So I have this soul sister in Paris who shares my love of all things food and all things related to food.
When we go to La Grande Épicerie together (the grocery store version of Le Bon Marché), we walk around the store in hushed whispers for at least an hour until we end up huddled around exceptional examples of the world’s finest peppercorns. And please, for your health and sanity, don't even get us started on mustard. This is serious stuff that few people in my life appreciate. She is the only one that tolerates, AND actively participates in, 5 hour long rambles about food, with a special emphasis on desserts.
And, since she’s this great, she deserves macarons.
Not only is she deserving, but in general I LOVE to feed people. Sweets, savouries, whatever… and typically I would force-feed a boy (they don’t complain as much about getting fat as girls do, so it’s easier), but I’ve decided that I am done with boys until I’m 30 years old (they’re complicated and take up a lot of time). Since I have no boyfriend lined up outside my door waiting for me to done him with a three-course meal, I’ve warned all of my friends that they’re about to become my new subjects. Muwahaha.
This lovely lady has a heaping pile of stress pancakes on her plate right now, and I’ve been promising her these macarons for ages… so I decided it was THE TIME to share my love in the form of big hugs, bottle(s) of wine, and these little speculoos treasures. I’ve tried to mix all of her favourite things into one macaron... et ta da!
Speculoos macarons – What you need:
- 40 grams of speculoos cookies, finely ground in a food processor
- 70 grams of almond powder
- 200 grams of confectioner’s sugar
- 50 grams of caster sugar
- 100 grams of egg whites, aged 24 hours at room temperature
Speculoos macarons – What you do:
Sift the ground speculoos cookie with the almond powder and confectioner’s sugar. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites on a high speed until they are foamy and soft peaks begin to form. Next, slowly add in the caster sugar while continuously beating the egg whites. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form, but here be careful not to over beat the egg whites! They should be stiff but movable and glossy.
Add the beaten egg whites (also known as meringue) to the speculoos/almond/confectioner’s sugar dry mix. At first, beat quickly to incorporate the two mixes, but then carefully fold them together. Again, don’t over beat! Your stirs should remain under 50. The macaron batter will be shiny and will flow when dropped from a spoon.
Spoon the macaron batter into a pastry bag and pipe the macarons out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Tap the pans on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles in the macarons.
Allow the macarons to sit for an hour at room temperature. After they have rested, preheat your oven to 140c, then bake for 16 minutes, rotating the baking sheet half-way through the cooking time.
Remove the macarons from the parchment paper and allow them to cool on a cooling rack. They should pop off easily, and if they don’t, put them back into the oven for another few minutes.
I paired these macarons with a honey cream cheese filling. I warn you, it isn’t too too sweet, and it is very “cream-cheesy”, so it’s up to you to figure out what you would like best in between your macaron cookies! I liked it just fine because speculoos cookies are quite sweet, so the flavours complemented each other well!
(... and small macarons!)
Cream cheese and honey macaron filling – What you need:
- 2 grams of agar agar powder
- Juice of half a lemon
- 300 grams of softened cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons of softened butter
- ¼ cup honey (plus more honey for the macaron shells!)
Cream cheese and honey macaron filling – What you do:
Combine the lemon juice and agar agar powder in a large bowl. Allow them to sit together for five minutes.
Add the cream cheese and butter to the lemon juice. Whip with an electric beater for 5 minutes, or until the cream cheese is very light and fluffy. Add the honey, and continue to blend well.
Scoop the filling into a pastry bag, and pipe onto a cooled macaron shell. Top the filling with another macaron cookie. (I spread a tiny bit of honey on to each macaron cookie before filling them and sandwiching them together!)
So, not going to lie: these bad boys are kind of fragile (more fragile than another macaron cookie), and a few of the shells cracked while baking. I’m going to tinker some more with baking times and speculoos to almond powder ratios and hopefully improve on this! I will keep you posted! (And many thanks for your patience!)
If you couldn’t tell, the procrastination continues. If your 6am mornings look like this too, I give you a big, BIG, air-across-the-internet hug. I hope it helps! If my love doesn't help, a macaron definitely will!!!
Baking soundtrack - Tunes to inspire your inner baker:
My friend recommended Father John Misty to me, and I'm enamoured. A big ups for the recommendation! This Bruce Springsteen song reminds me SO much of this friend in Montreal, and every time I listen to it I smile with so many happy memories!