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Saturday, March 31, 2012

A twist on French macarons

I have weird cravings.  Not the type of craving where I want to eat something, let alone something weird, but they type of craving when an idea pops into my head and I feel that I must make it.  It's not even that I want to eat it once it's been made; I just want to make it.

This idea came into my head a while ago when I was searching for something else, and I am honestly shocked that I've waited this long to make them.  A few weeks ago, while doing some research on some Dr. Seuss-themed cupcakes, I came across these macarons.  Colored and flavored with....wait for it....Kool-Aid!  Yes, you read that correctly.  Blasphemous, right?  Kool-Aid and high-end French desserts, which sell for upwards of $2.50+ a piece, together?  But it's also kinda ingenious.  Flavor and color in one addition?  I was intrigued.  However, the flavors used for those macarons were not the least bit enticing to me, as I do not like fruit punch, and things that are dyed artificially blue weird me out a little.  Then I started thinking about flavor combinations that would sound good to me.  Chocolate always works but (a) there is no chocolate Kool-Aid that I know of, and frankly even if it did exist, I would NOT want to try it, and (b) I'm saving those for next week.  I kept coming back to lemon/lemonade, but ultimately settled on pink lemonade, because that would lend not only flavor to the macaron but also a hint of color.  Instead of buttercream, I decided that a homemade lemon curd would go really well with the slightly sweet/slightly tart pink lemonade.

They're not as pink as I had hoped, but look at those perfect feet!

Kool-Aid Flavored Macarons

110 grams almond flour (I found almond meal - at Trader Joe's - such a time saver!  Although the only almond meal I found had the skins on them, so my macarons are a little spotted.  In the past, I weighed out 110 grams of almonds and then pulsed them with the confectioner's sugar)
200 grams confectioners sugar
100 grams egg whites (from 3 eggs, separated 24 hours in advance or microwaved for 8-10 seconds - I got impatient and let mine sit for 13.5 hours)
50 grams granulated sugar
1 envelope Kool-Aid (I looked it up, 4.5 grams per packet....I couldn't find packets so I had to buy  an entire container - but I went with CountryTime pink lemonade since Kool-Aid only came in yellow lemonade.  I also had to do some playing around with it, since the packets of Kool-Aid say to add sugar, but the larger containers already contain sugar.  If you use packets of Kool-Aid without sugar in them, keep the original measurements.  If you use the sugar-already-added larger containers, subtract 4 grams of sugar from the original recipe, using 46 grams of granulated sugar.)
1-2 drops food coloring, optional

Lemon curd, see below.  If you choose other flavors of Kool-Aid, you can mix up the flavors of the filling.  Maybe a lime curd, or a raspberry coulis.  Or a good old chocolate or white chocolate ganache.  Or buttercream.  They'd all work, depending on the flavor of macaron that you choose to make.


Pulse the almond flour (or almonds) and confectioner's sugar several times in your food processor until thoroughly mixed.
Place your aged egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk until foamy.
Add the sugar and turn the mixer to high, whisking until you have a glossy meringue.
Add the Kool Aid and food coloring, if using, to the egg whites and let the mixer run a few circles through the batter to distribute.
Fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites gently, briskly at first to break up the meringue a bit, until thoroughly mixed. The batter will be a little lumpy but will relax.
Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe rounds of 1.5 inches along two parchment-lined baking sheets.
Let sit one hour at room temperature (this allows them to get the "foot" that you see on the bottom of the macaron).
Heat oven to 300. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely and remove from the pan.
Not more than 24 hours before serving, pipe 1-2 tsp of frosting onto one cookie and top with the other, gently pressing down (because of the moistness of the lemon curd, I decided to wait to fill the macarons until just a few hours before serving).
Store tightly covered

Homemade Lemon Curd
(This lemon curd recipe is embedded in another recipe, a braided lemon bread, which is absolutely fantastic and I have made it several times - all before I started the blog.  It will eventually make its way onto the blog, but if you're impatient and want to make it beforehand, I highly recommend it!)

3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 tsp fresh lemon zest, finely grated (perfect use for a microplane grater!)
3 Tbsp sugar
1 large egg
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


Whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, and egg in a saucepan.
Stir in the butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap touches the surface of the curd, and allow it to chill until cold, at least 1 hour.

**Depending on how strictly you keep kosher for Passover, these macarons would be a nice addition to your Passover dessert repertoire, however I am personally hesitant to use Kool-Aid mix on Passover.  I will, however, have a more Passover friendly macaron coming up in the next week or so**

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