Monday, March 16, 2015

Macaron Monday: Creme de Menthe French Macarons with Dark Chocolate Buttercream Filling


St. Patrick's Day is upon us tomorrow. So I thought I would flash a wee bit of green to show my Irish friends some love. 


It also is Macaron Monday here on the blog so I combined the two with these lovely green French macarons with the cool flavor of Creme de Menthe.

In the past my St. Paddy's treats have been pretty outlandish and sparkly. These are more subtle in looks but still big on flavor.


Once of my favorite restaurants of my childhood used to hand out complimentary creme de menthe chocolates after dinner. These French macarons made me think of that place, those minty chocolates and it made me smile.



I used Creme de Menthe flavor oil in the shells and just a touch of green food coloring. for the filling I made a dark chocolate buttercream. A perfect pairing. 

I'm wishing everyone a Happy St. Patrick's Day with my French macarons. Because that's how I roll.

Creme de Menthe French Macarons with Dark Chocolate Buttercream Filling



For the Creme de Menthe 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.
  • Pinch of cream of tarter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 25-50 grams extra fine white granulated sugar
  • 200 grams of powdered sugar 
  • 110 Grams of almond flour*
  • 3 drops LorAnn Creme de Menthe flavor oil
  • Green powdered 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.

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. 
  • 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 creme de menthe flavor 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. Fold in the green food coloring, if desired. 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 dark chocolate buttercream or your choice of filling.


For the Dark Chocolate Buttercream Filling:

Ingredients:
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 ounces melted dark chocolate
Directions:
  • Place the butter, 2 cups of the powdered sugar, milk, cocoa powder and melted dark chocolate in a mixer and cream together.
  • 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 or cocoa. If it is too thick add more milk, one teaspoon at a time.
  • Fit a pastry bag with a large round tip and pipe a small amount of buttercream on a macaron shell.
  • Cover with matching shell.

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