French Macarons

When I started this little blog journey, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to come up with recipes that inspired me to actually write about. I’m finding out more and more that you can’t push it. It has to come to you naturally; and when it feels good inside, you can feel it resonate and the words just flow. Today feels like one of those days and it makes me happy!

Springtime time is upon us and that means everything Is coming alive again! This motivates me to kind of cleanse, evolve and rejuvenate things involved with the kitchen, baking and anything else really to give a fresh and updated feel to it. So it’s all about getting back to basics and starting fresh. Making tasty treats in the most natural way possible. This is where the beets come in…

The recipe I want to share with you today is for French Macarons made with an Italian meringue that I’ve been developing for about a year now, except with a fun new twist! Instead of using almond flour like the most typical and classic French macarons, I used finely ground pecans. The main reason being because I ran out of almond flour and really wanted to make some macarons today!.. lol. The other twist about them is that instead of using food coloring, I used Beet juice. 😍

All about that natural color…

Not only is the color just gorgeous, but it’s so much better for you too! I’ve become increasingly inspired by baking things that are all-natural and using colors and flavors derived from the earth. Nature inspires me and I want to continue to work with it any way possible!

By the way, I was in no way expecting this recipe tweak to turn out the first time because of how sensitive these macarons are to any added liquid or fat! So I was running with sheer hope that if I followed the recipe to the exact measurements except replacing 2 ingredients with their equal counterparts, that it would turn out. To my pleasant surprise, they totally did! So, I have to share the recipe with you all because it’s delicious, simplistic and just an all around beautiful cookie to make and share!

So let’s get started! Here is the recipe for a French macaron made with beet juice and pecan flour using the Italian meringue method.

French Macaron recipe ( Italian meringue method)

Yield: 15-20 medium sized cookie sandwiches; 1 1/2″ diameter

140 g Pecans (finely ground)

140 g Powdered sugar

100 g Granulated sugar

40 g Beet juice/water mixture

97g Egg whites( 47 g for paste, 50 g for meringue)

Note- I only recommend weighing the ingredients with a scale for the best results!

Method

First of all, you want to make sure you have a food processor or blender that can ground the pecans very finely so that they can be easily sifted. The finer the better for a nice, smooth cookie surface.

Once you have grounded the pecans, you can sift them into a mixing bowl along with the powdered sugar. Set aside. Weigh out the 50g egg whites into a mixing bowl fitted with the whip attachment. Then measure the other 47g egg whites into your pecan and powered sugar mixture.

Incorporate the almond and egg white mixture until it becomes a smooth paste and then set aside.

Take 2 small sized beets, peel the skin off of them and then place them in a food processor with roughly a 1/4 cup of water. Just enough to make it easier for the beets to process into a liquid. Once you are done, strain the juice into a bowl and set a side.

In a small saucepan, measure out the granulated sugar and then pour 40 g of the reserved beet juice carefully over the sugar as to not spread any sugar crystals on the side of the pot.

Undivided attention…

This is the part that needs your undivided attention. Now you are ready to make the Italian meringue. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook until you get a thick syrup and the temperature reaches about 223 F. ( Do not attempt to stir this syrup while cooking! Crystals will form and that’s bad!) While the syrup is cooking, Start whipping your egg whites at medium speed until frothy. Once the syrup has reached the proper temp, turn the mixer on high and then you can ‘slowly’ drizzle the syrup into the egg whites until it’s all incorporated. Remember, This is a very delicate step as the whites are very sensitive to the heat. Now that you have incorporated the syrup and the meringue continues to fluff up and aerate, you have made a successful Italian meringue! just allow it to keep whipping until it has fully developed and cooled and has a nice shine to it.

It’s all in the folding…

Now you are ready to fold the meringue into your pecan sugar paste. Start by adding half of your meringue and carefully fold in and press any lumps out. You want to maintain a smooth consistency! Any lumps will show in the finished cookie and that’s not good.

Now add the remaining meringue to the batter.  With a very slow, fluid motion, even more gently this time, fold the meringue into the batter to incorporate fully. Keep folding until you have just the slightest run of batter when you pull the spatula up from the bowl.

Note: A lot of people say this is the make or break point in the cookie process because one too many folds will lead to too much spreading, leading to odd shapes and an appearance of over mixing when the cookie is baked.

Now you are ready to pipe out some macarons! As you can see in the pictures below, I have a sheet pan lined with parchment. The paper has circles traced with pencil( make sure the pencil traced side is down). I also like to use a pastry bag with a round tip about 1cm in diameter.

Add some batter to fill about half of the pastry bag and twist the end closed with your dominant hand. Carefully pipe the batter staying in the center of each circle and pushing batter out until it reaches the edge of the circle lift the back quickly in a side ways motion to release the batter from the cookie in a smooth motion. Repeat this process until you’ve covered the whole tray.

Now gently tap the tray onto the work surface until you’ve tapped any air bubbles out and smoothed out the cookie even more to create a nice, smooth shell.

Allow the cookies to dry out for 15-20 minutes. This is an important step that helps create the desired shell of the macaron. It’s less likely to crack open on the tops while baking when you its slightly dried out.

Preheat your oven to 260 F (conventional) or 250 F (Convection). Place the macarons in the very center of the oven and set a timer for 18 minutes. Note: All ovens are different! This is the temperature and time that works for my conventional oven. You may end up having to adjust these numbers. I hope it works for you, but I can’t promise anything!

The shells should start popping up and the feet should start showing between 5-7 minutes. Once the cookies are done. Take them out of the oven and allow to cool and finish cooking in the sheet tray.

Once cooled, you can start filling them with your desired fillings! This time around I used a dark chocolate ganache. Next time, I think I’ll try making a raspberry beet ganache or buttercream to fill them😋

Finished French macarons with a dark chocolate ganache filling.

Final comments…

The cookie made with pecans has such a great, toasted nut flavor! A little more rich and buttery in taste than the almond. Also, the flavor of the beets comes out ever so slightly! I almost taste a similar flavor to raspberry. Maybe It’s just me…

I recommend using the Italian meringue method over French (cold) meringue because I find the cooked syrup gives the cookies a lot more stability and structure. French meringue works great as well and works for many people, but I would not use this recipe to do it. The beet juice will be too much for the batter without the liquid being evaporated during cooking first.

I’m so excited to try other flours now!! Coconut flour, walnut flour, pistachio flour… oh the lovely, nutty options! 🤗😀 Lol oh and the colors!! I can see carrot, saffron, huckleberry, spinach…. Yay!! I have a vision of selling a variety of French macarons at this summers Farmers market.. Not making any promises just yet, but how cool would that be!?

I hope you enjoy making these French macarons as much as I did! If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask!

Published by lmel7

I'm a Pastry/chocolate chef passionate about creative expression, flavor, nature and the ever-expanding journey of life. With over 15 years experience in the baking and pastry industry, the trade, for me, never gets old and is constantly evolving! I love the work and strive to do my best every time, creating beautiful, edible works of art for everyone to enjoy!

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