Mayer Lemon Macarons
Going along with the cookie madness everyone’s going through before Christmas, I am adding one more recipe to the “cookie” collection. Even though, it’s difficult to call macarons ‘cookies’ because there’s no flour involved. Light and airy in texture, with creamy, slightly tangy center these Meyer Lemon Macarons are fit for a king!
My local Costco store usually carries Meyer Lemons come winter. They sell them in a big container with about 15-20 lemons. I love the fragrant smell of Meyer lemons, which are native to China and are a hybrid between a lemon and either a mandarin or common orange. They’re still lemony like a lemon, but with a much more fragrant zest that is wonderful added to baked goods as well as a good cup of hot tea.
Running out of things to make with my lemons I turned to my cookbook shelf, found my “Advanced Professional Pastry Chef” book that I bought and started flipping through the pages in hope of finding something that would grab my eye. Amazing book I tell you, if only the recipes were not in catering size portions, you know, the ‘’take 4 pounds of butter and 5 pounds of flour”, kind of portions. I had mercy on you and did the scaling down myself, so you wouldn’t have half a bucket of buttercream and only 2 cups to use.
Mayer Lemon Macarons
Light and airy in texture with creamy, slightly tangy center these Meyer Lemon Macarons are fit for a king! They're naturally gluten free and can be customized a million different ways. Make the same macaron shells but add a different cream for other flavors.
For Macaron Shells
How to make Meyer Lemon Macarons
Preheat oven to 300F. Line 2 jelly roll sheets with parchment paper or silpat.
Separate egg whites from egg yolks, being careful not to contaminate the whites with the yolks. Measure out 100 grams of egg whites (about 3 eggs), cover with plastic and let stand at room temperature overnight. OR – microwave for 20 seconds, in 5 second intervals, mixing after each stop.
In a bowl of a food processor, combine 200 grams powdered sugar and 100 grams almond flour or 100 grams peeled & slivered almonds (store bought). Pulse to combine, about 20 seconds. Then pulverize for about 2-3 minutes if started with almond flour or about 4-5 minutes if started with slivered almonds.
Start whipping the egg whites with a pinch of salt. Once foamy, start adding the granulated sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Add the food coloring. Mix to somewhat incorporate.
Add ½ the powdered sugar mixture and with a very quick mixing motions, make about 5-6 swirls with a spoon, to somewhat combine the meringue with the powdered sugar mixture. Add the other ½ of the dry ingredients and carefully fold it in until fully combined. Take care not to overmix. Stop when the batter falls in a thick ribbon and disappears in about 30 seconds.
Pipe and Bake the Meyer Lemon Macaron Shells
Fill the piping bag with batter and pipe out 1 inch circles onto parchment paper. Sprinkle half of the piped circles with dried cherries or cranberries. Slide the first sheet in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. Do the same with the second sheet once the first one is done.
Remove from oven and let them cool. Carefully peel off the half cookies by lifting them up, or using a thin knife slide right under each cookie to release it.
Make the Buttercream for Meyer Lemon Macarons
Place eggs and sugar into a bowl of a stand mixer, then set it over a pot with simmering water. Continuously stir with a ship until the temperature reaches 140, or until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove the bowl from the heat and whip on high until stiff peaks and the bowl is cool to the touch.
Add vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice and stir to incorporate.
While continuing to whip on high speed, add room temperature butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Melt white chocolate in the microwave, by heating it in 10 second intervals and stirring each time. Do not overheat or the chocolate will separate). Heat only until most of the chocolate is melted, then continue stirring to melt the rest of the chocolate. Bring chocolate to room temperature and fold into the buttercream.
Pair macarons by size. Make two rows, one with the top side up, with with the bottom side up.
Fill pastry bag with buttercream and pipe a dollop of buttercream on the cookie that’s bottom side up. Cover with the other one and press for the filling to come closer to the edges.
Place in a closed container and leave for 24 hours.
Tips for SUCCESS:
- How to make your own almond flour: Use a food processor to process whole unroasted almonds until fine flour forms. Stop and scrape the bottom every minute or so.
- If you do not have a blender, sift the confectioners sugar and the almond flour together through a sieve several times.
- When mixing the meringue and the almond/powdered sugar mixture, take care not to overmix. It is better to not mix enough then to overmix the batter. Fold the egg whites and the almond mixture until a thick ribbon that looks like lava forms. The batter running off the spatula should disappear in about 30 seconds.
- It is better to overbake, then not bake enough. Underbaked macarons form a hollow inside. If you overbake the macarons and they are hard when cooled, just fill them with a filling that has a higher moisture content, and leave to mature for a little longer. The moisture in the filling will make the macarons perfectly soft and no one will know that they were once hard.
- The macarons must mature in the fridge before consumption. They follow a bell-shaped curve when it comes to the perfect flavor. The macarons will peak at about 24 hours and slowly go down after that.
- For longer storage of macarons: wrap each macaron in plastic wrap several times to prevent loss of moisture and drying out. Then, store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month. To thaw: remove from the freezer and allow to come thaw in the fridge.