French macarons with espresso-flavored meringue shells and a coffee liqueur buttercream filling. A perfect dessert for any occasion.
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Making French macarons is probably an old hat for many of you but it isn’t for me, I’ve struggled with them for a long time. The ones I’ve made in the past mostly exploded at some point during or after the baking process and the few that stayed intact usually didn’t develop their characteristic “foot.” (They still tasted good but of course in my line of work that isn’t sufficient). I finally found instructions that work from Helene over at the beautiful Tartelette blog. I think one of the crucial parts about Helene’s recipe is the low temperature (280 degrees F); I had always baked macarons hotter. I followed her basic recipe, didn’t get a single pop and pretty little feet all across the baking sheet. Very exciting stuff! :)
Coffee Macarons Recipe
Recipe adapted from Tartelette.
This recipe makes about 28 macaron shells (14 macarons).
For the macarons:
- 200 grams powdered sugar
- 110 grams almond flour
- 3/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 90 grams egg whites (about 3 eggs)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 25 grams granulated sugar
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur (I used Kapali)
For the macarons:
- Pulse powdered sugar, almond flour and espresso powder in a food processor until well combined. Set aside.
- Whip egg whites and vanilla to a nice bubbly foam.
- Gradually add the granulated sugar to the egg whites, continuing to beat until you have a glossy meringue that just barely holds stiff peaks.
- Fold the almond mix into the whipped egg whites until combined. (It’ll be a sticky, very slow-flowing, thick mass).
- Using a large round tip pipe the macaron onto two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- If your macarons keep a little tip in the center, get your finger wet with a little bit of cold water and push the tip down.
- Let the macarons sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 280 degrees F.
- Bake the macarons for 15 to 20 minutes, switching positions of the baking sheets halfway through.
- Once baked, leave the macarons in the oven, turn the oven off and open the oven door. After 15 minutes, take the macarons out.
For the filling:
- Beat all ingredients together until you have a smooth cream.
- Match the macarons into pairs by size.
- Put a dollop of buttercream on one shell and fit a second shell on top.
Food Photography and Styling: I find that these white on white shots can look disorienting, which is why I like to have a horizon line in them that says to the viewer “Here is a table, here is the edge of that table and behind that table is a wall.” That provides a point of reference that I personally find very comforting. I started by placing three macaron on a plate but they looked disconnected and lost so I went with a “basket” scenario instead. This little white bowl/ramekin was the only item I had that fit three of them more or less comfortably. I didn’t want to distract with color so I just placed a jar with milk in the background and left it at that. As usual I used my strobe to light the set.
Nikon D600, 105mm, f/3.2, 1/125 sec., ISO 50. One Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 Monolight, 35″ x 58″ Softbox.