London Fog Macarons

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With the weird work schedule, and random free afternoons, I got to spend Tuesday with a friend making french macarons. We decided to go for lavender shells with an earl grey and lemon buttercream filling. More of a London Fog latte kind of thing. It was so nice to have time to just laugh over complicated recipes and bond over failed attempts.

I’ve been feeling really disconnected lately from people, and I hate that. Having Kayla over was so nice, laughing and having a good time. When we had everyone living so close to each other in Michigan, it was easy to stay connected.  It was easy to feel like you always had someone there with you. Being back in Columbia, everyone has their own lives and circles of friends and it feels a lot harder to connect. I almost feel like I need to learn how to make friends again, like it’s a lost art that I need a five year old to teach me.

I am slowly feeling more and more like I’m settling in though, and it’s afternoons spent baking, evenings spent at a murder mystery dinner, and weekends spent at the renaissance fair that make me realize that I am so incredibly lucky to have a group of people who are as crazy and fun as Chesh and I are. And that makes all the difference.

 

But back to the macarons! I like to match up all my shells by size, since I have yet to master getting all the shells a uniformed size. I also don’t have any piping bags, so I use ziplock bags to pipe out the macaron shells as well as the buttercream filling. I love that we added lemon to the buttercream (which we weren’t originally going to do), because it gave it a great little extra punch. Macarons are usually more of a subtle dessert, but I like them bursting with flavor.

 

I’d like to thank Beth over on her blog, where I originally found this recipe. This has been the best recipe so far that I’ve found for macarons, and have come out really well every time I make them. She also has a bunch of great fail-safe tips for getting your macarons from going flat, burning, or coming out too crunchy.

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MACARON SHELLS:

3 Egg Whites (at room temperature)
¼ cup white sugar
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup almond flour
pinch of salt
¼ tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp lavender extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 300F degrees
  2. Beat egg whites until foamy, then add salt, cream of tartar, white sugar, and lavender extract for 8-10 mins.
  3. Whip until they form a stiff peak that stands upright.
  4. Then add the food coloring.
  5. Sift almond flour, and powdered sugar. What remains will be the larger lumps of almond pieces. Just discard those, or use them to snack on. You want a really fine powder mixture to create a smooth and pretty on top to your cookie.
  6. Fold flour/sugar mixture into the egg white mixture. About 65-75 good strokes.
  7. Transfer batter to a pastry bag.
  8. Pipe out 1 inch rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Tap the pan hard at least 2-3 times to release the air bubbles. This will prevent the tops of your macaroons from cracking.
  10. Let them sit out for 20-30 mins, or up to an hour if you want. This will allow them time to dry out a bit before hitting the hot oven. They should be “tacky” to the touch, but not stick to your fingertips. This is another important step to assuring your macarons develop feet! When they dry out they can’t spread out in the oven, and are forced to rise up. That’s what creates the feet!
  11. Bake for 20 mins. DO NOT UNDER BAKE, even if they look done! Otherwise they will stick to your tray.

EARL GREY LEMON BUTTERCREAM:

1/4 cup salted butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 bag Earl Grey tea leaves
3 tsp lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. While the shells are baking, go ahead and mix the buttercream. Whip butter with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Slowly add sugar, tea leaves, and lemon juice. Continue mixing until well combined.
  2. Transfer to a pastry bag, fitted with a small tip (about ¼ ” in diameter)
  3. Reverse cookie shells on their backs, and pipe a small mound of filling on one of them. Top with the other shell et Voila!
  4. If not eating right away, keep refrigerated.

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