Macarons are all the rage these days. I’ve found them popping up everywhere, even in the wilds of central Texas. Lucky, lucky us, we’ve got Jessica Cale with us today to share a recipe. And…Oh. My. Goodness. Look at them! Mouth-watering. These are a must-try for my next special occasion!
I love macarons. These gorgeous little French cookies are light, delicious, and you can make them in any color or flavor you can imagine. With Valentine’s Day coming up, I’m sharing the recipes for my favorite flavors and one of those is Chocolate & Bailey’s. I made these this weekend with my friend Jen in mind. Hot chocolate with Bailey’s in it was always our go-to drink in University and these indulgent macarons have the same taste with fewer calories (unless you eat them all. Not gonna lie, it could happen). Word of warning? They do take a little bit longer to make than hot chocolate…
Making macarons can be a little tricky at first, so before you start, I would really recommend looking up some tutorials so you know what everything is supposed to look along the way. Food Nouveau has one here that is incredibly helpful with extensive tips and a great troubleshooting guide. The Cupcake Project has another one with some great pictures here.
Chocolate Macarons with Bailey’s Cream Recipe
(makes about 30 complete macarons)
For the chocolate shells:
2 egg whites
1 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup ground almonds
¼ cup fine granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s, but any brand will do)
Ground cinnamon, for dusting (optional)
For the Bailey’s cream:
1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
1 tbs butter (Can substitute non-dairy butter such as Earth Balance. I prefer it!)
1 tbs milk (Can substitute soy or almond milk if preferred)
2 tbs Bailey’s
Blender or food processor
Sifter or fine sieve
3 or more baking sheets
Non-stick baking paper or silicone baking mats
A medium stainless steel bowl
Pastry bag tip (note: a tip with a ½ inch opening is recommended. You’ll get more uniform results with a ½ inch tip, but I’ve also used smaller ones with good results)
The day before: Separate the eggs and put the egg whites in an air-tight container. Leave the egg whites in the fridge overnight.
Three hours before: Take the egg whites out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature slowly. Put the stainless steel bowl into the fridge. (Yes, really)
- Put the almonds, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder into the blender and grind together for a few seconds. Sift the powder into a bowl and set aside.
- Take the bowl out of the fridge and give it a good wipe with a kitchen towel to be sure it is completely dry before you start. Put the egg whites into the bowl and beat them on medium speed with the hand mixer. When they get foamy and start to really expand, add the granulated sugar a little bit at a time and continue to beat all of the sugar has dissolved. At this point, the eggs will start to look thick and foamy, a bit like shaving cream. Lower the speed of the mixer and continue to beat the eggs until stiff peaks are left when you pull the mixer out. When your eggs are ready, they will be thick enough that you can hold the bowl upside down without them falling out. If you tilt the bowl and they’re still sliding, beat them on low for another minute and try again. (You might need to do this several times before they’re ready, but be patient! If your eggs aren’t right, the macarons won’t turn out.)
Note: If the bowl is very cold and the eggs have been aged long enough, this won’t take very long. If they haven’t, it’ll take forever. I’ve had this take anywhere from 4 – 30 minutes. Big difference!
- Carefully fold in the dry ingredients a little bit at a time with a rubber spatula. Don’t mix them or stir vigorously, you don’t want to wreck the eggs! When it’s done, the mixture will be thick, airy, and should fall off of the spatula in slow, wide ribbons.
- Pour the mixture into a pastry bag and pipe rounds onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper or a silicone baking mat. Try to make them all the same size as much as you can, leaving an inch between them. These will cover at two or three baking sheets, depending on the size and spacing.
- Smack the baking sheets on your counter one at a time. Lift them a few inches above the counter and just drop them. (This makes a pretty loud noise, so if you live with other people, give them some warning!) Do this a few times for each tray.
- If you’re using cinnamon, grab it now. Shake a little over the tops of the macarons while they’re still sticky.
- Let them sit until the surface starts to dry. You’ll know they’re ready when you touch them and nothing sticks to your finger. When they feel like they’re there, preheat your oven to 285F.
- Put the baking tray on top of another empty baking tray in the center of your oven. Bake the macarons for 12 minutes with the door closed before checking on them. If they’re still really sticking after twelve minutes, put them back into the oven for another 2-3 minutes.
- Take the baking paper or mat off of the baking trays and leave them to cool completely on the counter (or cooling racks, if using). This only takes a minute or so. The macarons should pop off of the paper pretty easily, but if they stick, you can slide a thin knife between the shell and the paper to help them along.
For the Bailey’s Cream
- Beat sugar and butter together in a bowl. If you’re using Earth Balance, it will tend to look crumbly, but this is totally fine. Add the milk (or soy milk) and the Bailey’s and it will all come together nicely.
This icing is a little bit on the thin side, so you will need to refrigerate it before assembling the macarons if it’s out too long. Alternatively, you can add a bit more sugar to thicken it up. Feel free to tweak the quantities to suit your tastes — I like this the best because it’s not too sweet and there’s just enough Bailey’s to give it a nice flavor.
Match shells of similar size and stick them together with a little bit of the icing. Chocolate is an incredibly versatile flavor, so you can have fun experimenting with different fillings. Try raspberry jam, chocolate ganache, mascarpone, or any flavor of buttercream that takes your fancy. Now that you know how to make it, you can replace the Bailey’s with almost anything to make buttercream in the flavor of your choice.
Put the finished macarons in an air-tight container in the fridge and let them sit overnight before you eat them. The flavor and texture improves overnight, so they will be at their best tomorrow.
And the whole process only takes three days…
Jessica Cale is recovering journalist with a history degree and rather a lot of Nick Cave records. She combines her loves of corsets and happy ending to write dark historical romances for Liquid Silver Books. Her first novel, Tyburn (The Southwark Saga, Book 1) is out now. You can visit her at www.authorjessicacale.com
Make sure to Visit Jessica Online!
Tyburn (The Southwark Saga, Book 1)
Sally Green is about to die.
She sees Death in the streets. She can taste it in her gin. She can feel it in the very walls of the ramshackle brothel where she is kept to satisfy the perversions of the wealthy. She had come to London as a runaway in search of her Cavalier father. Instead, she found Wrath, a sadistic nobleman determined to use her to fulfill a sinister ambition. As the last of her friends are murdered one by one, survival hinges on escape.
Nick Virtue is a tutor with a secret. By night he operates as a highwayman, relieving nobles of their riches to further his brother’s criminal enterprise. It’s a difficult balance at the best of times, and any day that doesn’t end in a noose is a good one. Saving Sally means risking his reputation, and may end up costing him his life.
As a brutal attack throws them together, Sally finds she has been given a second chance. She is torn between the tutor and the highwayman, but she knows she can have neither. Love is an unwanted complication while Wrath haunts the streets. Nick holds the key to Wrath’s identity, and Sally will risk everything to bring him to justice.
Unless the gallows take her first.
Where to buy Tyburn: