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!