Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lavender & Vanilla Bean French Macarons

After I 'mastered' the macaron, I was flying on air! I couldn't wait to dirty up my hands and have a go at them again. I had this perfect little package of almond flour waiting for me to use it up (more about this perfect almond flour below) - but I was waiting for the special opportunity to use it. My friend's birthday was just around the corner and I knew there was one thing that would make her heart explode - a plethora of French macarons!
These lavender macarons are especially pretty! I love the color of the light violet and the speckled buttercream in the center. These came out perfectly - lucky me! The lavender flavor is very prominent, even though I just sprinkled the tops with the dried lavender. It's very floral, so if you aren't used to it, you might be surprised by the flavor. My favorite part though is the vanilla bean buttercream! It's so fabulous, I cannot even express! It literally tastes like a delicious vanilla bean ice cream.
About this perfect almond flour, Sam, from Oh Nuts!, was kind enough to send me some fabulous and very generous samples of anything I fancied from their website. Trust me, I was having a hard time picking the things that I wanted, because there's every kind of dried fruit and nut a girl could ever want! I finally decided on the almond flour, dried peaches, Antwerp pistachios and hazelnuts. Everything was delicious, and I swear I'm not just saying that!
I've never tried dried peaches before but these were wonderful and I can't wait to stuff them into a cookie! The Antwerp pistachios were an extreme treat because they are unlike the regular pistachios you get from the supermarket, they are smaller and have this great flavor. Of course, I had to get the almond flour for macaron making! This flour was perfect and especially great because the skins had been removed, which makes for a prettier macaron!

If you need some fine quality fruit & nut products, go to the Oh Nuts! website immediately!

Lavendar & Vanilla Bean French Macarons

Yields: 2 dozen macarons

Adapted from here.


For the macarons:

1 cup powdered sugar + 2 tbsn.

1/2 cup almond powder or meal + 1 tbsn.

2 large egg whites, room temperature

5 tbsn. granulated sugar

purple food coloring

culinary lavendar buds, about 2 tbsn.


For the vanilla bean SMBC:

1/2 cup sugar

2 large egg whites

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 vanilla bean, split & seeded

1 tsp. vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Have a pastry bad with a plain tip (about 1/2 inch) ready. In a blender or food processor, grind together the powdered sugar and almond powder/ meal to make sure there are no lumps. Add the purple food coloring into the granulated sugar to your desired shade and mix until combined. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the dyed sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes. Carefully fold in the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is smooth and there are no streaks of egg whites, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag. Pipe the batter on the prepared baking sheet in 1 inch circles (about 1 tbsn. each), evenly spaced 1 inch apart. Sprinkle some violet buds on top of each macaron. Tap the baking sheet a few times on the counter to flatten the macarons and let air 'dry' for 1 hour. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Let cool completely before removing them.


To make the SMBC, put the sugar and egg white in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like marshmallow cream. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until it cools and forms a thick, shiny meringue, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment, and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth. Beat on high speed until it is thick and very smooth, about 6 - 10 minutes. Fold in the vanilla beans and extract. To assemble the macarons, pair the shells off into similar sizes. Take one shell and pipe about 1 tbsn. of the vanilla bean SMBC onto it. Top with the other shell and enjoy!

Oops! I guess I didn't properly mix in the purple food coloring :/

7 comments:

  1. I can't describe how amazing your macaroon creations look! The colour, the thick vanilla buttercream and the wonderful texture you achieved is just out of this world! Très bien!!! And a wonderful combination..the vanilla and lavender. No doubt your friend was touched

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  2. i looooooove the color of these, so pretty!

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  3. Yum. Love the mirrored picture

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  4. These are so pretty! I love the little lavender buds sprinkled on top. BTW, where do you get your culinary lavender from? I've had trouble finding it. The vanilla bean butter cream looks yummy too.

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  5. @ kirbie: i got my culinary lavender from cost plus world market! i randomly stumbled upon it there, they have great 'unique' items there :)

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  6. this looks delicious. and hey you're an anteater too! ZOT ZOTTTT WASSSSSUP!

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