Lavender macarons

I’m one of those ‘safe’ macaron flavours person; if I begin to pick macarons out at a shop, I would naturally gravitate towards certain flavours like salted caramel, hazelnut praline, vanilla and  dark chocolate.

My chosen box of macarons would be in varying shades of creams and browns – not a palette of colours that one would associate with a box of macarons. Even when baking macarons at home, I find myself baking those same flavours.

This time, I decided to venture out of my comfort zone, to add another colour to that box. Lavender seems to be a natural choice since I really like the flavour that comes through in my baked goods like sable bretons, lavender and blueberry friands, and milk chocolate and lavender tarts.

I adapted the recipe for the shell from my basic macaron recipe and added blitzed up lavender buds. You would be surprised what a quarter of a teaspoon of lavender can do.

For the macaron fillings, I wanted something that would complement and enhance the flavour of the lavender shells. I decided to go with two flavours of buttercream for these macarons, filling half with vanilla and the other half with honey lavender. While you can almost always rely on a good vanilla buttercream to go with lavender, I think I enjoyed the more pronounced honey lavender buttercream. Honey a really fine partner for lavender and it should be used with lavender more often.

I’m really glad that I took that leap out of my comfort zone because I think these are likely going to be my new favourite.

And you have to agree the pastel purple of these macarons is so girly and sweet? I think these lavender macarons are befitting the Queen of macarons, Marie Antoinette, if I say so myself.

Can you imagine these sweet-looking little snacks making an appearance on her tea trolley amidst other chi-chi Parisien tea snacks?

Recipe: Lavender macarons
Makes 40 regular macarons

These lavender macarons have that subtle lavender and pleasant floral flavour. They taste wonderful paired with a plain, simple vanilla buttercream or a floral honey lavender buttercream.

For more tips and details on macaron making, refer to my previous posts – How to make chocolate macarons and Seeking perfection: Fleur de sel caramel macarons.

Macaron shells

Ingredients:

Group 1:
150g ground almond meal
150g icing sugar
1/4 tsp culinary lavender buds
60g *egg whites, room temperature (*aged if possible)

Group 2:
150g caster sugar
30ml water
60g *egg whites, room temperature (*aged if possible)
a few drops of purple food colouring, I use wilton colour paste (go easy on the colour!)

Method:

  1. Prepare your baking trays: Place baking parchment on trays.
  2. Dry the ground almond meal in a 50 degrees celcius oven for approximately 10 minutes. Then process it in a food processor with the icing sugar and lavender buds.
  3. Sift the ground almond meal and icing sugar in a bowl and whisk with egg whites in group 1 until you get a smooth paste.
  4. Place egg whites from group 2 into a greasefree* mixer bowl.
  5. Heat sugar and water mixture in a clean stainless steel pot on medium heat. Just use a clean pastry brush and tap water to brush down the sugar on the sides of the pan. Once the sugar mixture reaches 105 degrees celcius, start the mixer and whisk the egg whites to soft peaks.
  6. When the sugar mixture reaches 118 degrees celcius, remove pot from stove and add the colour paste before immersing the pot into a basin of warm water to halt the cooking process.
  7. Once the sugar mixture stop bubbling profusely, wipe the bottom of the pot dry before you begin to pour the mixture in a steady stream into the egg whites while the mixer is on high speed. Whisk at maximum speed for about 5 minutes before turning down to medium speed for about 3-4 minutes. Then, let the meringue cool slightly at low speed.
  8. Once the meringue has cooled, incorporate a large scoop of meringue into the group 1 ingredients. Fold to combine.
  9. Then, add the rest of the meringue into the group 1 ingredients and fold through gently.
  10. When it is well-combined, smear the mixture against the sides of the bowl with your spatula to achieve macaronage. This should be done about 10- 12 times to achieve a smooth, glossy mixture, without holding peaks. When you lift your spatula, the mixture should fall in about 5-6 seconds. The consistency should be similar to your choux pastry mixture.
  11. When it is done, pipe the macaron shells onto a baking sheet. Stop piping once the mixture reaches the inner edges of the circumference. The mixture will spread a little.
  12. Let the macarons rest for about 30-45 minutes in an air-conditioned environment  until they have form a skin and the batter does not stick to your fingers when you touch it.
  13. Bake in a preheated oven on the center rack at 150 degrees celcius for about 15-18 minutes. You can remove them from the oven once the bases are dry. You can try lifting one shell out to test.
  14. Cool the macaron shells before attempting to peel them off the baking sheet.

Vanilla buttercream
fills 40 regular macarons

Ingredients:
120g unsalted butter, softened
200g icing sugar, sifted
2-3 tbsp full cream milk
1 tsp vanilla bean extract/
or 1/2 vanilla bean, split

Method:

1. Start by creaming the butter on medium speed for 3 minutes. Butter should start to look pale and light. Add in half of the  sifted icing sugar and cream on medium-high speed until combined. Then add the remaining icing sugar and cream for 5 minutes.

2. Add in the vanilla bean extract/vanilla bean and milk and beat on medium-high speed for another 5 minutes. The buttercream should be smooth, fluffy and of spreadable consistency.

Honey lavender buttercream
Fills 40 regular macarons

Ingredients:
120g butter
160g icing sugar
1.5 tsp honey, prefably floral honey like clover honey
1-2 tbsp *lavender milk

*Lavender milk can be prepared by steeping 1/4 tsp of lavender buds to warmed milk for about 1 hr.

Method:
1. Start by creaming the butter on medium speed for 3 minutes. Butter should start to look pale and light. Add in half of the  sifted icing sugar and cream on medium-high speed until combined. Then add the remaining icing sugar and cream for 5 minutes.

2. Add in honey and the lavender milk and beat on medium-high speed for another 5 minutes. The buttercream should be smooth, fluffy and of spreadable consistency.

To assemble:

  1. Pair up similar sized macaron shells together before you begin piping the filling.
  2. Using a plain nozzle size no 8 or 10, pipe the buttercream filling onto the center of a macaron shell and place the second shell on top of it and twist it gently until the filling comes right to the edges of the macaron.
  3. Place it into the fridge to allow the macarons to mature at least 24 hours before consuming. This maturation process is important for the macaron shells to absorb the flavours and moisture from the filling giving it a nice chewy center.

* Finish the matured macarons within 1-2 days otherwise the shell will be too soft.

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About jothetartqueen

My first love is eating. A very close second is my love for baking and cooking. I passionately believe that the best form of appreciation of something is almost always through the creation of it. This passion took me on a whirlwind, unforgettable ride through the patisserie diploma course at Le Cordon Bleu (Sydney). Join me on my discovery for the love of food – through the kitchen, through the markets, through experimenting, tasting and loving.
This entry was posted in Baking, Cookies, Gluten-free, Macarons and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Lavender macarons

  1. Jo these look beautiful. I am just like you, keep it simple when it comes to macaron flavours. But just the colour alone and the thought of that delicate lavender flavour changed my mind. I’ll have to give these a try!

  2. chewoutloud says:

    These are gorgeous, and love the lavender shade you used.

  3. lynabelles says:

    clap clap clap! these are just a joy to look at, i could only imagine how they taste…hmmm, yummy! i want this 🙂

  4. Hehe I think I’m the opposite, the more unusual the flavour, the more I go for it! Have you ever tried savoury macarons? They’re really interesting! 🙂

  5. They are simply the perfect shade of lavender, so I can only imagine that the flavor matches that level of finesse. So lovely… I can see these easily gracing an elegant tea party anywhere in the world. 🙂

  6. Waow, those macaroons looks so lovely and delicious. Thumbs up to you. I never try any food with lavender, will definitely go for it if I stumble upon one. Cheers.

  7. pattyabr says:

    the pictures are gorgeous. I have some lovely lavender in my garden but I know nothing about how to pick the buds. any tips?

    • I’m not quite sure how because I using store-bought culinary lavender. It’s really perfect that you have lavender in your garden! I love its scent! You should perhaps do some research and use them in your baking!

  8. wheetnee says:

    Beautiful! I never had a lavender macaron before! Need to try one sometime soon!

  9. Pingback: Red Velvet Macarons | bitsnbooks

  10. radhika25 says:

    Love these! Where in Singapore do you get lavender buds?

    • I bought my lavender buds when I was travelling in France. I’ve seen them sold at dean & delucca but those are pretty pricy.

      Another place where you can find it is strangely at hock hua, the Chinese medical hall. However the lavender buds there are from china not France. I have not tried them but they are cheap!

      • radhika25 says:

        Jo, do you make your macarons with powdered egg whites? I’ve had so many disastrous results with regular egg whites that I feel reluctant to try… Do you teach? Could I learn from you 🙂
        I absolutely love your photographs. The mauve kitchen towel under the macarons looks so beautiful!

      • Thanks for your compliments.

        i dont make my macarons with powdered egg whites though I have heard of people mixing a little with their egg whites for a more stable structure.

        Macarons are really tricky to make esp in our weather and I have a lot of failures as well (no feet..cracks and so on)

        I dont teach but I can share with you some tips on macaron making. I think that starting out, perhaps the italian meringue method provides the most reliable and consistent result. Have you tried this method before? Though some people think that boiling a sugar syrup is troublesome, the syrup helps provide a stronger and more stable structure to the whites.

        secondly, i always dry out my almond meal in a low heat oven before baking my macarons. Dry them out until they do not clump between your fingers, this would remove excess moisture which is your enemy when it comes to macaron making.

        Lastly, you need to dry out the macarons after piping. In our weather, this can take a long time. I like to put it in my wine chiller or it’s best if its an air-conditioned environment – cool temp, low humidity.

        Let me know if you have specific problems with macarons or any other qns. I’ll try my best to help. =)

      • radhika25 says:

        I have tried the Italian method. That was better for me than the French, where it gushed out of my piping bag like erupting lava, not molten lava (to use Tartlette’s terminology). I want to learn it, but dread trying it out… Enrolled in a class too, but they don’t really teach you their trade secrets. I keep separating egg whites, leave on the counter for a couple of days, then make something else instead. It’s become a mental block 🙂
        Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed explanation for me. Will try it once more *fingers crossed*

      • ah..yeah..since you are familiar with the italian meringue method..you should give it a go again.

        you probably overmixed the meringue batter thats why it’s too “lava like”. should still be able to hold its form. consistency should be like when you are about to pipe out your choux pastry..if that helps?

        oh you went for a class? You are really serious in learning this eh? there’s nothing “trade secret: about a macaron. it shouldn’t be. hope you will be brave enough to try this again soon!

  11. Alicia says:

    may I know where I can get the lavender buds from in Singapore? 🙂 thank you in advance!

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