Friday, April 9, 2010

The Sweet Scent of Spring: Lavender and Orange Honey Macarons

Did you know that the sense of smell is the strongest sense tied to our memories? Of course you did, it's one of those random facts everyone has in their repertoire of things to impress people with at a party. Nonetheless, it is so true! 

When I smell apple-cinnamon Glade Plug-Ins and freshly sharpened pencil, I literally have to bat away the thick cloud of nostalgia that descends upon me as I recall the joy of school holiday parties and the dread of spelling tests.

When I smell pine trees, I am immediately transported back to early Christmases when I used to camp out behind our Christmas tree to read Goosebumps on top of the heater (I know, a tree next to a heater. Not smart.)

When I smell the ocean, memories of summer vacations spent in San Diego come flooding over me as I remember giggling mindlessly while riding the Giant Dipper at Balboa Park and waking up at 6am to surf with my Dad. 

Finally, when I smell the fresh scent of lavender and the refreshing aroma of oranges coupled with their sweet smelling blossoms which produce the best sort of honey I think... what an amazing combination for my next macaron endeavor! And I was right! The combination of the fragrant lavender, citrusy orange and warm honey was so perfect, so spring. 

Not to mention I solved the whole "too sweet" problem that plagued my last batch thanks to the new macaron book my husband gave me, i (heart) macarons By: Hisako Ogita. I highly recommend it for beginning macaroners, the base macaron recipe is perfectly proportioned and it gives tons of ideas for different macaron and buttercream combinations. Thanks baby!

Lavender and Orange Honey Macarons

Macaron Ingredients

  • 3 oz Ground Almonds/Almond Meal (The Trader Joe's brand works great!)
  • 5.25 oz Powdered Sugar
  • 99 grams Egg Whites, Aged 1-2 days
  • 65 grams Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Powdered Pink and Blue Food Coloring
  • Dried Lavender 
Orange Honey Buttercream Ingredients 
  • 1 1/2 Sticks of Butter, Softened
  • 1 1/2 c Powdered Sugar
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 3 Tbsp Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1 3/4 Tbsp Honey
Macaron Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare two cookie sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper

2. Sift the almond meal and powdered sugar into a medium bowl, set aside.

3. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, or with a hand beater, beat the egg whites on med-hi until soft peaks form. Then slowly add the granulated sugar and the food coloring (until desired shade of lavender is achieved) and beat until stiff peaks form.

4. Add the vanilla and 1/3 of the almond meal mixture and fold into the egg whites until almost incorporated. Then add the next 1/3 and fold until almost incorporated. Then add the last 1/3 and fold against the side of the bowl until just fully incorporated. It should be a loose paste consistency.

5. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large tip and pipe circles about an inch in diameter onto your prepared pans. Rap the pans a couple times to release air bubbles then sprinkle the tops with the dried lavender. Let the macarons set 15-20 min on the counter or just until they don't stick to you fingers when you touch them.

6. On the center rack, bake the macrons 11-12 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool. 

Orange Honey Buttercream Directions

1. Cream the butter with a paddle attachment, or a hand beater, then add the powdered sugar and zest. Add the honey and the juice and mix until incorporated.

2. Spread a moderate amount of the buttercream between 2 macarons and store the completed macarons in a sealed  container in the fridge for 1-2 days before eating to set the texture. Remove 20 min before serving.

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