Monday, November 17, 2014

Macaron Monday: Fuji Apple French Macarons with Cocoa Walnut Butter Filling

Last summer I met the Walnut Butter Man. Anthony Novelle is a sports nutritionist/wellness professional who created a line of all natural walnut butters. Each vegan, kosher, gluten free, dairy free, no GMO, low glycemic jar is packed with healthy, natural flavor.

Of course, I immediately lusted after the product with one goal in mind - to use it as a French macaron filling. Anthony gifted me with two jars, one natural and one cacao flavor. I chose the latter to pair with fuji apple flavored French macaron shells. The shells were flavored by grinding up dehydrated fuji apple slices from Trader Joe's and adding the resulting powder to the shell batter.

For optics, red food coloring was stirred into the shell batter and almost throughly mixed in. I wanted the shells to have a slight marbleized effect by not completely mixing in the color.

The feet came out a little funky on these macarons but the flavor was fantastic. The cacao walnut butter has no sugar. It's all flavor and works beautifully with the sweet, slightly tart apple flavored shells.

Fuji Apple French Macarons with 
Cocoa Walnut Butter Filling

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
  • 2 tablespoons ground dehydrated fuji apple powder
  • 110 Grams of almond flour*
  • Pinch of cream of tarter
  • Pinch of salt
  • Red food coloring (optional)
*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. 
  • Remove and discard two tablespoons of the mixture and whisk in the 2 tablespoons of the fuji apple 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/raspberry 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. Add red food coloring if you want to color the shells. If you want them to have a red/natural swirled color, leave the food coloring half blended in the macaron shell batter.
  • 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 use a pastry bag to pipe the filling onto one shell and cover with the other.  Fill the shells with walnut, peanut almond or any nut butter you desire.

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