Chocolate Macarons with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Buttercream

October 26, 2009

Chocolate Macarons with Peanutbutter Creamcheese Buttercream

I’ve tried to remember the first time I saw a macaron, but honestly, I can’t.  It surely wasn’t until I started writing here, more and more frequently crossing paths with amazing people who bake amazing desserts at home with little or no formal training.  I’d not heard of Pierre Herme, either.  No, I was caught up in the the world of savory dishes with only an occasional dessert made for a special occasion coming from my kitchen rather than the circular, often brightly colored sweet sandwiches that comically remind me of tiny hamburgers — or perhaps moon pies.

Even after I’d begun to realize that macarons were a fascination for many and saw them in every imaginable color and flavor, it wasn’t until a year ago that I tasted my first:  antique rose in color, delicately crisp, and oh so sweet, it tasted of rose as well.  For someone used to sinking her teeth into a nice bran muffin, I was a bit perplexed and beginning to understand what all the fuss was about.  There didn’t appear to be much to the tiny thing, and yet I knew it was quite the opposite.  A paradox.

I’ve wanted to make macarons for quite a while now, and yet I’ve procrastinated.  Instead of delving into the endless recipe variations, comparing quantities of ingredients, and analyzing techinque, I’ve gazed at the beautiful the colors and admired perfect the shapes.  Finally, I was forced to consider not only how a macaron is made, but to make them along with countless other bakers this month.  The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

After a few days of reading everything I could find about macarons and sifting through the forum comments and advice at The Daring Kitchen, I decided to devote a Sunday to the task.  Not a frilly person by nature, I skipped the gorgeous pinks and bright greens and headed straight for the sturdy, practical flavors of chocolate and peanut butter.

In a house full of men, what would you expect?


Chocolate Macarons with Peanutbutter Creamcheese Buttercream

Chocolate with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Buttercream

Makes 12 filled macarons

3 egg whites
50 gr. granulated sugar
200 gr. powdered sugar (minus 2 T)
110 gr. ground almonds or almond meal
2 T unsweetened cocoa

The day before you plant to make the macarons, place the egg whites in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap letting them sit at room temperature for 24 hours.  If you prefer, you can do this in the fridge as well.  In fact, you may also use fresh egg whites if you put them in the microwave to dry them for about 15 seconds on 50% power.

Prepare 2 large baking pans with silicone liners and position the oven racks in the center of the oven.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the powdered sugar, ground almonds, and cocoa.  Pulse to mix well and set aside.

Put the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat them just until they’re foamy.  Gradually add the granulated sugar with the mixer running on high until the meringue is glossy.  Remove the bowl from the stand.

Add the almond mixture to the meringue and give it a quick fold to incorporate the dry ingredients.  Using no more than 50 strokes in total, working quickly and gradually slowing, carefully fold the mixture until it flows in a steady, thick ribbon from the spatula.  Make sure it is not over mixed.  To test the batter, drop a small spoon full onto a plate.  If it flattens out, then it’s ready.

Fill a bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe circles about 1-1/2″ in diameter onto the silicone lined baking pans.  Set on the counter to dry about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Bake the macarons about 15-16 minutes.  Remove carefully to baking racks to cool completely.

IMG_6676

Chocolate Macarons

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Buttercream

12 oz. cream cheese at room temp
1-3/4 c. powdered sugar, divided
6 T unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. heavy cream
1/3 c. chunky peanut butter

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and 1-1/4 c. of the powdered sugar until creamy.  In a separate bowl, whip the cream to medium peaks, and gradually beat in the remaining powdered sugar.  With the mixer on medium high, add the cream to the butter mixture in three parts.  Finish by adding the peanut butter in several large dollops until well blended.  Chill for 1 hour before filling the completely cooled macarons.

To assemble the macarons, spread about 1 tablespoon on one macaron held in the palm of your hand.  Top with a second macaron and gently twist.  Refrigerate the macarons at least one day for best results.

Peanutbutter Creamcheese Buttercream

Chocolate Macarons with Peanutbutter Creamcheese Buttercream

Kelly’s Notes:

  • The chocolate macaron recipe I used after much deliberation is one of Tartelette’s.  This would be called an infraction and I expect either Lis or Ivonne to incarcerate me momentarily.  I will say, however, that Helen’s recipe actually made me feel as if I knew what I was doing.  Call me a coward.
  • I purchased a carton of egg whites for this challenge expecting to screw up several times and ended up using fresh egg whites instead.  Helen’s microwave technique to dry the egg whites works!  In the meantime, I am drying out egg whites to give the challenge recipe a go next weekend.
  • Reading like a crazed woman about how to fold the macaron batter must have paid off.  They ended up looking like macarons.
  • I read so many conflicting bits of advice regarding oven temperatures and settings, I decided to use convection since it’s what I most often use. Unfortunately, the baking time of 8-10 minutes suggested wasn’t nearly enough and I had to pop the macarons back into the oven twice.  I think in the long run, they still weren’t quite done.  Note the shriveled tops on a few as evidence as well as my fingernail pockmarks from handling them too much.  Poor things.
  • The buttercream recipe was adapted from a recipe I found a Epicurious and I have tons left over.
  • I refrigerated my macarons overnight before tasting them.
  • The flavor verdict is good:  I’m not a big peanut butter fan, so I’m pleased to say the flavor is mellow and blends quite nicely with the chocolate.  Overall, it’s a good flavor.  The exterior of the macaron is crisp, provides a nice crunch, and becomes more chewy as you work through the center.  I know.  Not quite done, right?

Chocolate Macarons with Peanutbutter Creamcheese Buttercream

Mandatory Challenge Items:
-Make Claudia Fleming’s recipe for macaroons
-Fill and sandwich the macaroons

Optional:
-Flavor variations and decoration
-If you have a nut allergy, find a good nutless meringue cookie recipe but you must make them into cookie sandwiches with some kind of filling

If you are vegan, I don’t know what you can use as an egg substitute. Suggestions are welcome.

Preparation time: Not taking into account the amount of time it takes for you to bring your egg whites to room temperature, the whole baking process, including making the batter, piping and baking will probably take you about an hour to an hour and a half. How long it takes to make your filling is dependent on what you choose to make.

Actual baking time: 12 minutes total, plus a few minutes to get your oven from 200°F to 375°F.

Equipment required:
• Electric mixer, preferably a stand mixer with a whisk attachment
• Rubber spatula
• Baking sheets
• Parchment paper or nonstick liners
• Pastry bag (can be disposable)
• Plain half-inch pastry bag tip
• Sifter or sieve
• If you don’t have a pastry bag and/or tips, you can use a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off
• Oven
• Cooling rack
• Thin-bladed spatula for removing the macaroons from the baking sheets
• Food processor or nut grinder, if grinding your own nuts (ouch!)

Ingredients
Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.

Yield: 10 dozen. Ami’s note: My yield was much smaller than this. I produced about two dozen filled macaroons.

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

MaryMoh October 26, 2009

these looks so pretty and delicious. I have been seeing macaroons very often on the net. I just admire all those cute little thing. Have never made them myself but one day I’m going to try. Thanks for sharing.

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Amy I. October 26, 2009

AH! So that’s the trick. I think if I had baked mine for 15-16 minutes, they would have been beautiful like yours! I made PB frosting for the first time recently and it was divine. If I make these again, I’ll try your flavor combo.

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courtney October 27, 2009

You nailed it. They do taste better a day or two later. My aunt calls them hamburger cookies too. Convection in pastry is always best I was told. I know the men folk were happy with these!

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Loie October 27, 2009

Oooh yum. I was going to do peanut butter filling for mine, but instead opted for chocolate orange. I think I might try your take next time!

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Sunita October 27, 2009

I agree, my macs took approximately 15 minutes to bake. I’m loving your filling- a fan of peanut butter!

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Meeta October 27, 2009

mine took about 15 mins too. i learned that from the first time i made them) they were perfect. these kelly look grand i seriously have to give the chocolate version a try and i just adore the peanut butter filling!

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Ellie October 27, 2009

Your macarons are perfect!! Love the THICK filling!! Did I hear peanut butter? Drool!!!!!!

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Dharm October 27, 2009

These look fantastic. Love the choice of filling too!!

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Cathy at Wives with Knives October 27, 2009

Your macarons and your photos are perfect! I had a macaron for the first time last spring in Paris and I’m now addicted. Can’t wait to give it a try. Wonderful post.

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Judy October 27, 2009

Love these!!! They turned out perfect. I love the flavor combos as well. Peanut butter and chocolate…

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grace October 27, 2009

i didn’t and haven’t gotten into the whole macaron obsession, but i could certainly put away a few of yours. perfect combination, and that’s all there is to it.

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Alana October 27, 2009

look at the perfect feet! I am in the process of failing at my first macaron making- but yours are making me hungry…

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Caitlin October 27, 2009

That flavor combo is one of my favorites – and your macarons look just perfect! FYI: I’ve found with 1 1/2″ macarons, 18 min is just about right.

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Tartelette October 27, 2009

Look at you! Miss Mac! They are gorgeous!! Glad my instructions were clear :)

I love the flavor combo you chose!

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steph (whisk/spoon) October 27, 2009

those “practical” and “sturdy” flavors are some of the best! well done!

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Lauren October 27, 2009

Peanut butter cream cheese buttercream? Yes please! I’m all for sturdy flavours on a sweet dessert =D.

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Bellini Valli October 27, 2009

Chocolate and peanut butter works for me. Great job!!!

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DaviMack October 27, 2009

They look delicious! I wonder, though: how many [skinny] men do you have around, that you can keep cooking like this!?!

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Karen@Mignardise October 27, 2009

The peanut butter filling turns them into something much more American than the typical pastel colored macaron.
I’m sure they were delicious!

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Jill October 27, 2009

One of my favorite combinations–peanut butter and chocolate. After a disaster using the challenge recipe, I had to go back to the tried and true one from Tartelette. I love the step-by-step photos!

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Susan at SGCC October 27, 2009

Brava, Kelly! Your macarons turned out perfectly! I must be macaron-impaired. I made 11 batches just to get 4 decent ones!

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deeba October 27, 2009

Gorgeous macs KP, frilly & full of character. You got them on their feet in style. Love the flavour combination! A carton of egg whites? Whoa…you live in a luxurious country.I had to even make my almond meak from scratch…

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Elle October 27, 2009

Chocolate and peanuts…a perfect fall combo and great in macarons if yours are the ones. Just lovely!

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Alpineberry Mary October 28, 2009

From afar they look like ice cream sandwiches, but up close they are unmistakably macarons (and perfect ones too). It’s funny how many bakers tried the assigned recipe only to end up using Tartelette’s recipe with more success. I’m sure Lis and Ivonne will give you pass :)

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Sues October 28, 2009

WOW! I’ve been loving everyone’s macarons, but chocolate and peanut butter is SO much better than anything I’ve seen yet. I bet these were amazing :)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 28, 2009

They’re beautiful, and sound SO delicious!!

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megan October 28, 2009

They look perfect to me and I love the flavor combo. Next time I want to use Tartletts recipe. I hear it gives better results!

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Bellini Valli October 28, 2009

Giz and I will see you at Foodbuzz:D

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Divina October 29, 2009

Aren’t they the most gorgeous macaroons? Perfect combination. They’re probably the most common compared to other macaroons but this is the flavor that I would pick.

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Anda October 29, 2009

They look so good and the filling sounds really yummy!

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D. @ Outside Oslo October 29, 2009

Those look wonderful. I applaud you for being up for the Daring Bakers challenge! That seems like a great opportunity to try making things one otherwise may not attempt.

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ingrid October 30, 2009

Hey, you’re a daring baker to challenge the challenge and go your own way. (yeah, I’m confused too!) :)

Kudos on your macaron success!

Btw, Love your filling ratio! Spot on perfect!

Happy Friday!
~ingrid

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Rylan: Art and Appetite October 30, 2009

What a great combo! This is worth the trip to the emergency for someone with peanut allergies, hehe (just kidding of course).

Thanks for sharing.

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Blond Duck October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

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waterrose October 30, 2009

WHoa….yum alert! Happy Halloween!

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Lisa October 31, 2009

Yeah, no.. you’ll get no chastizing from this lady. That recipe was horrible. I’m really sorry to say that, don’t mean to offend anyone, but there was something wrong about it.. too many failures for it to be the bakers’ fault and not the recipe, you know?

I only had luck when I moved on to Veronica’s recipe, so I feel ya. Your macs look and sound delightful, by the way. :D

Love you!
xoxoxoxox

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Hilda November 2, 2009

No comment, other than to say where is my box of these? I still haven’t gotten anything in the mail? Hello? Anyone there?

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Lisa November 2, 2009

Kelly, I think your macaron flavor is my favorite in this challenge. It’s a must try for me, as you know me and chocolate plus peanut butter have been carrying on a torrid affair for years! That said, they’re also beautiful!! Mouth watering photos too! You never fail to excite the senses!

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Esi November 3, 2009

Your macarons are spectacular. You probably know by now that many people went with Helen’s recipe after failing with the original. I love that thick frosting in the middle too. You did a really great job! (PS, I am sooooo looking forward to this weekend!!)

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kellypea November 5, 2009

Thanks Esi — Helen’s recipe worked perfectly. I still owe myself a few more opportunities making macs to really get the hang of it. Definitely looking forward to this weekend. Should be quite a bit of fun!

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clumbsycookie November 5, 2009

Never ever will you go wrong with pb and chocolate. Forget about the macarrons, I’d eat that filling with a spoon!

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Teenie November 5, 2009

Your macaroons turned out beautiful! I’ve never seen cartons of egg whites – I’ll have to be on the lookout for that!

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