Inspired by the visit from my sister-in-law, I set out to make a batch of macarons all by my lonesome. Flying solo didn't seem like such a scary thing until I was actually in the midst of whipping the egg whites, and then all of the insecurities began bubbling to the surface like the air in the froth I was creating. Is this bubbly enough to begin adding sugar? Is it glossy enough? Are these peaks stiff, or should I beat it just a minute longer? Well, my friends, I'm sorry to say that these were by no means perfect. They were more the consistency of meringue than chewy macarons which tells me I needed to press more air out of the batter and possibly add a little more almond meal. But they were tasty, so expect v2 to follow soon!
Makes about 4 dozen macaron small (1-1/2") halves and more buttercream than you need for one batch.
For the macarons:
- 2 egg whites, at room temperature
- 5 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1/2 c. almond meal (I would recommend an extra 2 tbsp. given my results)
- 1 c. confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp. Earl Grey tea leaves
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk fitting, beat the egg whites over medium-high speed until they begin to froth. Add sugar, 1 tbsp. at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Continue beating until eggs whites are glossy and stiff peaks form. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients until well blended. Add half of the dry mixture to the egg whites, and fold gently from the outside in using a rubber spatula, until all ingredients are well combined. Repeat with the other half of the dry mixture.
- Test the consistency of the batter by scooping up some of it with the spatula and letting it fall back into the bowl. If it falls heavily in chunks (or not at all), you will need to press some of the air out: with the rubber spatula, begin scraping from the outside in, and then press down on the center with the flat of the spatula (you can also press the batter against the side of the bowl). After repeating 5 times, test the batter consistency again. It should resemble magma, slowly dripping off the spatula back into the bowl and easily absorbing back into the batter at the bottom. If still too thick, press the air out a few more times being careful not to over mix.
- Pour batter into a pastry or gallon-sized Ziplock bag (fit the pastry bag with a piping tip first). If using a Ziplock bag, snip 1/4" from one corner, twist up the loose end, and pipe onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet so that the macarons are about 1" to 1-1/2" in diameter and about an inch apart. You can stencil circles on the back of the parchment paper in advance if it helps you make more consistently sized macarons. When all the batter is piped out, firmly rap the baking sheet on the counter a few times, then let rest for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300º.
- After the macarons have rested, bake in oven for about 12-13 minutes, keeping an eye on the tops to ensure they don't brown. Remove from oven, lift parchment paper with macarons onto a wire rack and let cool completely before filling.
For the buttercream filling:
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 3-1/2 tbsp. milk
- 7 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
- 3 tbsp. honey
- In a small heat-proof bowl, beat the egg yolks. Add sugar, and whisk until light in color, creamy, and sugar granules no longer show. Add the milk, and whisk until well incorporated.
- Pour mixture into a small saucepan, and heat over low heat until the mixture becomes thick and custard-like. Remove from heat, pour back into original bowl, and whisk until it cools to room temperature.
- In a separate bowl, mash up the butter until it resembles mayonnaise. Add half of the butter to the egg mixture and stir well to incorporate. Repeat with the other half of the butter, and then stir in the honey. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes until firm (but not hard) before piping between two macaron halves.