The last time I made macarons was too long ago. They are such a process to make, and after all my trial and error (you can check out this post if you want to know my whole macaron story or if you want tips on making macs), I was a little macaron-ed out.
Not to mention that even though I’ve been successful with macarons before, there’s always the fear that they won’t turn out, which is why I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I pulled these little beauties out of the oven and I saw their pretty feet and domed tops. And I had to agree with Mike when he said (with surprise in his voice), “Wow, they turned out great!” (What are husbands for if not “compliments” like this, right? :) )
I actually made these macs for Mother’s Day and they were a huge hit with my mom. She loved the balance of flavors between the white tea and the cherry preserves…and she thought they were just so pretty.
A Note on the White Tea: I used Celestial Seasonings Decaf White Tea in these; I just cut open a bag, poured its contents into a mortar, and gave it a nice fine grind with a pestle. (Just be aware that white tea is still green in color – this is what caused the very small pretty green flecks in my macs.) You can use any kind of white tea you like though.
Celestial Seasonings Decaf White Tea: Isn’t this box gorgeous? I hate to admit that I buy products just because of the packaging (and I usually don’t!), but look, it’s just so pretty…and I needed white tea anyway… ;)
White Tea Macarons with Cherry Preserves (Adapted from my recipe for Pistachio Macarons with Rose Buttercream)
(Yield: About 20 filled macarons)
2 ½ oz (70.9 gm or about 2 large) egg whites (ounces measured by weight, not volume)
4 oz (113.4 gm or 1 cup) powdered sugar (also called confectioner’s, icing, or 10X sugar)
2 oz (56.7 gm or ½ cup) almond meal/flour
1 teaspoon powdered white tea
Pinch fine salt
¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
1 ½ oz (42.5 gm or 3 tablespoons) superfine (castor) sugar
Cherry preserves, for filling (or any kind of preserves you like)
Handheld electric mixer
Piping bag fitted with ½-inch round tip
Parchment paper or silpat liners
Step 1: Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper or silpat liners.
Step 2: Fill a bowl with hot water from the faucet (it should be about 105F); put the eggs in the water and let them sit until they come to room temperature. (Turn them over every few minutes so they can come up to temperature on both sides. They’re ready when they don’t feel hot or cold to the touch. You may need to add more hot water if they’re not warming up fast enough.) Once the eggs are the right temperature, remove them from the water and dry them off. Separate the yolks from the whites, measuring 2 ½ oz egg whites for this recipe (you don’t need the yolks for this recipe).
Step 3: In a medium bowl, whisk or sift together the powdered sugar, almond meal, powdered white tea, and salt (or you can pulse it together a few times in a food processor).
Step 4: Put the egg whites in a medium bowl and use a handheld electric mixer to whip. When the egg whites are foamy (this should only take a few seconds), gradually add the superfine sugar while still beating. When you have stiff, glossy peaks, beat in the almond extract.
Step 5: Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the almond meal mixture into the egg whites. Only fold the batter in one direction by sliding the spatula into the center of the batter, then lifting it up and letting the batter fall back onto itself. It generally takes about 50 strokes to work the batter, but this number isn’t as important as how the batter looks. The batter is ready to pipe when it has a smooth, shiny surface and flows like lava in one large ribbon off the spatula. Here is an easy way to see if the batter is ready: use a rubber spatula to lift and drop the batter onto itself; if the ribbon gradually disappears into the batter within 30 seconds, it’s ready to go.
Step 6: Pour the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip (½ inch in diameter); hold the piping bag straight (i.e., at a 90 degree angle) above baking sheet and pipe 1-inch circles onto the prepared sheet. (You should get about 40 macarons.) Leave about 1 inch between each macaron. Tap each tray a couple times on the countertop to help flatten out the macarons and get rid of any air bubbles. The macarons should not have points on top.
Step 7: Let the macarons sit at room temperature until they form a shell that’s dry to the touch (this could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours or more, depending on the weather).
Step 8: Once the macarons are dry to the touch, preheat oven to 300F; once up to temperature, bake both trays at the same time for 10 to 20 minutes, rotating trays once. Let the macarons cool completely on parchment paper or silpat liner before removing.
Step 9: To fill the macarons, pair up similar sized cookies. Spoon preserves onto the bottom of one macaron, then place the matching macaron on top of filling. (Just a heads up, I usually fill my macarons with a bit less preserves than I would buttercream for 2 reasons: preserves have more liquid than buttercream and I don’t want to make the cookies soggy; and, preserves tend to be much sweeter than buttercream.)
Step 10: Line an airtight lidded container with parchment paper and carefully arrange the macarons inside; let them sit in the fridge for a day or 2 (or up to a couple weeks) before eating. Let the cookies sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes before serving.