Monday, March 21, 2016

Happy First Day of Spring! Lemon Macarons

Happy first day of spring! With flowers beginning to bloom, despite allergies popping in to say their first hello of the season, I can't help but be excited for the change in weather. Warmer temperatures mean putting away those winter jackets and boots and pulling out the spring dresses! 

It's funny how easily we can adapt and how perspective can change when you are put into different situations. 3 years ago, in the beautiful city of Philadelphia, "Spring" would mean 50 degree weather and no more snow, at which time we really did pull out the spring dresses. We would even see sunbathers out on the lawn on the warmer days at a nice and hot 60 degrees farenheit. But after moving back to good old SoCal, I've become quite accustomed to the dry California sunshine, where 50 degrees in the winter is chilly and if it ever drops down to the 40s or dare I say 30s, we are bundled in winter gear: layers, coats, boots, scarves...the whole shebang. The Philadelphia girl in me would be ashamed if she saw me now. "Spring" now means beautiful 70s-80s sunshine. Unfortunately it's usually short lived as Summer rounds the corner at breakneck speed with 100+ heat even before he's called for. But let's not get ahead of ourselves and just focus on the beauty of Spring.  

Spring makes me think of bright yellows and greens and now with Easter just around the corner, pastel pinks and purples. So as a tribute to spring, this post is going to be on something bright, something yellow, something spring: lemon macarons!

Lemon Macarons

Yield: 35 macarons

What you will need:
2 baking sheets
1 piping bag and round piping tip (I use a 2A tip for these macarons)
electric mixer
kitchen scale

Macaron Shell Ingredients:

140g egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
70g granulated sugar
230g powdered sugar
120g almond flour, sifted
2 g salt
Gel or powdered food coloring (optional)

1 cup Buttercream (click here for my favorite recipe)
1/2 cup lemon curd

For step-by-step tutorial with pictures, see my first macaron post: Macaron Madness

  1. Trace circles onto parchment paper making sure they are at least 1.5 inches apart.  
  2. Preheat oven to 150C or 300F. 
  3. Whip 140g egg whites with cream of tartar using an electric mixer on low for 2 minutes, then add granulated sugar and mix on medium for 4 minutes. Finally mix on high for an additional 2-4 minutes until stiff peaks form. 
  4. Add 1/2 tsp lemon yellow food coloring gel to the egg white mixture and mix on high for an additional 30 seconds until combined.
  5. Sift together almond flour, powdered sugar, and salt
  6. Add the sugar/flour mixture to the egg whites 1/3 at a time. Fold in gently, scraping the edge of the bowl often. Continue folding until mixture runs like lava.  
  7. Transfer mixture to a piping bag with round tip (1A or 2A both work fine) and pipe into the tracings you drew
  8. Tap your baking sheet on a hard surface 3 times, then turn 90 degrees and tap another 3 times. Using a toothpick you can pop the other bubbles you see on the surface of the shells
  9. Bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes until macarons peel off parchment paper easily. If they are sticking to the parchment paper, bake for an additional 1-2 minutes until they come off clean.
  10. Match up your macarons by size, one side up, and one side down so they are ready to be filled
  11. Mix 1 tbsp. lemon curd with buttercream until smooth.
  12. Fill piping bag with buttercream (use 2A round tip for better control). Pipe a circle of buttercream around the edge of each macaron.
  13. Fill the center of each circle with lemon curd. You can use a piping bag with a smaller tip or a small spoon.
  14. Sandwich macaron shells.
  15. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours and let thaw for 20 minutes before serving

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