French Macaroons with Espresso Buttercream

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My foodie soul mate, Aman, and his awesome girlfriend came over for dinner last night and said they would prepare an appetizer and entree and my job was the wine and dessert.. EASY! A meal created by Aman is a treat indeed- he just graduated from Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School in Paris and he has an unbelievably finesse for flavors and ideas. We were so excited and I wanted to make a special dessert for them! I found this macaroon recipe in Pampered Chef's Simply Sweet cookbook and immediately remembered visiting Aman in Paris and trekking across the city to find the best macaroons. PERFECT! Hope you enjoy these as much as we did- we ate an ENTIRE batch after dinner- I couldn't believe it. Aman and Steph spent 8 hours a few weeks ago making a ton of French macaroons and they said these were comparable. And super easy! You have to try these and impress all of your friends. Here is the recipe:
MACAROONS:
1 cup sliced almonds, finely ground (use a food processor if available)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 egg whites, room temperature (very important!)
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for garnish
BUTTERCREAM
4 tsp. instant espresso granules (I used instant coffee)
1 tsp. hot water
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine ground almonds and powdered sugar; whisk until well blended
2. In a stainless mixing bowl, beat eggs on high speed with electric mixer until frothy; add cream of tartar. Continue beating until soft peaks form. While continuously beating, gradually add granulated sugar in a very slow, steady stream. Continue to beat until sugar is dissolved, mixture is glossy, and stiff peaks form. Turn off beaters. Add almond mixture all at once to egg whites; fold in gently. (Almonds will not be completely incorporated and batter will be somewhat thin)
3. Attach round tip to a piping bag or decorator; fill with batter. Pipe batter onto cookie sheet in 1 1/4 inch rounds, 1/2 inch apart. Bake 45 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove cookie sheet from oven; slide parchment and cookies onto a cooling rack. While cookies are still warm, remove from parchment to cooling rack.
4. For the buttercream combine espresso granules and hot water in small bowl and stir until combined. Combine butter and powdered sugar and using clean beaters beat on medium-high speed until creamy. Add dissolved espresso; beat until smooth. Fill piping bag or decorator with buttercream. Pipe buttercream onto flat sides of half of the cookies. Top with remaining cookies and sprinkle with cocoa powder.
Beating the egg whites
Folding in the almond mixture
I used a star tip for the macaroon. Like the textured look.
My Masterpieces!

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