The pastry cream I made yesterday required three egg yolks. What was I supposed to do with the whites? Certainly not throw it away! There was a number of things I could have made; a meringue, pavlova, and of course, the maracrons. And so I went with the macarons.
First, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about if it’s macaroon or macaron. It’s macarON, like you put something ON the table. This is the sandwich cookie with an almond flour base with a filling in between the two. The other kind that everyone pronounces it as, is the macarOON like a racOON. It is a small cookie made out of coconut shreds, sweetened condensed milk, and egg whites. Many people get it mixed up, but if Chef Wolfgang Puck says its so, then it is.
In the past, I’ve used countless different macaron recipes. Some came out great, and some came out…far from great. The ingredients were all the same, the “basic 5” which includes almond flour, powdered sugar, egg whites, sugar, and whatever flavoring powder or gel you wanted the macarons to be whether it is coffee, green tea, vanilla, mint, etc. Some recipes use cream of tartar to support the egg whites, and some just ask you to whip the egg whites longer. Whatever it was, it was the same basic technique, just with different ratios of the ingredients.
Because of so many past fails, hits and misses and barely there macarons, I decided to try something different with this batch. I found a different technique which involves making an italian meringue. Italian meringues are very similar as to how you would make swiss buttercream before you add in the butter or marshmallows before you add in the gelatin. Italian meringue is this giant fluffy white cloud that is subtly sweet and silky at the same time. I hoped using this technique made my macarons softer to the crunch and hopefully more consistent among the trays.
After making a batch, I was in love with this recipe. I think it is my new go to one. While it involves many more steps and more careful measuring, I believe it’s more worth it. I wish I could have used instant coffee instead of ground coffee beans just so that the flavor could be stronger, but it was good either way. To accompany the macarons, I made a white chocolate ganache that I had infused with ground coffee. My kitchen smelled SO good as the cream was being boiled with the coffee.
New technique, same ingredients, different ratios and a new ganache. I would say today has been a productive day in the kitchen.
makes 25-30 macaron sandwich cookies
Recipe adapted from this video, changing the Matcha to Coffee
200 g almond flour
200 g powdered sugar
4 Tbsp ground coffee beans
150 g egg whites, room temperature, split into two (75 and 75)
50 g water
200 g sugar
Sift together the almond flour, powdered sugar, and ground coffee beans into a large bowl. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, whisk 75g of egg whites to soft peak. At the same time, prepare the simple syrup: In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar to 245 degrees F. Once the egg whites have reached soft peak, add the simple syrup in with a steady stream while the mixer is on low. Once all of the syrup is in, increase speed to high until it reaches a stiff peak and is smooth and glossy. This is the Italian meringue.
Take 1/3 of the meringue and the remaining 75 g of egg whites and add it to the almond flour mixture. Fold until it is completely incorporated. Fold in the rest of the Italian meringue until it reaches a ribbon consistency, but still holds the volume from the meringue. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe onto a parchment paper, in circles of 1 1/2 inch diameter. Tap the tray on the table to release any air bubbles, and for decorating purposes, sprinkle on some ground coffee beans. Set aside for at least 30 minutes so the macarons can dry on top. This prevents the air from being released through the tops of the macaron cookie, which will result in cracks on the top. What you want instead is to force the air to come out the bottom of the cookie, making the “feet.”
Preheat oven to 320 degrees F. Once the cookies are completely dry, place into the oven for 12-15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely before taking it off the parchment paper.
White Chocolate Coffee Ganache
150 g heavy cream
4 Tbsp ground coffee beans
200 g white chocolate
In a small sauce pan, boil the heavy cream. Remove from cream and add in the ground coffee. Let it steep for 5-10 minutes, then strain the coffee beans out. Place the coffee infused cream onto a double broiler and heat. Add in the chocolate and whisk together until completely melted. Remove from heat and let it cool down to room temperature. When about to use, pour into a stand mixer and whisk until it has lightened in color. Pour into a piping bag and it is ready to use!