Adapted from thecottagediaries.com and her beautiful macaron recipe. These are my absolute favorite to make and a huge hit with my family and friends. The aroma that is infused in both the shells and buttercream are to DIE FOR - with a slight essence of raw honey. Pair this with a cup of fresh brewed English tea or Earl Grey and you'll believe you were living the luxurious life :) You can buy dried lavender leaves at your local Whole Foods/Sprouts/Natural store. —Stacy
ground almond meal
large egg whites, aged overnight
lavender sugar (SEE BELOW)
purple gel food coloring
pinch of cream of tartar
Earl Grey (Honey) Lavender Buttercream:
unsalted butter, softened
organic raw manuka honey
earl grey & leavender tea leaves, steeped in 2 tb of boiling water
(Prep ahead of time) LAVENDER SUGAR: Measure 1/4 granulated sugar in a bowl. Add several sprigs of lavender (the more leaves, the more fragrant). You can slightly crush the leaves with a mortar and pestle to release the oils. Let it sit overnight to infuse. Sift before using.
SHELLS: In a food processor, blitz the first two ingredients. Sift into a bowl breaking up any large clumps or pieces. Discard any larger bits (about a teaspoon).
Add the lavender sugar in the food processor and proceed to finely grind. Sift and add to the bowl of almonds and confectioner's sugar.
Place egg whites in a clean bowl. Using a standing mixer or hand mixer, whisk at medium speed until foamy. Add all the sugar (TIP: YES YOU CAN ADD ALL THE SUGAR AT ONCE) and continue to beat until glossy stick peaks form. Add the purple food coloring about half way. You know they're done when peaks are stiff on the beater and you can hold the bowl upside down*.
Pour half the almond-meal mixture into the egg whites. Fold into the egg whites gently; at about 20 turns add the rest of the almond-meal mixture and continue folding for an additional 20 turns. Total of about 40-45 folds. **DO NOT OVER FOLD** The batter should look like molten lava and gently start to slide away.
Silpats work extremely well for macarons but parchment paper will also work. Add a dot of better all 4 corners of the parchment paper so it does not move when piping the batter. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). Pipe ~1" sized (3 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets 1" apart. They will slightly spread.
Tap the trays onto a flat surface about 10 times to release any air bubbles. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Let the macarons sit on the counter for 30 minutes. While they sit, preheat the oven to 300F. Tops will be dry to the touch; that's when you know you're ready to bake.
Top with dried, crushed lavender leaves for decoration.
Bake total of 12 minutes, rotating 1/2 way through. They will form their "feet" at the 1/2 way mark. I turned down the oven to about 280F for the second half as my oven is on the hotter side.
Take it out of the oven to cool. DO NOT REMOVE MACARONS STRAIGHT OUT OF THE OVEN. Wait until cool to the touch to gently remove off the tray and onto a rack to finish cooling.
EARL GREY BUTTERCREAM: Make a strong brew of earl-grey and lavender tea using 2 tsp of tea leaves steeped in 2 Tbsp boiling water. Wait to cool.
Option: Add additional crushed lavender leaves to the buttercream. Gives it texture and a POP of beautiful fragrance.
Place into a pastry bag (or ziploc with the corner cut). Gently pipe a generous dallop on 1 macaron shell. Top with the second shell and carefully press to adhere.