Monday, May 18, 2015

Lemon French Macarons

I believe that macarons were invented for special occasions. They are just so decadent and delicate, that they deserve a special audience, and people who will appreciate the time and effort that it takes to make such a beautiful masterpiece. Or maybe it's just all of the love speaking, since I witnessed one of my best friend's since 2nd grade get engaged this weekend? We had the pleasure of being present when her boyfriend proposed at her birthday dinner on Friday night, which completely took her by surprise. And just like macarons, love takes time and effort to build such a strong bond, never to be broken. So cheers to Melissa and John! May you be blessed with a long and healthy marriage, filled with LOTS of macarons! 

Lemon French Macarons

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • yellow food coloring
Lemon Buttercream Filling
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • yellow food coloring

Prepare 2-3 baking sheets with silpat, parchment paper, or macaron specific baking liners. Also, place a piping bag or gallon ziplock bag in a large cup with the top folded over the outsides. This will make it easier when you transfer the batter.

Whisk the almond flour and powdered sugar together in a medium bowl. Run the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a larger bowl. You may have a little bit of almond flour that is too large to fit through the sieve. Discard. This is a very important step if you want the macarons to be smooth.

In a stand mixer or bowl with a hand mixer, whisk the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add in the cream of tartar. Increase speed to medium-high and add in the superfine sugar. Whisk until stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy, about 5-8 minutes more. When you remove the whisk, the whipped mixture should stand up off of the whisk. Add in the lemon juice, zest, vanilla, and food coloring. Whip for 1 minute more.

Fold the egg white mixture into the almond flour mixture until well combined. The batter should be very fluid and when you lift the batter up with a spatula, it should fold back into itself within a matter of seconds.

Place the batter into a piping bag or large ziplock bag that you prepared earlier. Cut the tip off, about 1/4-inch. Pipe 1-inch circles about an inch from each other. They should not spread too much, so you can pipe them fairly close together. Once all of the batter has been piped, tap each tray 2-3 times against the counter to release any air bubbles in the batter. Then let the macarons dry out at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour until they are set and firm to the touch. The length of drying time will vary depending on how humid it is where you are.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place the 1st tray in the oven on the middle to bottom part of the oven (farthest from the heat source) and cook for 12-15 minutes, rotating halfway through. The cookies will be just beginning to turn golden. Remove and set on the counter to cool for 2-3 minutes until transferring onto a wire cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining trays of cookies.

To make the buttercream; whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar, lemon juice, zest, vanilla, cream, and food coloring. Mix until well combined. Pour the buttercream into a piping back or ziplock bag. Cut the end off of the bag and pipe a small amount of buttercream onto one cookie, then top with another cookie. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the freezer. Remove from the freezer 30 minutes before serving.

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