Lavender Dreams: Vanilla & Chocolate Lavender Macarons

There is something utterly dreamy about macarons… maybe it’s their shape, their texture, their lovely color, or wonderful flavor pairings.

To me macarons scream spring, possibly for their lovely shades of pastel or their delicate and whimsical character.

I wanted to feature this special recipe to celebrate the birthdays of my fellow Aries :) Especially dedicated to one of my favorite bloggers, Chriselle because she is truly inspiring of all things beautiful and for her love of macarons! Also to my uncle Carlos for his birthday!

These lovely lavender cookies are filled with decadent vanilla [french] buttercream and velvety chocolate ganache. Their delicate crunchy exterior, slightly chewy interior, and a smooth buttery filling make them irresitible!

To know how to make them…

Keep Reading!

For those of you not yet familiar with these delicate cookies, they are meringue-based almond flour cookies that sandwich a variety of lovely fillings. In this recipe I paired these lavender cookies with two different fillings ones with French buttercream and others with chocolate ganache.

Lavender Macarons

The finer the almond flour [sometimes labeled as ground almonds], the smoother the texture and appearance of the cookie. This recipe yields about 16 sandwiched cookies.

Ingredients:

2 large egg whites, room temperature
55 g almond flour
110 g confectioners sugar
25 g granulated sugar
1/2 tblsp ground lavender
pinch of salt
natural food coloring (optional)

Tools:

parchment paper
2 large bowls
sieve
whisk, or electric mixer
rubber spatula
pastry bag

Line one baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift the confectioners sugar, almond flour, and ground lavender into a large bowl and set aside [If you are worried that the flour is moist, place it in a slightly warm oven  (150°F) for a few minutes to get rid of any moisture, make sure the flour is at room temperature when you are ready to use it]. In a separate bowl [or stand mixer] add egg whites and a pinch of salt, beat until foamy and whisk leaves a trail [see below].

Gradually add the granulated sugar, and continue to whip between each addition until the whites are glossy and you have a straight peak when you lift the whisk. Add some drops of natural food coloring (optional).
Using a rubber spatula, fold half of the almond flour mixture into the egg whites. Once it is almost completely incorporated, fold in the remaining dry ingredients until combined [batter will be soft and lose some of its volume, don’t worry].

To prevent the parchment paper from moving, I like piping a bit of the batter under it.

Using a pastry bag, pipe batter into 1 inch rounds [when piping hold the bag perpendicular to the baking sheet, and flick the tip to avoid peaks]. Once you have finished piping, tap the baking sheet lightly a couple of times on your working surface to get rid of any air bubbles {If you want to decorate your cookies as I did, sprinkle some lavender on the top of each cookie}. Let cookies rest for 20-30 minutes, or until they don’t feel tacky. Meanwhile, place oven racks on top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat to 320°F.

Put the baking sheet in the top third of the oven and reduce the heat to 305°F. After about 8 minutes, rotate the sheets [by this time you should see the characteristic legs start to form]. Bake for a total of 15-20 min, or until they have a very pale, slightly golden hue. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet, over a cooling rack, before you remove them from the parchment paper and pair them by size. Afterwards, all that’s left to do is the assembly.

Fillings

The fillings can be made a day ahead, or while the cookies cool, there is enough time.

French Buttercream
French buttercream, as opposed to regular buttercream, substitutes egg yolks for egg whites. This is much easier to make if you have a stand mixer [which I don’t] otherwise there is a lot of elbow grease involved!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 tblsp water
1/3 c sugar
2 egg yolks, room temperature
1/3 lb unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into small pieces
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Tools:
small sauce pan
bowl
whisk (stand mixer)
candy thermometer

Combine sugar and water in a small sauce pan and heat, over medium-high heat, to 240ºF. In the meantime, place the egg yolks in a bowl and start whipping until they appear light in color and slightly foamy [the volume change foam will not be too obvious with such little quantity]. Once your syrup has reached the desired temperature remove from the heat [if you do not have a thermometer look for hints of soft ball stage: the syrup is thick and bubbling, right before syrup changes color].

Slowly drizzle it down the sides of the bowl, while constantly beating the mixture. Beat until the mixture has reached room temperature. Start adding the butter one piece at a time. Make sure the butter is well incorporated before adding a new piece. Continue beating until all the butter is incorporated [don’t worry if it looks a bit runny, just keep beating the mixture]. Add the vanilla and mix.

For a great step by step tutorial click here!

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:
3/4 c bittersweet chocolate coins (I like using Valrhona chocolate feve 68% or 70%)
1/2 c whipping cream

Tools:
small saucepan
rubber spatula

In a small saucepan heat cream over medium-low heat. Once it starts simmering remove from heat. Let stand for about 30 sec. and add chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted, and icing is smooth and glossy. Let the icing cool to room temperature, about 30-45 minutes.

Assembly

Once you have paired your cookies by size, you can start having fun and dressing them with the delicious fillings you have prepared! Grab one cookie of each pair, and pipe or spread the filling [I find that french buttercream is a bit harder to pipe than regular buttercream, thus I like to use a little spoon or small spatula instead]. Just remember to leave a little bit of space at the border so when you sandwich them the filling doesn’t squish outside. You can try one right away {who can stop themselves? they are irresistible!} but they are best after they have chilled for about 1 hour in the fridge.

You can cover and store in the fridge for about one week {if they last that long!}.

I hope you enjoyed this!
Thanks for reading and again Happy Birthday to all the Aries out there!

On a little side note: To avoid confusion between coconut macaroons and the french almond-flour based cookie, most people have adopted the french spelling of this pretty cookie {macaron}.
NB. Did you know macarons are gluten-free?

Would you like more macaron recipes?? Let me know below!!

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Euri Arroyo says:

    Querida Nadia recibe mi mas afectuoso abrazo deseandote una gran dicha en este dia de tu cumpleaños y siempre.
    Con Cariño Euri.

    pd Tu blog es extraordinario Felicitaciones

  2. Ana says:

    Can I hire you to make them for me? LOL. My mouth is watering!! When are you coming up with more flavours?

    1. Kitchenani says:

      :) I’ll make some more soon, still thinking about possible flavor pairings. Let me know if there is one in particular you would like to see ;)

  3. Evelyn says:

    Very pretty with lovely feet. :)

    1. Kitchenani says:

      Thank you!! Your chestnut macarons are adorable ;)

  4. Julie says:

    Jonah just came back from Paris and brought me Pierre Herme macarons (http://www.pierreherme.com). I’ll bring one to work so Moos can give it to you. Most amazing thing I’ve ever had.

    1. Kitchenani says:

      You are so sweet! Thank you! But you should take advantage and eat them all!!

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