Monday, November 10, 2014

Butterscotch French Macarons with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

One of my absolutely favorite treats as a child was butterscotch pudding. I also seriously coveted those butterscotch hard candies my grandmother carried around occasionally handing them out to us as treats.

The grownup version of my butterscotch lust involves butterscotch flavored vodka martinis. Discovered those at a favorite watering hole in LA. Back when I lived there in the mid 90's, we used to go there after work on the Paramount Lot and down these unique flavored drinks. Once I discovered how to make them at home (butterscotch schnapps + Vanilla Absolute + crushed butterscotch candies for the rims of the glasses), these were enjoyed on special occasions every place I lived since. 

I even regularly smuggled several bottles of the butterscotch schnapps in my suitcase from the States back to Germany where, for all it's great lifestyle attributes, was sadly lacking in butterscotch schnapps. 

Here's another grownup version and maybe a not so kitschy one.  Butterscotch flavored French macarons with vanilla bean flavored buttercream sandwiched between. A few drops of LorAnn butterscotch flavor oil was added to the shell batter.  When I found leftover vanilla bean buttercream in the freezer from my sassafras macaronsI decided to stick with my favorite martini flavor and go with a vanilla pairing. The result was perfect.

The taste takes me back to childhood, to grandma and also to those balmy nights post TV production in LA, relaxing with my producer colleagues at a sexy Hollywood happy hour. 

Butterscotch French Macarons 
with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

For the Butterscotch 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 extra fine white granulated sugar
  • 200 grams of powdered sugar 
  • 110 Grams of almond flour*
  • 3 drops  butterscotch flavor oil
  • 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.

  • 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. Fold in the butterscotch oil. 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 under the shell, 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 vanilla bean buttercream or your choice of filling.

For the Vanilla Bean buttercream:


  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • Place the butter, 2 cups of the powdered sugar and the milk in a mixer and cream together.
  • Mix in the vanilla extract.
  • Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds and add them to the bowl.
  • 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 pipe some buttercream on a macaron shell. Top with a matching size shell.

1 comment:

  1. *butterscotch* macarons? Awesome! Such delicious little cookies :)


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