I want to share a quick variation of my French macarons.

My parents are visiting for a long weekend, so we’re out gallivanting around doing things that Texans love to do when they come to California:  wine tasting, harvesting food from the garden, marveling at the sight of water in rivers, enjoying the fact that when you look east and west you can see hills (we call them mountains) in the distance, and ordering vegetable-centric meals served in small portions at restaurants.  Don’t worry, we’ll be back to our old Texan ways soon:  drinking frozen margaritas (they were invented in Dallas, ya know!), tending our cactus gardens, enjoying the Texas sky that’s bigger than anywhere else on earth (if only because the surrounding land is so flat),  and eating meat at all 3 meals a day.  Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit here, but my point is: Texans enjoy a California vacation just as much as Californians enjoy a Texas vacation.  I’ll be back soon with new small desserts and family stories to share.  Until then, think of us in wine country wearing cowboy boots and sneaking bites of these cookies between sips of wine.

Chocolate Macarons with Orange Buttercream

Chocolate Macarons with Orange Buttercream

Makes 6 macaron sandwich cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 older egg white
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup + 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder

For the buttercream:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons (or more to taste) powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Begin by bringing the egg white to room temperature.
  2. Line a small half-sheet pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, sift together almond meal, powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the egg white with an electric mixer.
  5. Once frothy, slowly add the merginue powder while beating continuously.
  6. Once the meringue has soft floppy peaks, stop beating. Then, in 3 increments, add in the the almond meal mixture. Gently fold it in using a spatula (scrape down the middle and sweep the sides carefully).
  7. Once everything is well incorporated, scoop the mixture into a plastic bag or pastry bag. This is easier if the bag is inside a tall glass. Squeeze the mixture down to one side and snip off the corner of the bag.
  8. Squeeze gently to make 12 perfectly round circles on the baking pan. Use your finger tip to gently press away any peaks.
  9. Let the cookies sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before baking. Before the cookies go into the oven, they should feel dry to the touch. This takes longer on humid days. While waiting, preheat the oven to 300°.
  10. Bake the cookies in the middle rack of the oven for 14-16 minutes. They are done when the tops are dry and they have risen up to reveal their ‘feet.’
  11. Let cool on the baking sheet, then carefully remove them to a rack to cool completely.
  12. In a small bowl, beat together the butter, orange zest and powdered sugar.
  13. Scoop 1 teaspoon of the buttercream on 6 macarons and top with remaining 6 macarons to form sandwiches.

Notes

*You truly need older egg whites for these cookies. After I make a dessert using an egg yolk, I put my leftover white in a small bowl covered with plastic wrap. I store it in my fridge for about a week before using it. *I made my own almond meal by finely chopping a scant 1/2 cup of raw, whole almonds. I then grind them in a coffee grinder. Be careful not to make almond butter-2 or 3 pulses is all it takes. Sift very well before using.