Patience is most often a virtue but once in a while it's a lavender macaron. A petite, pillow-like cookie that is typically so darn pretty one might believe that it couldn't possibly taste good. But it does. It tastes like heaven all wrapped up into two bites. Of course, tasting heaven is going to cost you. The fee is nothing short of a lot of time, patience, finesse, and love. However, if you can afford to put forth these things, a macaron will love you back.
My mom and I spent yesterday planning and preparing for my upcoming wedding shower. We tested out sweet treats, created pretty paper things, and perused herb-laden recipes. As neither of us had ever attempted to make homemade macarons before, we figured we ought to give ourselves a trial run before committing to having them on the shower menu. I've never seen my mom intimidated by a recipe, but something about this one had her subtly frazzled. Maybe it was the macaron's mysterious texture; crunchy, chewy, and creamy all rolled into one. Maybe it was the lavender; a flower that is most often associated with aromatherapy. Or maybe, just maybe, it was the fact that she was making the sweet rounds in preparation for her little girl's wedding shower. Whatever the reason, if she was subtly frazzled, I, being the most impatient baker in town, was a hot mess.
Good thing I always prepare for mismeasures, kitchen clumsiness, and my generally aloof baking skills. Within the first two steps, I had mismeasured. Upon realizing my mistake, I informed my mom at which point she said, "I was wondering what you were doing, but I figured I'd just let you be until you figured it out on your own." This, my friends, is because I can be a bit stubborn in
life the kitchen and my mom knows it. So she let me rock on with my bad baking self until I realized it on my own, because if there were a person whisperer, it would be her. I love her for that and about a gazillion other reasons.
Despite my initial mismeasure, my mom and I corrected my mistake and kept stride with the recipe thereafter. We ground, sifted, whipped, folded, waited, sprinkled, baked, and filled until something beautiful came to be.
Lavender Macarons (Makes 16)
For the Macarons:
◊ ¾ cup ground raw, unsalted almonds
◊ 1 cup confectioner's sugar
◊ 2 large egg whites
◊ ¼ cup lavender sugar*
◊ lavender food coloring
◊ 1 tsp dried lavender flowers
◊ ½ cup cream cheese
◊ 2 tbsp lavender sugar*
1. In a food processor, pulse the ground almonds and confectioner's sugar together for 15 seconds. Using a strainer, sift the almond-confectioner's sugar mix into a medium-sized bowl. Discard coarse almond bits left in strainer.
2. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks begin to form. Slowly add in the lavender sugar and food coloring, and continue to beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Slowly fold in the almond and confectioner's sugar mix. Fold and cut the mixture with a spatula until it develops a smooth, ribbon-like consistency.
3. Using a pastry bag with a large tip (approximately ¾-inch), pipe 32 small (1 ½-inch to 2-inch diameter) circles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle half of the circles with dried lavender flowers.
4.. Heat oven to 325°. While the oven is heating, let the macarons rest for 30 minutes (a crunchy shell will begin to form).
5. Bake the macarons in the oven for 10-15 minutes. You'll know they are ready when they can be easily lifted from the parchment paper and the undersides are smooth and crunchy. Let the macarons cool for 10 minutes.
6. In a medium bowl, whip the cream cheese and lavender sugar together until smooth.
7. Using a small metal spatula, spread half of the macarons with the filling and top with the other halves to make small macaron sandwiches. Store the macarons in the refrigerator (can be kept for 2-3 days). Enjoy!
* To make lavender sugar, pulse 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 tbsp dried lavender flowers in a food processor.