Macarons are big business in Paris and I tend to indulge in those made by my favorite small bakeries all over the city. After all, there’s always a few minutes to pop in for a sweet bite and quick espresso when wandering the city of light.
While macarons are much-admired and often-recreated by food bloggers and some big city bakeries, they are not typical offering yet, especially in Boston. Locals still tend to think of coconut as the only sort of macaron. Claudia Crowell is most definitely going to change all that.
By day, Claudia’s an employee at a private equity firm in Boston’s financial district. But by night, she bakes up soft billowy macarons with fresh fillings for several area businesses as Claudia Crowell Fine Confections. Claudia charmed me when we met a few weeks back – I just loved her entrepreneurial spirit and ambition to make the best possible treat. I tore into her darling package of six handmade macarons and, upon first bite, immediately remembered Paris.
Claudia was sweet enough to share this recipe for Lavender Honey Macarons. This variety, and her Vanilla Bean Macaron, are my favorites. Heidi took some beautiful shots and, voilÃ , we share them all with you today!
From Claudia: “It was only a matter of time before my obsession with French food joined forces with my lifelong love of baking. The French Macaron was an obvious choice, but the vibrant colors and endless flavors that come from these charming little confections have awoken a creative passion inside me. I can think of no greater pleasure than the calm of baking and the reward of creating a lovely French Macaron.”
We hope you enjoy this recipe and peek into her process!
Lavender Honey Macarons
- 4 c. confectioners sugar
- 3 c. almond flour
- 1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 10 egg whites
- lavender food coloring
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp. lavender extract
- 1 tsp. honey
Directions:Making the Macaron Shell
- In a very clean and dry mixing bowl, whip the egg whites at high speed until peaks form.
- Immediately turn the mixer to its slowest speed and add the granulated sugar. Mix at this speed until sugar is dissolved (feel the mixture between your finger tips for granules).
- Meanwhile, combine the confectioners sugar and almond flour in a food processor until they reach a flour-like consistency.
- In a large, clean bowl, add the egg whites, and food coloring, to the dry mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold until the mixture flows in a ribbon. (Tip: Better to under-mix than over-mix. After folding a few times, let the batter rest for a minute and see what it does. You want your batter to settle slowly - a happy medium between holding peaks and collapsing into liquid.)
- Fill a pastry bag, with a plane tip, with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5" diameter) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and let the macarons sit for 30 mins-1 hour until they form a "skin" and are no longer tacky to the touch.
- Once you put the macarons in the oven, turn the temperature down to 310 degrees. (Tip: Get to know your oven. Mine takes awhile to lower the temperature so I wedge the door open with a wooden spoon to give it some help. Experiment and find what works for you!)
- Bake the macarons for about 10 mins or until the no longer jiggle on the "foot". Wait for them to cool before peeling the macarons away from the parchment paper. Match up the halves and fill with the buttercream filling (below).
- In a standing mixer whip the butter at a high speed until pale and creamy.
- Lower the speed and slowly incorporate the sugar.
- Add the extract and honey and increase to high speed once again until the buttercream is light and fluffy. Add more extract and honey if you prefer a stronger flavor.
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