Given that it is officially Spring tomorrow, I want to share a light, floral dessert recipe with you: Lavender Honey Macarons. Do you remember these photos? I used them as my blog header image for a while, but never got around to posting the recipe.
Macarons couldn’t be simpler when it comes to ingredients, but these finicky, dainty little cookies are maddening to execute well. It takes very little to turn your puffy delectable creations into flat cracked discs. Once you have found your comfort zone, you will have the free reign to be imaginative and explore the different flavor combinations; they’re absolutely endless!
You can find dried lavender buds for culinary uses in many gourmet shops or even in some well-stocked grocery stores. If it’s still impossible to track down, you can order them online – just get the smallest amount available because a little goes a long way. The infused lavender milk is strong stuff by the way (you want to make a strong infusion so as to add as little liquid to the buttercream as possible), so be really careful when you’re adding the lavender flavoring to the butter mixture or your buttercream may taste like an aromatherapy candle.
- 3.2 oz egg whites, room temperature and preferably aged up to 3 days
- 2.8 oz lavender sugar (see note below)
- 5.6 oz confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 3.2 oz almond meal, sifted
- Purple food coloring
- 2 tbsps milk or heavy cream
- 1 tbsp dried lavender buds
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- Whisk egg whites until they begin to foam, about 1 minute. Slowly add in granulated sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form (mixture should be thick and glossy; you should be able to hold the bowl upside down without the whites falling out).
- Add sifted confectioners’ sugar, almond meal, and food coloring to the mixture. Using a spatula, fold until it is well incorporated and the mixture has a consistency of molten lava. To test, scoop up a spoonful of batter and drop it back into the mixture; it should flatten and disappear into the batter in about 15 seconds or so. If it doesn’t, continue folding the mixture. It should take about 50-60 strokes for the batter to reach the right consistency.
- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with large round tip, and pipe small rounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with a template underneath. The rounds should be no larger than 2 inch in diameter with at least ½ inch of space between.
- Gently tap the bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air, then let the macarons dry on the counter for about 30 minutes until a skin is formed on the surface (the batter shouldn’t stick to your hand when you touch it).
- Place the macarons in a 350F oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes until the shells harden. Let cool completely on the baking sheets.
- Combine milk and dried lavender in a small bowl and set in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. Using a strainer, discard lavender buds and reserve infused milk.
- Using a mixer, cream together butter and honey until smooth. Gradually add confectioners' sugar until incorporated. Add infused milk, one teaspoon at a time until you reach the desired flavor and consistency, and beat until light and fluffy.
- Match the macaron shells in pairs. Pipe or spread a small round of buttercream (about half a teaspoon) on the flat side of a macaron shell and sandwich together with a matching macaron shell. Repeat with the remaining macarons.
*The assembled macarons can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
*I leave the egg whites on the counter for three days, cover with plastic wrap, leaving some space for the moisture to escape.