Nuts about macarons

Nutty trioPeanut macaron with chocolate ganache, pistachio macaron with pistachio buttercream, and walnut macaron with maple-walnut buttercream.

Nut macarons (basic)

Makes about 60 shells (30 assembled macarons)

90 g egg whites (from approx. 3 large eggs), preferably aged at least overnight and brought to room temperature

50 g almond flour (almonds ground to a powder)

60 g finely ground nuts (peanut, walnut, hazelnut, or pistachio)

200 g confectioner’s sugar

2 tbsp caster sugar

  • In a blender or food processor, grind the almond flour and other nuts together with the confectioner’s sugar; set aside. (You don’t actually have to do this, but I do it to break down whatever big lumps are still present in the almond flour)
  • In a large bowl, beat the egg whites using an electric mixer, starting at medium speed. When the mixture starts becoming frothy and opaque, turn the setting to high speed. Gradually add the caster sugar, beating continuously, until the mixture forms a meringue (becomes glossy and forms soft peaks).
  • Sift the almond flour mixture over the meringue. Using a spatula, carefully fold them together until the resulting batter is uniform in color and has the consistency of flowing lava (this should take about 30-40 folds). Tap the sides of the bowl several times during folding to get rid of excess air in the batter (this could cause the macarons to crack during baking).
  • Spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain 1-cm (diameter) nozzle. Pipe out 3-cm (diameter) circles, each about 2.5 cm apart, onto non-stick baking paper placed on a baking tray. (Optional: sprinkle the tops with a bit of coarsely ground nuts do decorate.) Rap the baking tray on the counter/table to get rid of excess air that could either crack the macarons or make them hollow.
  • Leave the piped out batter in a cool, dry place to set. They are ready for baking when the surface is completely dry and not sticky when touched.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 150°C-160°C for 12-14 minutes, taking care not to let the exposed surface turn brown. When finished, slide the baking paper (with the macarons) out from the baking tray and onto the countertop/kitchen table to stop further cooking. Leave them to cool for a few minutes before attempting to remove from the sheets. The ideal macaron should just slide off the baking paper (or pop easily out if using a silpat); the bottoms should be dry, but still a bit soft at the center.

Maple-walnut buttercream (Pistachio buttercream)

Makes enough filling for 25-30 macarons

3 eggs

100 g caster sugar (200 g for pistachio buttercream)

50 ml maple syrup (only for the caramel-walnut buttercream)

50 g finely ground walnuts (pistachios)

230 g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the caster sugar and caramel syrup at high speed until the mixture becomes fluffy and doubles in volume.
  • Pour the egg mixture into a saucepan over medium heat. Add the walnuts and stir continuously until the mixture forms a compact batter.
  • Pour the batter into a shallow dish, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool in the refrigerator.
  • In another large bowl, beat the chilled butter at high speed. When the butter starts to expand in volume and become fluffy, add the chilled nut batter. Continue whipping until the mixture becomes homogenous.
  • Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm (diameter) nozzle and set aside in the refrigerator until set (about 30 minutes).

Chocolate ganache

Makes enough filling for about 30-40 macarons

250 g 55% chocolate, grated or chopped into small pieces

200 ml pouring cream

50 g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

  • Pour the cream into a saucepan, then bring to a boil.
  • Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand for a minute to allow the chocolate to melt.
  • Whisk the mixture until well-blended. Set aside to cool a bit.
  • When the mixture is about 40°C in temperature, stir in the butter a little at a time. Continue stirring until the mixture is glossy.
  • Spoon the ganache into a piping bag with a 1 cm nozzle and set aside in the refrigerator until set.

Assembling the macarons

  • Place half of the macaron shells foot-side facing up on a flat surface.
  • Pipe a small amount of the filling onto these shells (just enough to cover an area that is approximately 3 mm short of the edges).
  • Top with the remaining shells.
  • Roll the edges on some chopped nuts, if desired.

Walnut macaronsWalnut macarons with maple-walnut buttercream

Pistachio macarons

 

 

 

Pistachio macarons with pistachio buttercream

Chocolate-peanut macarons

 

 

 

 

Peanut macarons with chocolate ganache

 

 

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