3.31.2015

Strawberry Lemonade Macarons #OXOSpringCleaning


Plot twist: I, the non-lover of lemon, loved these tartlets from last week so much that it inspired me to make another lemon dessert. Totally unexpected of me, right?

But the fact that the dessert I chose to make is macarons? Well, you had to have seen that coming.


It seems I can't go more than a few weeks without making these notorious little ego-crushers. Yup, these are the most depressing dessert to make and will almost always put your baking ego in check. The good news is, they are also a very bipolar dessert, in that you can have good and bad macarons from the same batch you make. I'm talking, from the same tray in the same oven! That's what happened with these.

Some of them chose to grow feet, some gave absolutely zero you-know-whats about growing anything. Most of them were the latter, but thankfully, I had enough good ones to share with you guys today.


But before we talk about them, I want to share with you some super cool products OXO sent me to help out with my spring cleaning. First off, I'm totally obsessed with these all-purpose clips. I can't tell you how many bags of chips, flours, nuts, etc, I have lying around just waiting for someone to make the wrong move and BOOM, spill. These clips are so secure and they even have a magnet on the back for you to hang on the fridge!

Secondly, how adorable is the little compost bin? I won't be using it for composting, but rather, as a mini little garbage disposal around the kitchen. So many times I have dragged my big old garbage can to the sink or wherever I'm working to dump out vegetable peels, strawberry hulls, egg shells, etc. Not anymore. Now, I can just carry this handy little thing to my work station, no muss no fuss.

And lastly, peep the sponge holder! I personally usually buy those suction cup sponge holders and hook them up to the side of the sink, but A) they take up much needed space in my tiny sink and B) they only really work for a few days and then the suction wears out. So, this stainless steel sponge holder is a godsend. I can keep it right beside the faucet, and it's open on both sides so the sponges are always airing out.


Alright, now let's talk macarons! I know I say this alot, but these are truly my newest favorite macaron. Strawberry lemonade is where it's at, y'all.

To flavor these macarons, I first added some lemon zest to the shells. I saw some people online add lemon juice to their shells but I really didn't want to risk adding too much liquid and messing everything up. You know how finicky macarons are. I saved most of the flavoring for the filling, which was a strawberry-lemonade buttercream. Obviously, fillings with too much moisture don't fare well with macarons so I used ground freeze dried strawberries instead of strawberry puree, and then just enough lemon juice. The combination was perfect.


Another option would be to add powdered strawberry lemonade mix to the buttercream, but I prefer the fresh, non-artificial way :-)

Strawberry Lemonade Macarons

Yield: Approximately 24 macarons, depending on the size
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Ingredients:

57 grams almond flour
115 grams powdered (confectioners) sugar
2 teaspoons dried lemon zest
72 grams egg whites, aged, room temperature
36 grams granulated sugar
2-3 drops yellow gel paste/food coloring

For the buttercream filling:
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons ground freeze-dried strawberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

Add almond flour and powdered sugar to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine and break apart any big lumps. Sift mixture into a clean bowl. Discard any large pieces that do not pass through the sieve. Whisk in dried lemon zest.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites, yellow food coloring, and granulated sugar on low speed for 3 minutes, medium speed for 3 minutes, then high speed for 3 minutes. The beaten egg whites should stick to the whisk when you remove it. Tap the whisk against the side of the bowl to release them into the bowl.

Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the egg whites. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites, until the batter is smooth and lava-like. Be careful not to overmix. The batter should slowly fall off your spatula when you pick it up and any peaks in the batter should settle down within 20 seconds.

Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat. Pipe 1.5 inch rounds onto the parchment paper(or silicone mat). It is helpful to use a guide here, so all your macarons are the same size. Once all the rounds are piped out, slam the baking sheet against a flat stable surface, then rotate, and slam again. This is done to force any large air bubbles to the surface.

Let the piped macarons dry on the countertop for 60-90 minutes. The macarons are properly dried when you touch the top of the mounds and the batter doesn't stick to your finger.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Place the baking sheet with piped macarons on an empty baking sheet and bake on the middle rack for 15-18 minutes. Oven temperature varies, so keep an eye on them. To check if they are done, touch the top of the macaron. If it wobbles, it's not done yet. Let cool completely on baking sheet before removing.

To prepare the filling, in a small bowl using an electric hand mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and vanilla extract, and beat until incorporated. Add ground freeze-dried strawberries and lemon juice and beat until well-combined. Spoon buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a small, round decorating tip.

To assemble the macarons, match macaron shells into pairs of similar sizes as best as you can. Pipe a circle of buttercream on half of the macaron shells. Top with matching opposite shells.

Refrigerate in an airtight container for 24 hours to let flavors develop. Bring to room temperature before serving.
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