My love affair with French macarons... Cookie Dough & Cookie Butter Filling!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ahh the perfect French macaron... 

I know that it may seem daunting, but with some practice and the right baking tools nearly ANYONE can make their own french macrons from scratch at home and I promise they will taste so much better than any macarons you can buy in a store. 

I started experimenting with baking macarons (the French method... not the Italian method which requires a candy melting thermometer and frankly just scares me) to prepare for my cousin's bridal shower. I planned on baking 120 of them the day before the shower after flying to Boston, but had to scrap the whole plan after many delays [detailed in my post 4/12/15].  I have to say that I honestly had two totally failed batches before I was able to get those glorious little "feet" that are the markings of a perfectly baked macaron. The first batch I over mixed the batter and got flat discs and the second batch I overcompensated and under-mixed the batter yielding cracked shells. Then finally, like Goldilocks the third one was just right and you're in luck because I'm here to share with you my macaron secrets to success! 

First of all you will need the correct baking tools and ingredients. I can not emphasize enough that if you try to "make do" with less superior tools/ingredients you will notice the difference. You will need:

Electric mixer (hand/stand mixer will do as long as you have a whisk and regular beater attachments)
Good heavy/thick baking sheets that won't warp in the oven
2-3 Silicone macaron baking sheets (I got these ones from Amazon and love them!)
Silicone spatula
Hand whisk
Kitchen scale
Set of mixing bowls
Sieve or flour sifter
Pastry bag and round tip with attachment

Shells Baking ingredients: 
100g Almond flour (I prefer Mama's Almond Flour Blend. It's much finer than other almond flours)
200g Powdered/confectioner's sugar
40g plain sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (optional)
3 egg whites at room temperature (approximately 100g)

Cookie Dough Buttercream and Cookie Butter filling:
1/4c room temperature butter
2T granulated plain white sugar
1/4c packed light brown sugar
3/8c all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/8t almond extract 
1/8t vanilla extract
1-2T heavy cream (I use hazelnut coffee creamer)
1 oz dark chocolate shavings
1/4c - 1/2c Trader Joe's Cookie Butter (to taste)

Okay so now you have everything you need, and it's time to start prepping. 

Most macaron recipes call for room temp eggs which means leaving them out overnight or all day... But who has time for that?! Instead, I put my 3 eggs in a tall glass of hot- warm tap water. I do this step first and by the time you're done measuring the dry ingredients they're usually good to go. 

Now, set your medium mixing bowl on your kitchen scale and tare it (reset so the screen says zero). Slowly begin pouring in the flour until it says 200g EXACTLY. If you over pour just remove small amounts with a spoon until you're there. Then tare the scale again and begin adding your powdered sugar until you reach 100g. Also in a small sauce bowl measure out 40g of plain sugar and set it aside for the eggs. Next, place your sifter in the large mixing bowl and scoop some of the dry ingredients into the sifter. 

If you don't have a flour sifter, I have found that using a kitchen sieve with a silicone spatula to push things through works remarkably well. Once you've sifted all of the dry ingredients together, you can sift in the cocoa powder. Lastly, I use my hand whisk to mix in the cocoa. 

At this point it's time to check on your eggs. They will feel warm to the touch when you take them out of their bath and just pat them dry with your towel. Now make sure that your largest mixing bowl is clean and dry. You're going to make the meringue in this bowl so it can't be dirty or moist (I've even used my hair dryer during this phase before if I can't get it dry in time). Now you can start separating your egg yolks in this bowl and discard the yolks or save them for something else if you wish. 

Once all three are separated, you can start your electric whisk and keep it on until you start to see a foamy texture. Stop the mixer and slowly add some of the 40g of plain sugar.  

Thoroughly whisk in each portion of the sugar before adding more. You'll know you're done and have your meringue when you have glossy white peaks. **Be careful here not to over beat the eggs or your shells may be too dry and crack**

Next you can start what is called the "macaronage" phase. To incorporate the dry mix into the meringue, you can put away your electric mixer, you will only need your silicone spatula. Add about 1/4 - 1/3 of the dry mix into your meringue bowl and begin to fold in the mixture. Scrape around the bowl and then press down, but be sure to make sweeping scrapes from the bottom up. You don't want to end up with a big dry glob on the bottom. Keep adding increments of the dry mixture and folding in between each addition. In the end, you should have a batter the texture of lava. **Again in this step it's important not to under-mix or over-mix the batter. It should be smooth with slow flowing ribbons when you pick up the spatula**

Once the lava texture is achieved, stop mixing and get your piping bag ready. I like to prop it up in the same glass that I warmed the eggs in and pour directly in. Honestly, at this point I usually will shout out to my hubby for an extra hand to hold the bag upright. 
Now it's time to practice your piping skills! Make sure you have the silicone macaron mats ready to go on your good baking sheets on a flat and level surface. You will see that is a smaller circle inside each circular mold. Start slowly filling each round with even pressure just past the inner ring. Then wait and watch as the batter slowly flows out to fill the mold. Tapping the sheet on the counter helps to spread it out so you can gauge if you pipped enough/too much batter. Continue to fill all of the molds and don't forget to tap the sheet on the counter when you're done. Don't be delicate about it either! You want all of those little air bubbles out so they don't ruin your pretty smooth shells. 

Now you let them rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. I usually will set a timer on my phone but still hang around them and watch as I clean up the kitchen. If you keep spying, you can catch the few molds that spill over. 

I correct this with a plastic straw and slowly suck up the excess batter. You can also use the other end of the straw and pinch it narrow to use as a tiny trowel to clean up in between the molds. 

Now onto the filling:

Beat the room temp butter and white & brown sugar until fluffy. Next, add in the flour and beat again until incorporated. Then add the wet ingredients (almond and vanilla extract and cream/creamer) and mix. Add in the Trader Joe's Cookie Butter and beat again until incorporated. **At this point you should check your timer. If it's almost been 30 minutes then turn on your oven to preheat to 325 degrees F.**

Lastly, you can add in the dark chocolate shavings. If you don't have shavings, you can make them yourself with a good quality bar of chocolate and a cheese grater, but watch your fingers!
Set the filling aside in a pastry bag or gallon Ziploc bag and leave at room temperature. 

By this time, your timer should have gone off and you should have your first sheet of shells in the oven. Each sheet should bake for about 8 - 10 minutes depending on your oven. Keep a close eye on them, but don't open and close the oven too much or you'll piss off the sensitive little buggers. If you do peek at them you should see these beautiful little feet forming!
(Please excuse my dirty old oven)

Once the new timer goes off, take them out and slide the silicone mat onto a cooling rack immediately. Don't touch them until they have cooled completely and put your next batch in. When you have a set that is completely cool the touch, you can carefully start working around the edges and peeling back the silicone mat. I prefer to do it this way to avoid pulling the tops off of the feet. 

You're almost there!

Then, all you have to do is pair up your shells and pipe the filling into half of them. 

Carefully press the two shells together and voila! C'est magnifique! 

Now technically, I should mention that you should store them in an airtight container in your fridge overnight, then let them come to room temperature for optimal texture and enjoyment. However, I have to admit that my husband and I always eat the rejects right away [not pictured here]. 

I hope you feel like you can try making these deliciously crunchy, chewy, and goey French treats on your own now. I can guarantee you that they won't taste anything like the ones you can buy frozen or even from a local bakery (unless you live in Paris of course), so I really encourage you all to give it a go. It's an experience your taste buds will thank you for!

Blissfully Ever Crafting,
jennifer lynn

Free printable from !

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