Cookies and Cream Macarons

Cookies and Cream Macarons 1Another year has come and gone, and as predicted a slew of healthy dishes and diet how-tos flooded my newsfeed as soon as the new year started. I’m all for being healthy and starting with a blank slate, but what’s life without a little treat now and then? Personally, I feel like I’ve been indulging a little more than I should since January. Actually, I think I’ve been eating worse than I did during the holidays. Am I the only person who is at their heaviest from January to March? I’ll chalk it up to holiday blues… and not my obvious laziness. Talking about laziness, does anyone else still have their Christmas tree up? I keep putting that particular task off every week. I just know it’s going to stay up till February. Help.
Cookies and Cream Macarons 4You know what didn’t last though? These macarons. I made this ridiculously tall, four layered red velvet chocolate cookies and cream cake for my brother’s birthday and I happened to have a bit of the frosting leftover, and that is what sparked this macaron.  What makes this cookies and cream frosting different from the standard cookies and cream? It is made with cookies and cream cookie butter. I picked up a jar of this cookie butter from Trader Joe’s months ago but I still had more than half the jar left. Stirred into my go-to vanilla frosting and lots of Oreo cookie crumbs, it tastes just like an Oreo.
Cookies and Cream Macarons 2Do my photos look any different? Mr. L gifted me with a gorgeous Nikon D3200, and I’m hoping to get to learn how to shoot photos correctly with this thing. I’m having a tough time getting the right things to focus. Other than that, I’m ecstatic to start the new year with new equipment and fresh ideas. Here’s to a new year. 🙂
Cookies and Cream Macarons 3
Cookies and Cream Macarons

Basic French Macarons

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
6 Oreos, crushed into crumbs

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 ˚F, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff
  8. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  9. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, pipe 1¼ – 1½ in. rounds.
  10. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.  Take cookie crumbs and sprinkle onto tops of wet batter.
  11. Let the batter stand until the tops of the macarons are dry to the touch, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  12. Preheat the oven to 275-325˚F.  If your oven tends to run hot go for 275˚F, if not then 325˚F.
  13. Bake 10-13 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The batter is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  14. Let cool and fill.

Cookies and Cream Frosting

Ingredients:
½ c. whole milk
3 tbsp. flour
⅛ tsp. salt
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¾  c. cookies and cream cookie butter
12 Oreo cookies, crushed into crumbs

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot over medium heat, whisk milk, salt and flour until combined.
  2. Continuously whisk mixture until thickened to a pudding like consistency.
  3. Once thickened, strain through a mesh strainer into a bowl with a spatula to remove lumps.
  4. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the flour mixture (to prevent skin from forming) and put bowl into the fridge until fully cool.
  5. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until fluffy and pale about, 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add the chilled flour mixture and continue to whip on high speed until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is no longer gritty, about 5-10 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and cookie butter and mix until combined.
  8. Fold in Oreo cookie crumbs.

Strawberry Macarons

strawberry macaron 3I cannot think of another cookie that is as beautiful and finicky as the macaron.  The saying goes “beauty is pain”, and this beauty is indeed a pain.  A pain in the butt to make.  Why?  It uses several kitchen tools (which translates to a lot of dishes), needs to dry for over 30 minutes, and after all the meticulous measuring, sifting and baking, you can still fail.

Strawberry Macarons 2Why bother making them then?  Because, when done right a macaron is indeed a beautiful and perfect thing.   The smooth shell that breaks into a moist, airy center might as well be heaven in a cookie.

strawberry macaron 1I must warn you; this is not a cookie that you bake on a whim.  You must premeditate your actions and read through the recipe a few times before taking the dive.  You must weigh out your ingredients,  sift your flour mix, age your egg whites, and I don’t recommend making this on a humid day.  Do I sound bossy?  I just don’t want you to waste your expensive almond flour because those bags aren’t a dime a dozen.  I love you, my readers and best of your luck on your quest!

strawberry macaron 4

Strawberry Macarons

Basic French Macarons
Adapted from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller, Sebastien Rouxel

Ingredients:
212 g. almond meal
212 g. powdered sugar
172 g. egg whites, divided to 82 g. and 90 g (aged, if possible)
236 g. sugar
158 g. water
pink gel food color
optional: sesame seeds

Instructions:

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  2. In the bowl of your food processor, add the almond meal and powdered sugar and pulse until thoroughly combined.
  3. Sift the mixture over a large mixing bowl, throwing out the lumps as they appear.  Add 82 g. of the egg whites and stir until you get a thick mixture.
  4. In a small pot attached with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar and water over medium heat and boil until the syrup reaches 200˚F.
  5. Once the syrup reaches 200˚F, start whipping the remaining 90 g. in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks are reached.
  6. Once the syrup reaches 248 degrees, remove the pot off the burner and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl with the egg whites on medium speed.
  7. Once the egg whites are fully incorporated, increase the speed to medium high until egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks.  Add two drops of the pink gel food color and mix until batter turns a light shade of pink.
  8. Mix a ⅓ of the egg white mix to the almond mixture and stir together until the batter is slightly lighter and less pasty.  From then on, fold in ⅓ of the egg white mixture at a time until the mixture “flows like magma”.  The mixture should be smooth and run thick ribbons off the spatula.
  9. With a pastry bag fitted with a ½ in. plain tip, you can pipe one of two ways:
    1. Pipe 1¼ – 1½ in. rounds (as shown in above photo)
    2. Pipe 1 ¼ – 1 ½ in. triangles that resemble the shape of a strawberry (as shown in above photo)
  10. The piped batter may have peaks but should smooth away in a minute or two.  Let the batter stand until the tops of the macaron batter have dried*, about 30 mins to 1 hour.
  11. Optional: If using sesame seeds, sprinkle it on top about 5 minutes after the batter is piped. (as shown in above photo)
  12. Preheat the oven to 275-325˚F.  If your oven tends to run hot, go for 275˚ if not then 325˚.
  13. Bake 10-13 minutes, until the feet are formed and the tops are smooth.  The batter is done when you slightly wiggle it and it starts to come off of the parchment paper / silicone mat.
  14. Let cool and fill.

For the strawberry macarons, make the strawberry frosting and strawberry puree in my Neapolitan cupcakes post.

Assembly:

  1. On a cooled macaron shell, pipe a circle around the edge with the frosting, leaving the center empty.
  2. Once all of the halves have  a frosting border, chill in the freezer for about 5 minutes until set.
  3. Take out the macarons and fill the center with the strawberry puree. (as shown in above photo)
  4. Optional: you can pipe green frosting on the other half of the macaron shell to imitate leaves.
  5. Top it with another macaron shell.

Macarons taste best after aging.  To age macarons, put assembled macarons in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.  They should be perfect for consumption at this point.


*When you lightly touch the macaron shell, it should feel dry and not stick to your finger.