These were surprisingly delicious! I have been on the lookout for savoury or sweet and savoury combinations to try with macarons and I am always a little suspicious at first. Because macaron cookies require sugar to make the shells, any savoury flavors have to combine well with the sugary cookies. I tried these first with crunchy, dried tomatoes, and they were yummy, but then I made some more with fresh cherry tomatoes and could hardly stop eating them. Such a simple concept: basic macaron shells, cream cheese, cherry tomatoes, and a basil leaf. We have three pots of basil growing in and out of the house right now, and miraculously we have managed to keep the snails away so far. I love having a supply of fresh basil, so send me recipe ideas with basil, please!
1 1/2 cups almond flour (150 gr.)
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (150 gr.)
3 egg whites, aged at room temperature (75 grams)
1/3 cup sugar (90 grams)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
sliced cherry tomatoes
fresh basil leaves
1. Sift the almond flour and confectioners sugar through a fine-mesh sieve. Re-grind any grains that are too coarse to fit through the sieve, otherwise the macaron shells won’t be smooth.
2. Blend egg whites at a low speed for 1 minute, then add cream of tartar and the regular sugar and blend another minute at low speed. Blend 2 more minutes at high speed until egg whites are beaten into stiff, glossy peaks. Setting a timer is useful while beating the egg whites, if the batter is over-whipped, the macarons get air bubbles and hollow out underneath the shells, but you don’t want to under-whip the batter either.
3. Add half of the sifted dry ingredients. Fold with a spatula from bottom of bowl upward, then press the flat side of the spatula firmly through middle of mixture and rotate the bowl slightly. This process is called “macaronage” and reduces air bubbles in the batter. Add the second half of the dry ingredients and continue the macaronage until batter is glossy and flows like lava. Getting this right is part luck and part practice, there are countless videos online for how to achieve a proper macaronage!
4. Rest a pastry bag inside a vertical cylinder to transfer the batter into the bag, then close the
top. Cut a small hole in the bottom tip of the pastry bag. The batter should be fairly stiff, but you don’t want it to come out too quickly, I cut my hole to less than 1 cm in diameter.
5. Either onto a parchment sheet or a macaron mat, pipe batter into 1 inch round cookies. I do this onto a macaron mat which helps to make the cookies perfectly round and the same size. I also find the raised rims help contain the batter from spreading out on the sheets. Some people use a template with circles underneath the parchment paper instead, but I love my macaron mats and my macarons are irregular when I make them without a mat.
6. Drop the baking sheets firmly onto the counter 2 or 3 times to release air bubbles. Drop them pretty hard, the objective is to knock out any remaining air bubbles. Let the macaron sheets sit for 30-40 minutes to dry so that they create a slight crust on the surface.
7. Preheat oven to 160ºC.
8. Place the macarons in the middle of the oven. Bake macarons for 8 minutes and then take the tray out and face the front to the back. Bake for an additional 8 minutes, this way both ends of the tray get evenly baked. Only bake 1 sheet of macarons at a time. If your macarons are very large, bake a few minutes extra. I think every oven is a little different, but this is the sweet spot in mine.
9. Once the macarons are completely cooled, remove them from the sheets and use a butter knife or spatula to spread cream cheese on the cookie shell bottoms, then sandwich the macaron with a thin slice of cherry tomato and a basil leaf to another shell on top. Do this with all the macarons, but only just before serving. The cream cheese will absorb into the cookie shells if they are left sitting and soften the macarons.
10. You can store the macaron shells in a closed storage tin in the refrigerator or freezer and take them out to fill right before serving.
Serve your macarons on a beautiful plate and try not to eat too many!
Make these just before serving so that the shells won’t get soggy. I love the color contrasts on my black EVA plate!
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