In my amazing mind reading abilities way, I can tell that you’re thinking “Amber, we’ve seen macrons before on this very blog. In fact, we’ve seen them twice! Way to repeat – I think you should rename your blog “one trick pony”” and then you make a dismissive hand gesture in my general direction. First of all, you’re a jerk 😉 . Second of all, macarons are delicious, and you can never have too many, so don’t be crazy. And thirdly (and most importantly), I like to think y’all know me well enough by now to know that this won’t be a simple repeat of the original macarons (well, they are a little bit, but stay with me for a minute here).
Alteration #1 – toasted hazelnuts instead of almonds in the cookie dough! (and technically speaking, I’m sure any nut you feel like grinding up into a powder could work here. You’d probably want to pick a “drier” nut (so maybe not peanuts), but otherwise, the sky’s the limit for flavour variety. If you’re allergic to nuts in general, you could maybe even try grinding some kind of seeds into a powder. If you do try something else, let me know how it goes).
Alteration #2 – this one is two-fold (well…multi-fold actually). I’ve been wanting to try making a frosting or filling using aquafaba (brine from a can of chickpeas for those who didn’t read my previous post about this). It’s also about my recent discovery and love of cacao butter and it’s white chocolate-esque deliciousness, so aquafaba and cacao butter (aka white chocolate) filling is on this menu. White chocolate on it’s own though? Way too boring for me. Some kind of combination is most definitely in order. Another thing I really love? Elderflower flavour. This was a discovery made by me during my lifelong obsession with trying every new cider that becomes available at the LCBO. I love hard cider, but find the vast majority of them are way too sweet. A few years ago, I found this Rekorderlig Elderflower cider and absolutely loved it (which, my luck being what it is, is why I think over the past few months, it seems to have completely disappeared from the LCBO. It’s possibly even been discontinued in general. *le sigh*. In case you’re interested, my other two favourite ciders are Spirit Tree and the only very recently discovered by me cider Ernest Cider (caveat about Ernest Cider though, they incorporate honey into it, so if you are a vegan who avoids honey, just thought I’d give you the heads up)). Anywho, in doing some research on elderflower ciders, I found a genius who recommended adding St Germain Elderflower liqueur to your favourite cider to get that flavour yourself! Now, I still haven’t tried this, but my follow up thought on reading this was “What!! There’s such a thing as elderflower liqueur???!!! How have I been missing out on this??!!” (there just aren’t enough question mark and exclamation mark symbols in the world to express my excitement at this news, and I also thought I should save some for other people to use 😉 ). An immediate trip to the liquor store was in order so that I could procure this posthaste.
So now I’m faced with “Hey, I still have a fair bit of leftover cacao butter and I’m really wanting to use this Elderflower liqueur in…well…everything.” Delicious combo born – white chocolate elderflower filling. This in turn made me think of strawberries and cream, so strawberry added to the cookies, and Bob’s your uncle (*gasp* he is???!!! But he’s 10 years younger than me! 😉 ), some awesome macarons were born.
Yield: 2 dozen cookies
NOTE: THIS RECIPE NEEDS TO BE STARTED A DAY BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO MAKE THEM!!! (I hate when recipes don’t tell me this and then I get partway through making something and have to say “oh crap, why didn’t I read all the instructions first”, so I’m trying to save you from my stupidity 🙂 ).
- 1 1/4 cups ground toasted hazelnuts
- 1 cup icing sugar
- Aquafaba – aka liquid from a can of chickpeas (reserve chickpeas for another use. May I humbly suggest hummus?) – should have about a cup’s worth
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 cup cane sugar pulsed a few times in a food processor or spice grinder to make it finer
- 1 teaspoon strawberry extract
- 1 recipe elderflower icing (see recipe below)
- At least a day before you want to make your macarons, make the aquafaba. In a small saucepan, pour all the strained juice from a can of chickpeas and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer until it’s reduced to about 1/3 of a cup. I just kept a large glass measuring cup nearby and checked on it periodically. Once it’s reduced, remove from heat and allow to cool. Place in a covered container and refrigerate at least overnight or until ready to use.
- In a food processor, combine the ground hazelnuts and icing sugar and pulse for about 1 minute. Sift hazelnut-icing sugar mixture into a bowl to make sure no lumps remain (this will take a bit of time to force through your sifter. At least it did for me, so not to worry).
- If you happen to have a stand mixer, you can use that. I however, do not, so you may also do as I do and feel free to use an electric hand mixer for the following steps. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine aquafaba, cream of tartar and sea salt. Mix on high with mixer until mixture turns foamy and resembles frothy egg whites with no separated liquid left in the bottom of your bowl. This should take several minutes.
- Gradually add in your pulsed cane sugar. I did this in 3 batches making sure each batch was mixed in before adding more.
- Add in your strawberry extract and mix for another 1-2 minutes or until you get a thick, glossy meringue-like substance.
- Add half of your hazelnut/icing sugar mixture into the meringue, and fold gently with a spatula until it’s incorporated with the meringue. Add the second half of your hazelnut/icing sugar mixture, and continue to fold it into the batter. Continue folding until you end up with a mixture that resembles thick lava. Be careful not too overmix your batter however (you don’t want it to become too runny)
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle with macaron mixture and pipe into 2 inch rounds on a Silpat. You’ll probably want to have 2-3 trays ready. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can feel free to just do what I always used to do before I bought one and cut off the corner of a plastic sandwich baggie and pipe that way (it will definitely be messier and more of a pain, but totally doable).
- Once you’ve piped out all your pretty little rounds, slam the tray down hard (just try and wake up that baby who lives next door to you 😉 ) on your kitchen counter to eliminate any air bubbles in your piped macaron mixture.
- Allow your macaron trays to rest in a coolish area (basically not on the stove) for 2-3 hours. They’re ready to bake when they have turned matte and you are able to gently touch the surface of the shells without anything sticking to your finger.
- (FYI – this is the part that will be a bit of a pain) Preheat oven to 220F and bake each tray individually for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn off the oven and leave macarons in there for another 10 minutes with the door closed, then a further 10 minutes with the door open. Repeat for remaining trays of macarons.
- Spread white chocolate elderflower filling (see recipe below) between 2 macaron shells to create sandwiches.
- Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
slightly adapted from this recipe
Yield: approx 1 1/2 cups filling
- 1/2 cup food grade cacao butter (melted)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
- empty ice cube tray
- liquid from 1 19oz can of chickpeas
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup elderflower liqueur
- Place cocoa butter and coconut oil in a small bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes or until oils are melted.
- Remove from the microwave and whisk vigorously with a fork until fully incorporated
- Pour your oil mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Sift your sugar and cream of tartar into a bowl and set aside.
- Now it’s time to reduce the Aquafaba. Pour your chickpea liquid into a pot and set it on the stove on medium high. You’ll want it to reach about a quarter of its original amount. I just kept a large glass measuring cup nearby and checked on it periodically (it will take about 15 to 20 minutes).
- Add your sugar and cream of tartar immediately after removing the aquafaba from the stove. The more thoroughly you mix at this stage, the silkier your buttercream will be.
- Open up your freezer and test your oil mixture by touching it with your finger and ensuring it’s firmed up. If it has, remove your tray from the freezer and let it thaw while you do the next step.
- Pour your mixture into a a medium sized bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high for 6 minutes or until you’ve reached a stiff meringue. When in doubt, keep whipping. It’s hard to overwhip this meringue. Set aside.
- Throw your oil “cubes” into the meringue, but not until they’ve thawed enough for your finger to make a dent in them when you press into one. It seems to take about 20 to 30 minutes of sitting at room temperature before oil is ready. If you wait too long, your buttercream will be soupy and melted, and if you don’t wait long enough, your oil cubes won’t incorporate properly into the meringue.
- Add in vanilla and mix on medium until your buttercream is smooth. Set aside.
- Add your elderflower liqueur to a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Simmer until liquid is reduced by half.
- Add reduced elderflower liqueur to your filling and mix until fully incorporated.
- Refrigerate frosting until it has firmed up enough to be spreadable and fill macarons.