I’ve been wanting to try macarons since I bought almond flour during our trip to King Arthur Flour. When I got Martha Collison’s cookbook (of Great British Bake Off fame) I saw that she had recipes for three different types of cocktail-themed macarons and decided those would be a great first foray. However, her recipes called for ground almonds in the Shell batter rather than almond flour. Since I had specially purchased the almond flour, and had heard that almond flour produces smoother results than ground almonds, I decided to use the King Arthur shell recipe.
I actually felt pretty good about the process going in since it involved making Italian meringue, which I recently practiced for my mom’s birthday cake in May, so that made getting just the right consistency for the batter a little easier. I’m always a little nervous when it comes to folding in an ingredient since I don’t want to knock all the air out, but the method that I like best is detaching the whisk from my stand mixer and using that since it seems to leave the better relatively undisturbed as I stir. This was also the point at which I added a little bit of gel food coloring to get the perfect pastel tint. I was doing Martha’s bellini and mojito recipes so I made one batch of orange and one of light green.
I didn’t have a piping bag with a large tip so used the suggestion of using the teaspoon cookie scoop. Ultimately this made shells that were larger than I would have liked, but they were all relatively round which is the best I could hope for on my first try!
I remembered seeing on a kids bake off show that when they made macarons they smacked them on the table before they left them to dry to get the air bubbles out. The King Arthur recipe didn’t call for this step, but I figured I would try it anyway. I made the green batch first and gave a few tentative smacks on my dining room table before leaving them to dry for about an hour.
Then it was into the oven and fingers crossed! They ended up in the oven for a little longer than I would’ve liked and there were definitely some cracks.
The second tray had fewer cracks when they came out which made me think that maybe the longer rest helped? Not sure, but clearly didn’t hurt. But, most importantly, they had nice little feet! Hooray!
When I made the orange batch I decided to be a little more assertive with the smacking before the rest and that seems to have done the trick. They came out with far fewer cracks in them.
This was actually a two part affair because I was going out of town for the week between making the shells and needing the completed macarons. I put the shells carefully in Tupperware and froze them until I returned. I also made lime curd and peach puree in advance and froze both of those as well.
The peach puree was from Martha’s book and consisted of 3 peeled peaches diced and pureed in a food processor, strained, and simmered with 3T sugar and 1t lemon juice for 5 – 10 minutes.
When I returned from my trip and was ready to assemble I found some of my shells had broken in the freezer. Bummer. But I still had enough to make a good showing. Since my shells varied a little in size and shape I first paired them up as close as I could get them each to matching. was piping buttercream. For the bellinis I made traditional buttercream and used champagne to smooth it. I laid all of the shells out face up and piped rings around the outside of half of them.
Next came a dab of the peach puree in the center of each before sandwiching them together.
For the mojitos I did traditional buttercream and thinned it with white rum. I was a little about the amount of booze I used so in hindsight would’ve done more so you could really taste it. I added a little peppermint extract to the lime curd to give it the mojito vibe and followed the same assembly process as I did with the bellinis.
I took them all with me to a friend’s house while she got ready for her wedding, and everyone seems to be a big fan (mojito was more popular than bellini). No one could believe I made them myself, so that’s always a sign of success in my book! I’ll definitely be making these again and am excited to experiment with all sorts of colors and fillings!