Macarons are not an easy feat. The first time I ever made them, I found a perfect recipe on Pinterest. But times 2,3,4 I opted to try new recipes from various places and they basically all turned into complete disasters.
English afternoon tea and French macaron cookies, has there ever been a more perfect pair? But they’re the most notorious baked good on the internet. And while I’m not going to explain how to make the perfect macaron in this post, I will guide you to the recipe and how-to that I follow to get envy-worthy macarons (it always feels good when people ask where you bought a homemade good).
When I started curating my perfect fall menu for this year’s tea, I knew a simple vanilla macaron wasn’t going to make the cut. I eventually landed on an earl grey flavour, since I absolutely love anything earl grey. Originally turned to Pinterest for a recipe, but I’ve learned that macaron recipes can range drastically across the internet. Tread wisely, question often.
Admittedly, the above batch of resting macarons were not the ones that ultimately survived. You’ll notice these macarons look rough, which was due to a high almond flour to egg white ratio and likely under beating the mixture.
This batch also featured earl grey tea from a Lipton tea bag, but I’d recommend using a freshly ground, loose leaf tea to really bring out the earl grey flavour. In my research, I noticed complaints from people testing various recipes and not noticing much of the tea whenever they used the powder-like substance from the tea bags. But freshly ground tea leaves have a very pronounced flavour in the macarons. This option doesn’t have to be expensive, since you’ll just need about a tablespoon or two, I picked some up at Bulk Barn.
Do: use freshly ground earl grey tea leaves
Don’t: use stale tea powder from a pre-fab tea bag
If you’re wondering what real fall vibes radiate off of a simple earl grey flavour, you’d be right to assume that I took things a bit further with my filling. The table was seriously lacking in pumpkin pie (still my favourite part of Thanksgiving), so I knew I wanted to incorporate pumpkin in this macaron filling in some way.
Enter: white chocolate ganache with a bit of pumpkin puree.
Ganache is a simple mixture of melted white chocolate and whipping cream. The consistency can range depending on the ratio of cream to chocolate, but for this recipe I went with a 1 to 2 ratio, respectively. It whipped up into a lovely texture and the pumpkin was a great complement to the earl grey cookie.
To make the macaron cookies:
(basic macaron recipe courtesy of Ahead of Thyme)
3/4 cup almond flour
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 large egg whites, at room temperature (best if a few days old)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
I added 2 tbsp of freshly ground earl grey tea leaves to flavour them
Combine almond flour and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl and whisk together. Pass mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing down on clumps.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites using a hand-mixer or stand-mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes until soft peaks form. Add the granulated sugar and beat on high for 2 more minutes until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Add vanilla and beat on high for another 30 seconds.
Gently fold in dry ingredients and repeat until mixture is smooth and shiny, (with no visible dry ingredients) and begins to run a little but not too runny. Think lava consistency. Do not overfold.
Take a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and fill with the batter.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and pipe batter into 1.5 inch round circles, 1 inch apart.
Note: Using a piping template makes things a heck of a lot easier. Download my 1.5 in macaron template here. Print on 11 x 17 sized paper. Do not “fit to page”.
Tap the baking sheet firmly against the counter to release any air bubbles.
Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes until they form a skin.
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway, until cookies have risen and just set. The cookies should be able to just come off the baking sheet when you try to lift them.
Let cool for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.
For the pumpkin white chocolate filling
This is a simple ganache, feel free to adjust the amount to fit your needs as long as the ratio of cream to white chocolate stays 1:2.
1 cup, whipping cream
2 cups, white chocolate chips
3 tbsp, pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
With a double boiler set-up on your stovetop, place the white chocolate in the bowl. As it melts, be sure to stir often and slowly incorporate cream.
Once chocolate has melted completely, stir to combine cream and chocolate. Remove from heat.
Add in the pumpkin puree, stir well.
Cover mixture and let rest until cool. Place in fridge overnight to become cold.
Just before you plan to use the filling, gently stir the mixture to redistribute the pumpkin puree. Beat with mixer on med-high for 4-5 minutes until whipped cream consistency.
Use immediately. Fill piping bag with 1/2 inch round tip with mixture and pipe onto centres of macaron cookies (steer clear of edges).
Top with other half of macaron cookie and let rest for 24 hours in fridge for best results.