milk, vanilla, cocoa powder and 2 cups of the powdered sugar in the bowl of a mixer and blend.
- Keep adding the rest of the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until yu get the consistency you like.
- Load the frosting into a pastry bag and fill the macarons.
For the Tarragon Sugar:
One small mason jar. Rinsed and dried.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh tarragon rinsed and dried throughly.
- Starting with the sugar, alternately layer the sugar and tarragon into the jar.
- Close tight with the lid.
- Place in a cool dark lace for a few days before using.