Earl Grey Tea Macarons

Sunday, August 9, 2015

My friend Angela has been a fan of Earl Grey flavored desserts for a while. Personally, I have never been a tea girl and always preferred coffee, but I relished the challenge to create some Earl Grey Tea macarons for my friend. Little did I know, that recipe I came up with would be such an amazing bouquet of flavors in my mouth! The tea combined with the honey buttercream I whipped up created this depth of flavor that I honestly can't even describe. All I have to say is that every person who tried them (friends and family alike) all agreed it was their new favorite flavor! Without further adieu, here's the recipe:

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
Mortar and Pestle

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 bags of Early Grey Tea (I prefer the loose tea bags from Tazo)
3 egg whites at room temperature (approximately 100g)

Honey Buttercream ingredients:
1 and 1/3 stick of room temp butter
1 teaspoon vanilla (clear vanilla is best)
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup honey (QUALITY local honey here is key for optimal flavor! Don't buy the cheap stuff)
1/3 c. white granulated sugar
2 egg yolks (save these from the eggs used for shells)

Let's begin!

If I forgot to leave my eggs out overnight, I start by prepping my eggs in a glass of warm water and leaving it on the counter. 
Then I use my mortar and pestle to finely grind the contents of two Earl Grey tea bags and set it aside. 

 Then I use my flour sifter to sieve the measured almond flour and powdered sugar together. Next, I sift in the ground tea and hand whisk the dry mixture together. 

Set the dry 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.

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 has to come together.

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.

There's something to gratifying to me to fill these little circular molds and see their beautiful rows of perfection...

 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. 

While the shells are baking, I usually start my Honey Buttercream Filling:

Using my stand mixer, I beat the 2 egg yolks until they are a pale yellow color. Then using a small saucepan on medium heat, add together the sugar, honey, and water and let sit until the heat naturally helps them combine. Don't mix! Once it comes together, I remove it from the heat immediately. 
Next, I slowly drizzle in the honey mixture down the inner side of the bowl in the stand mixer while the mixer is on with the yolks. I add in the thin stream of hot honey mixture until it is all poured in. Leave on the mixer at a high speed and walk away until the bowl feels closer to warm temperature. It takes about 15 minutes. 
Finally, add in the clear vanilla and the room temp butter one tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated on low speed. 

Once the cookies are 100% cooled, you can start to carefully peel them off the silicone mats. I have tried to jump the gun and peel them off when they're mostly cooled and found the cookies don't come off the mat. Instead the tops pull off and you ruin the beautiful macaron feet. Just BE PATIENT! I know it's hard!

Divide your cookie shells evenly into two groups: tops and bottoms and beginning pipping. Finally, sandwich them together and voila!

Again, I can't explain to you the layers of flavor one experiences when you bite into these pillows of heaven, so I strongly encourage you all to give it a try. If you make your own batch, please share with me below or by using the hashtag #blissfullyevercrafter. I'd love to see your creations!

Blissfully Ever Crafting,

Jennifer Lynn

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