Coffee French Macarons with Nutella Buttercream Filling

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I have to say that making French macarons has become an obsession of mine. I just can't get enough of these delicious little cookies. What really gets me is the texture... they're outside shell has a slight crunch as you bite in, but the middle is the perfect chewy and gooey texture where the soft middle of the shells meets the yummy buttercream filling. Perfection!!!

Experimenting with different flavor combinations is my new found favorite hobby, and hands down my new favorite flavor is this this one... Coffee shells with Nutella buttercream filling. This shouldn't really come as a surprise since my husband and I both love drinking coffee, but there's something about coffee and hazelnut that I have always loved together. In fact, the cup of coffee that my husband kindly makes for me every morning has hazelnut creamer in it! Go figure!

The secret ingredient in these babies is finely ground instant espresso powder. I bought mine at target, but didn't skimp on quality. There were several different brands available in the coffee section and my husband even questioned why I needed to select the most expensive option, but I could tell just by looking in the jar that the finer the powder the better the shells would look and taste... and I was right. 

French Macaron Baking Supplies:
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 flour/meal)
200g Powdered/confectioner's sugar
40g plain granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fine instant espresso powder
3 egg whites at room temperature (approximately 100g)

Nutella Buttercream ingredients:
3/4 cup of butter
1/2 cup of Nutella
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup of confectioners' sugar
FYI- this will yield a large amount of filling and you will have extra. I recommend saving it in a Ziploc in your fridge for your next batch of macarons. Just work the filling in the bag with your hands to warm it up or bring it to room temp before you'll need it next.

Let's begin!

I always start by using my flour sifter to sieve the measured almond flour and powdered sugar together. Next, I whisked in the 2T of instant espresso powder. Set the powder mixture aside and you can separate the egg whites, add the pinch of salt and begin whipping. 

Once you get a foamy texture, start adding in the 40g of granulated sugar. I usually do this in 3 installments and whip the whites into a meringue. This will take a while, but be careful not to over whip or your macarons will be dry and crack. Just keep whipping and checking until you have slightly stiff glossy peaks [shown below].

Once your meringue is finished, put aside your electric whisk and get out your spatula. You will gradually begin to fold in the dry mixture into your meringue. It's important to add this incrementally and mix in each portion well before adding another. I usually do this in 3 portions, but again it is important not to OVER mix in this stage as well. This is how it looks when it starts to come together.

And this is how it looks when I'm done. This is what you want... smooth slow flowing lava texture. A good test is to check the consistency of the batter by lifting up your spatula. Does the batter flow slowly in ribbons or in chunky globs? You want ribbons :)

Finally, it's time get out your trusty pastry bag and round tip. I like to prop mine up in a tall flower vase so I can pour the batter into the bag with one hand holding the bowl and the other scraping the sides with the spatula. All that's left is place the silicone molds on your baking sheets and pipe into the molds. 

Tap the sheet on your counter to let any air bubbles loose and let these babies dry for 30 minutes. 

***That reminds me... don't try to make this on a humid or rainy day. The shells won't dry correctly and it will not work! You can try countering the weather by letting them air dry for an hour or more, but I recommend just waiting until the weather is less ideal.***

Most standard French macaron recipes will tell you to bake them at 325 deg F for 10 minutes, but you should take into consideration if your oven runs hotter/colder than others. I happen to know that mine runs hot, so I set the temp to 315 deg F for the first batch, and for the 2nd and 3rd trays I put a wooden spoon handle in the oven door. I find this method works best for me, because my 2nd and 3rd batches were repeatedly coming out cracked from my oven being on longer and therefore too hot. I mean just the whole sheet of them would be cracked! Horrible!!! The wooden spoon method has proven itself several times over to me, so now I never bake my subsequent batches without it. 

Once the cookies are 100% cooled, you can start to carefully peel them off the silicone mats. I have accidentally under baked mine before and found out during this phase when the cookies don't come off the mat. Instead the tops pull off and you ruin the beautiful macaron feet. If this happens to you, what I do is put the cookies back on the baking sheet and back in the oven for a few more minutes at a lower temp. For me, that's about 300-305 deg F. Keep a close eye on them though, because the last thing you want is for them to burn.

Divide your cookie shells evenly into two groups: tops and bottoms and beginning pipping. 

Once you have half of all your shells filled, begin putting the shells together and press lightly to make sure they're secure. Most recipes then say to store them in the fridge overnight before tasting, but to be honest I always eat the rejects (cracked ones) right away and store the pretty ones for guests in the fridge :)

And there you have it, my favorite macaron flavor du jour! Hope you give them a try and if you do leave me a comment below or use #blissfullyevercrafter.

Thanks guys!
Blissfully Ever Crafting,
Jennifer Lynn

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