The Paris bakery sold only macarons – that’s right a patisserie displaying brightly colored hot pink, lavender, mint green, baby blue and light brown chocolate macarons. It was five year ago, but I still remember opening the door and stepping down a few steps as the sweet cookie aromas washed over me.
Since then, I’ve wanted to recreate the airy, yet chewy French treat. But, honestly, I didn’t think I had enough ‘kitchen cred.’ I’m far from a French baker. But thanks to encouragement from Carrie of Poet In the Pantry and Kate of Food Babbles through their brilliant bloghop First on First, I figured, if ‘everyone’ was doing it, maybe I could too!
The cookbook Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home was my favorite Christmas gift this year. The book contains a macaron (macaron) recipe that seemed a bit less fussy than most. Jeni uses them in ice cream sandwiches. Since the cookies are airy and chewy, they don’t freeze into tooth-chipping, rock-hard sandwiches. Smart.
All things Valentine are on my kids’ minds right now so I whipped up a batch of Jeni’s shockingly pink Beet Ice Cream with Mascarpone and Orange Zest to serve as the sandwich filling. The bold orange flavor in the ice cream paired perfectly with the cocoa and almond in the macarons. But this version of Jeni’s Lemon Frozen Yogurt would also be a delicious sandwich filling for these Chocolate Macarons. I adapted Jeni’s version of the cookie recipe to use blanched almonds and then decided to toast them – thinking the toastiness would complement the earthy (but not too earthy!) beets. I also added a bit less sugar to the recipe.
While I’ve already brainwashed my two little girls to think that all things French are good, they needed no convincing that anything this pink or chocolatey or ice-cream-sandwich-y is really good.
A twist on the traditional ice cream sandwich – chocolate macarons as the sandwich holder!
1 1/2 cups (8 oz) blanched almonds, toasted
2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
3/4 cup egg whites (from 6 large eggs,) at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a 3-inch cookie cutter, trace 12 circles on the parchment. Turn the sheet of parchment over. Repeat for a second baking sheet.
Grind the nuts with 1/4 cup of the confectioners’ sugar in a food processor until a fine nut flour forms; do not allow mixture to become a paste. Add cocoa and remaining confectioners’ sugar and pulse just until incorporated. Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove large nut pieces
Whip the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment until frothy. While mixer is running, slowly add granulated sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, and whip until the meringue is shiny and holds medium peaks, about 5 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the almond mixture one-third at a time until thoroughly combined.
Fit a pastry bag with a 1/4-in plain tip and fill the bag halfway with batter. (Or use a plastic zip-top bag; cut off 1/16-in to form a tip.) Holding the bag upright pipe macaroons inside the traced circles in a spiral, beginning in the center of the circle.
Let the cookies sit a room temperature for 30 minutes to dry. This will create the crisp crust on the outside of the macaron.
Heat oven to 300 degrees F.
Bake cookies for 18-20 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through until they have risen and look crisp and set on top. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Monday 6th of February 2012
That's fabulous. I love the "snack size" macarons-as-ice-cream-sandwich idea. And the gorgeous color of the beet ice cream! So pretty!
Monday 6th of February 2012
Thanks! It the hot pink was a BIG hit with my little girls!!
Saturday 4th of February 2012
If this was your first time making macarons you did a wonderful job!! And I love the idea of turning them into an ice cream sandwich! How beautiful and creative! : )
Carrie @ poet in the pantry
Friday 3rd of February 2012
Those must have been amazing! Never thought of using macarons for ice cream sandwiches but now that you've mentioned it, why not? Fantastic!
Donna @ What the Dog Ate
Thursday 2nd of February 2012
Wow! What a great idea to make the macarons into an ice cream sandwich. It's one of those "why didn't I think of that" moments. Brillant!
Anna @ hiddenponies
Wednesday 1st of February 2012
What gorgeous deliciousness! I love how meringues can be eaten right from the freezer, now I'll have to try them as ice cream sandwiches!