Sunday, August 11, 2013

Vanilla Macarons with Peach Buttercream

           Macarons could be my next favorite baking trend.  They may not be as reliable as my cupcakes, or as easy to make.  In my mind, they had always been in a higher, "fancier" class of desserts, and could only be made on very special occasions. After making the French cookies a few times, though, I have realized that the process can be quite simple, and the result is just as versatile and crowd-pleasing as cupcakes. Macarons even have the same hand-held dessert appeal as the famous, ubiquitous cupcake.

            I entered these macarons in my county's annual fair for the "miscellaneous cookies" category.  The macaron has a simple, vanilla bean shell which I left white.  Then, I made a buttercream with puree from peaches that my family had just picked that day.  To assemble, pipe a bit of jam onto one cookie, pipe a buttercream border around that, and then place another macaron shell on top.  It's recommended that you wait at least 24 hours before eating the macaron to give the flavors time to mature.

             The process is the same for most macaroons:  sift together dry ingredients, beat egg whites with sugar, fold in the dry ingredients, pipe into circles, let rest, and bake.  Once you get a feel for it, it isn't hard at all.  Just remember to make accurate measurements and to follow directions with precision.

Sift together almond flour (or ground almonds) and powdered sugar. 
Place egg whites in a bowl with the granulated sugar and vanilla bean seeds. 
Beat to soft peaks (don't over-beat)
Fold in dry ingredients until they are well-incorporated and the batter flows like lava (don't over-mix or under-mix)
Pipe batter onto a clean sheet of parchement paper or a silicon baking mat. Tap the pan a few times on the counter to eliminate air bubbles.
Wait 30 minutes to 1 hour for a soft "shell" to form on the surface of the macaron.  It will take the longer amount of time if your kitchen is humid.  
Bake in a 300*F oven for 10-12 minutes, and then let cool.  
To make the buttercream, puree some peach slices in a blender.  
Whip up a mixture of butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla, and salt, and then beat in the peach puree.
Pipe the buttercream and jam onto one macaron shell, and then place the other shell on top.  
                    Next time you make dessert for a special event, why not try macarons?  


Vanilla Macarons with Peach Buttercream

makes 6-8 large macarons
adapted from Annie's Eats


For the macaron shell:
110 grams almond flour (or blanched almonds ground in a food processor)
200 grams confectioners sugar
100 grams egg whites, at room temperature
1 vanilla bean, split open
50 grams granulated sugar
For the peach buttercream:
¾ cup butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of salt

1/4 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup peach puree

apricot or peach jam (optional)


  1. Sift together the almond flour and confectioner's sugar in a medium bowl.
  2. Place egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until foamy.  Add seeds from the vanilla beans and granulated sugar.  Beat on high speed until you have a glossy meringue that holds soft peaks. 
  3. Fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites until they are thoroughly incorporated and the batter flows like lava.  Place the batter into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. 
  4. Line 2 baking sheets with clean parchment paper or silicon mats. Pipe the batter into 1-1/2" rounds. Tap the baking sheets on the counter a few times to eliminate air bubbles.  Let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until the surface of the batter is slightly dry. 
  5. Heat oven to 300. Bake one sheet of macarons for 10-12 minutes. Repeat with the other pan.  Let shells cool completely. 
  6. Make the buttercream: Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, and then beat in the vanilla and salt.  Beat in the peach puree until the frosting is thick.  
  7. If desired, pipe a small amount of jam onto the flat side of one macaron shell.  Then pipe a border of buttercream around the jam and place another macaron shell on top.  Repeat for the rest of the macaron shells. 

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