I am indeed a girl who adores her sweets and French ones at that! My absolute favorite treats are French Macarons. They are little meringue pillows made from egg whites and almost always almond flour and filled with anything from butter cream to curds to jams!
Although not the easiest things to create the finished product is always worth the work! My most recent creation is a Chai Tea Macaron with a Cardamon Cream filling and below is my recipe and the method I have found works best for my oven. Keep in mind Macarons are delicate little creatures and timing may vary depending on your own oven.
For the Chai Tea Shells:
1 Cup Confectionery Sugar
1/2 Cup Almond Flour (my favorite brand is from Bob's Red Mill)
2 Egg Whites
1 pinch of cream of tartar
5 tbsp Granulate White Sugar
1 tbsp Ground Black Tea
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Allspice
1/8 tsp Ground Clove Powder
Powdered Gold Dust (available at Michaels)
For the Cardamon Cream Filling:
8 tbsp Softened Salted Butter
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Ground Cardamon (more depending on your taste preference)
3 cups Confectionary Sugar
2-3 tbsp Vanilla Almond Milk
Preheat the oven to 375. Prepare two baking sheets both lined with parchment paper. Sift almond flour, confectioners' sugar, salt, tea and spices all together in one bowl and set aside. In your mixing bowl add 1 pinch of cream of tartar to egg whites and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed and gradually add cane sugar. Increase speed and beat just until stiff peaks form and egg whites cling to the whisk.
Sift flour mixture over whites. Fold mixture together with a rubber spatula -using short strokes at first -until just combined. Use bigger folds as batter loosens. You will know the batter is ready when it cascades from the spatula like a thick ribbon. Transfer mixture to a piping bag ( I often just use sandwich bags ). Pipe 1 or 1 1/2" rounds on the parchment lined baking sheets. Let piped Macarons stand uncovered for 15 minutes to form a crust. Decrease temperature to 325 just before placing the baking sheet in the oven. Bake pans one at a time for 10 minutes, turning halfway through at 5 minutes.Remove sheet immediately from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes on the sheet and then carefully move the shells to a cooling rack. Oven temp should be increased to 375 then decreased to 325 just before the 2nd baking sheet goes in.
To make the cardamon butter cream filling cream softened butter and confectionery sugar in your mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on med-high until light and fluffy. Now add in vanilla extract, ground cardamon and slowly add in almond milk 1 tbsp at a time until desired frosting consistency is met. (You may not use all the almond milk). Now pipe the filling into a piping bag and pipe onto halves of the shells. Be careful not to over fill the shells or squeeze too hard when sandwiching them together as they are ever so delicate.
In a small dish mix edible gold dust and a drop of water, mix and carefully brush across the top of each Macaron and enjoy!
*The perfect pairing for these little treats is a cup of Earl Grey tea with a touch of milk and honey....or perhaps a glass of Brut Champagne *