I felt a little like Walt (or maybe Jessie) from Breaking Bad as I measured and weighed and piped for my first-ever attempt at making macaroons. I'm more of a guess-&-toss kind of cook, so this was really a departure for me, and I'm sure mine don't measure up to the amazing ones already submitted for this contest. But I did tinge my little babies a tender shade of pink, thanks to some liquid left over from poaching beets. AND I came up with a Passover-appropriate filling of which I am rather proud--combining tahini, honey and pomegranate molasses. Most importantly perhaps, this can be repurposed as a frosting on all manner of honey cakes and the like, punching up any dry old dessert into something truly divine. —gluttonforlife
2 dozen (without accidents)
grams egg whites (4 to be safe), held covered, overnight, at room temp
Push almond flour and confectioner’s sugar through a tamis. Mix together in a bowl and set aside. Mixture should be dry; if not, spread on a baking sheet and heat in your oven at its lowest setting for a few minutes.
Pass the egg whites through a fine sieve and into a large, clean stainless steel bowl. Whip until foamy, then add salt and cream of tartar. Increase speed to high, gradually adding sugar. Whip until peaks are stiff and shiny.
Using a flexible spatula, gently fold in the almond mixture in 3 increments. Stir in 2 teaspoons of beet liquid, if using. When small peaks dissolve to a flat surface, stop mixing. Resulting batter should be thick but flowy.
Fit a piping bag with a 3/8-inch round tip or cut the corner off a Ziploc bag and fill with batter. Starting in the middle and working outward, pipe 1 ½” circles 2” apart onto double-stacked baking sheets lined with Silpats. Tap firmly on the underside of the baking sheets to remove any air bubbles. Dry at room temperature for 1-2 hours so a thin skin forms.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Bake macarons for about 12 minutes, propping the oven door open slightly with a wooden spoon, and rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Remove macarons from oven and transfer Silpats to a cooling rack. When fully cooled, slide macarons off, gingerly, one at a time, with a metal offset spatula.
Pair macarons of similar size, and pipe or spread about 1/2-1 teaspoon of the filling (recipe follows) onto half of them. Sandwich with the other halves and refrigerate to allow flavors to meld. Bring back to room temperature before serving.
Halvah Filling/Frosting (about 2 cups)
Whisk tahini and honey together until well blended. Whisk in pomegranate molasses and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites and sugar. Set mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and heat mixture, whisking often, until it feels warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved, 3-5 minutes.
Transfer bowl to the mixer and, with the whisk attachment, whip on high speed until mixture is stiff and shiny, 3-5 minutes. Add tahini mixture, in 3 increments, each time mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Can be kept, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before using.