Thursday, July 28, 2011

French cookies part 4 Lavender vanilla bean macarons


With trepidation, fear, and determination, I marched back into my kitchen and did battle with the macaron.  I aged,whipped, folded, piped, banged, dried, double panned, tossed salt over my shoulder, and prayed.  And it worked.

Insert sound of maniacal laughter. 

And now a few facts and tips.  I used the macaron recipe from Martha Stewart for Parisian macaron, and you can view it by clicking here.  Almond flour is called for in all macaron recipes, and in a fit of thriftiness I made my own by grinding up almonds in a food processor.  I didn't grind mine up finely enough because you can see little lumps in the cookie.  Next time, I either need to shell out money for the almond flour or go do a better job of pulverizing my almonds.  They still taste wonderful, but it does affect the smoothness of the tops. 

See what I'm talking about?  Now for the little tricks I used this time. 

1.  I aged my egg whites
2.  I banged the baking sheets a couple of times on the counter (scaring my dog) to help reduce air bubbles.
3.  After piping the batter onto the baking sheet, I let it dry to the touch - about 30 minutes.
4.  I used two baking sheets, one on top of the other for baking.

Not one cracked top, and they all had the desired little "feet".  That's me laughing maniaclly again.

And now, on to the filling.  A lot of macarons are filled with Swiss meringue buttercream, and that sounded like a very good plan to me.  Once again, I turn to Martha for the recipe.  For this somewhat time consuming but easy recipe for SMB click here.  The amount of butter is truly horrifying, but as I have said before, it makes quite a large batch and stores wonderfully in the fridge or freezer.  Just try not to think about it too much.

The filling is where my flavorings went.  I added a very small amount of culinary lavender and some vanilla bean.  Tinted a soft lavender color, it just looked beautiful.  A word of caution here:  use only the tiniest bit of lavender.  I added just a little too much and it was too strong. 

For me (and Tony) the chocolate champagne macarons were the best tasting, but these were the best looking.  Next time I make the chocolate ones, I will add some brown food coloring to the batter to give a nice rich color to the cookie. 

Tomorrow will conclude French cookie week with a visit from Marie Antoinette.  Until then, heureux Jeudi!

My link friends today are
Its a Keeper Thursday
House of Hepworths
Between Naps on the Porch
No Minimalist Here



  1. Discovered your wonderful blog via BNOTP ... these are fabulous!!! I'm your newest follower ..xo HHL

    ATTEATUDE and CHocolate

  2. OMG! These look just like the macarons at Lauduree in Paris. You have definitely inspired me to make them. I will buy the almond flour at a local Asian shop.

  3. I had the most fun reading this blog post!! You are too funny! Really though, you have to have a sense of humor with french macarons or they will drive you crazy!! You did a great job and I LOVE the color and the way you presented the cookies! Well done!! Jina

  4. Thanks Jina - you are too sweet. And the macarons do indeed require a sense of humor and perhaps a pinch crazy. To everyone else - go over to Jina's place to see truly gorgeous macarons!

  5. Lisa, you words on my blog were so touching. I wish we lived closer so I could get to know you in "real life" are a hero to me...ya know I still have not kicked my macaron fear. These are lovely and the pix are so pretty. Lavender is a FAVORITE of mine! A job well done! YOu have to be so happy with yourself. :)