Lavender and Orange Macarons

I never saw or tasted French macarons until I was 18. It was my first trip to Paris and I remember seeing colorful pyramids in many patisserie windows. My family made almond macaroons but they were very different, cluster almond cookies.

I love how colorful, versatile and delicate macarons are but what I love the most is how temperamental they are. Yes, temperamental. It is almost like they are testing your baking and science skills. They are challenging and intimidating if you have never made them before. This is also one of those recipes that you cannot just read about, you really have to look at your ingredients, the humidity in your kitchen, your oven… many factors involved here.

The basic macaron recipe has been adapted from a recipe by Sebastien Cannone, MOF, chef instructor and owner of the French Pastry School in Chicago. I have been to four of his classes and he is phenomenal. Not only is he a technical genius, he focuses very much in the quality of ingredients, flavors and all senses involved in the culinary experience. On top of that, he is a great communicator… Very, very inspiring man.

I would say that there are several keys to a beautiful macaron. One is that the egg whites we use are somewhat old. This means that some water content has evaporated and more solid matter is left which will help in the stability of the meringue. For that, I separate the egg whites from the yolks a couple of days before I am going to make the recipe. I leave the egg whites in a bowl uncovered in the refrigerator until I am ready to use them.

The type of oven also plays a big role in the outcome. I am afraid it might take several batches of ruined macarons to come up with the perfect ones. The oven temperature and how even the heat is distributed is key. So test a couple of times.


I would describe these macarons as lavender and orange scented rather than full, bursting flavor ones. I like the hint of lavender and the freshness of the orange against the almond. I love almonds so I really wanted these macarons to be simple.

So finally, here is the recipe.

LAVENDER AND ORANGE MACARONS

Makes about 4 dozen small macarons

181 grams almond flour
243 grams powdered sugar
138g egg whites
3 grams egg white powder
2 grams of finely ground sea salt
81 grams granulated sugar
Zest of one orange
5 drops of blue food coloring (I used a natural food coloring made from blueberry concentrate)
dried lavender leaves

In a large bowl, sift together the almond flour, powdered sugar and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the egg white and the egg white powder. Whip in medium speed until egg whites start to increase in volume. I know a lot of recipes say to whip the egg whites at high speed but I find that it is better to start slower to build a better structure for the meringue.

When the egg whites are almost fully whipped and very fluffy, slowly start adding the sugar, sprinkle it in. After all the sugar is incorporated, continue to whip the meringue in high speed now until stiff peaks have formed. This is when we will add the orange zest and the food coloring.

Add the dry ingredients to the meringue and with a spatula, fold the meringue into the dry ingredients. This is called “macaroner” and is also a tricky part. It is better to fold slowly and test a couple of macarons because it is possible to over fold this mixture. We are looking for a shiny mass. For this amount of ingredients, I would say that it will only take about 10 to 15 strokes. But again, it is better to check for consistency. We are looking for a mass that spreads a little but not too much otherwise our macarons will be flat.

Pipe the mass onto half sheet pans lined with silpats. Sprinkle the wet macarons with dried lavender leaves. Make sure to pick out any stems or hard pieces.

Let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes so they dry. We want the tops to not stick to our finger when we touch them. This will ensure a crack-free macaron.


Have your oven preheated at 325 degrees. Bake one sheet pan at a time positioning it in a middle rack. Bake for about 8 minutes and rotate sheet pan to ensure even baking. It should take about 14 minutes but that depends on the oven. We want to be able to pick up the macaron without it falling apart but we don’t want to over bake it either. It is better to bake it slowly so no browning occurs.

Remove them from the oven and slide the silpat onto a cold surface. Let them cool on the silpat.

ORANGE BUTTERCREAM FILLING

I don’t ever follow a recipe for buttercream. When I was in culinary school my chef instructor, chef Schmidtke drilled in my head the numbers 1-2-3, meaning 1 part of egg whites, 2 parts of sugar and 3 parts of butter. So that’s what I follow.

50 grams of egg whites
100 grams of granulated sugar
150 grams of room temperature unsalted butter
Zest of one orange

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together egg whites and the sugar lightly. Place over a water bath until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch. Bring bowl to the electric mixer and whip until stiff peaks form. Add butter, a tablespoon at a time while whipping. Add the orange zest and mix until incorporated.

Pipe a teaspoon of the buttercream on a macaron and top with another one that is similar size.


I know I probably bored you with all my extra comments but I hope you try to make them. They are worth the effort for sure!


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29 Responses to “Lavender and Orange Macarons”

  1. B says:

    These macaroons with relatively exotic flavours are just making my mouth water! I’m sure the combination of the acid of the orange and the perfum of the lavender are unbeatable and worth making the effort! It’s so great to get recipes of flavours such as this, instead of the overall classics chocolate, strawerry or pistache! We’re waiting for you in Paris! And Thanks for the extra-comments! All those references to your life and experiences show all your love and passion for what you do! A terrific asset, which I’m sure translates in unbeatable tastes!

  2. Tartelette says:

    Gorgeous! I love making them but rarely enjoy eating them…I know I am weird. I just love coming up with different and excotic flavors. Beeautiful job again!

  3. These are beautiful! I love macarons, but I have never made them. I’ve been too intimidated! I have got to try them for myself.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi,

    you use blue food colouring but the macaroons are not blue? Why?

    Would you use more colouring to change the colour/

    Thank you

  5. Aran says:

    Well, first of all, I used a natural blue color which is made from blueberry juice, so the potency is never the same. Secondly, I didn’t want bright blue macarons because that’s not my style. I wanted a tint of lavender color, so I just added a couple of drops. If you want a deep blue, you can certainly use a gel artificial color and saturate the meringue with it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi there,
    Been an avid reader of yr blog. I want to ask you. You use the egg white powder. Can i substitute with the regular egg white? What’s the measurement wud be?
    thanks a bunch,
    Deby

  7. Aran says:

    Hi Deby!

    Thank you very much. So for the macarons… you can omit the egg white powder. It’s there for extra solid content in the eggs resulting in a more stable meringue. However, you can achieve that by really aging your egg whites. So, separate your eggs and let the egg whites sit in the refrigerator uncovered for 3 days. Very important… if you need 138 gr of egg whites, crack more eggs than you need, let’s say 150 gr of egg whites. As they age, they lose some water content therefore less weight.

    So after they have aged uncovered for 3 days, weigh exactly 138 gr of egg whites and then make the macarons.

    The aging allows for the moisture to evaporate from the egg whites which means higher solid content as well as higher acidity as they age.

    I hope this makes sense and that I didn’t confuse you. Please ask me any other questions you might have.

  8. Anonymous says:

    aran,
    thank you so much for yr explaination. I’m so surprised to see the measurement. What gonna happen if instead of 138g of white egg, i put 140gr? Is the chances to fail very high here? Does it has to be very precise? Sorry, to much question. Am a newbie. But i wish i cud learn something from u.
    Deby

  9. Aran says:

    Hi Deby-

    You can use 140 gr instead of 138 grams… nothing will happen. The reason why I am so precise is because, first this is Sebastien cannone’s recipe and I don’t want to alter it and second, because as professionals, when we make larger batches and multiply let’s say by 10, then that small difference starts to get bigger and we don’t want. But for you, don’t worry, it will work the same!

  10. Jaime says:

    Thank you so much for your tips. They are temperamental. When the meringue is mixed, right before you put it in the pastry bag, what should the consistency be? Is there anything you can compare it to? I love these so much. They’re very beautiful, and taste even better. Thank you for your inspiring blog!

  11. Aran says:

    Hi Jamie-
    Thanks so much for your kind comments. They mean the world to me.
    Regarding the macarons… the mass or batter is supposed to look like flowing magma, a little bit. Kind of like what ice cream looks like right out of the ice cream machine. It’s better to mix it a little bit less the first time you make it so you can test it and see if it needs to be mixed further. Pipe a couple of macarons and see what they do. If they keep that little tip after piping, they need to be mixed a little bit more. If you over mix the batter, the macarons will not keep the round shape and they will be flat. So it’s a matter of trial and error.

    I hope this helps. Thanks again!

  12. They ARE gorgeous!
    I was wondering about what brand of almond flour you use or do you make it yourself?
    I always thought that was key too along with aging the egg whites..?
    Thanks Aran!

  13. Monique says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I have a large bag of fresh lavender from a beautiful local farm, and was looking for the perfect macaron recipe. Yours has been my guide ever since, even though I can’t measure in grams. I look forward to investigating your other macaron recipes with great delight.

  14. Julia says:

    Hi Aran, I came across this recipe during some ‘lavender research’. I have just attempted a lavender flavoured macaron, and was originally planning to trial this taste combination. Due to a bit of a snag, it didn’t work out (unfortunately!), but I was interested to know if you liked how these two flavours came together. You mention they were more a ‘scent’ than a ‘full’ flavour…..

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hi,

    I recently made a batch of macaroons (my first time ever)and although i coloured them with blue food colouring they turned brown in the oven! What can i do to stop this occuring? I’ve seen gorgeous pictures of lovely coloured macaroons and really hoped mine would turn out that way but they didn’t. Can you suggest why this happened and what i can do to prevent this?

    Thanks.

  16. Aran says:

    Anonymous- that is quite common. what you can do is after they have been in the oven for about 10 minutes and enough to develop the thin crust, then cover the top with aluminum foil (a sheet gently p;aced on the sheetpan). this will allow you to finish baking them without turning them brown. try this and let me know.

  17. zero.g.la says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  18. Bobby Jay says:

    I just made these and they are amazing! The shell was perfect, and the orange butter cream divine. Since only a few lavender leaves stuck to the shells, I added some powdered lavender leaves to the butter cream and got some of the same effect.

    Aran, your blog is my favorite: not just beautiful, but also practical. I have made many of your recipes, nearly always with great success.

    Thank you for sharing your concepts, photos, recipes and stories.

  19. Am I missing something? I don’t see lavender in the ingredient list.

  20. christa- the dried lavender leaves were listed on the method not on the ingredient list. i corrected it now. thanks!

  21. Ondriana says:

    Hi Aran,
    I recently discovered you blog and i am trying to make your macarons. However i was wondering how I would convert the recipe to ounces. Or if you know of a good converter I could find online? thanks so much! If you wouldnt mind emailing me but If not that totally fine.
    Ondeluca@liberty.edu

  22. Ondriana- It’s easy. 1 oz = 28.375 grams so all you have to do is divide the recipe by that number and you will get your oz. thanks!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful!!! I love your recipes and your pictures. I would like to know if it is possible to reduce the amount of sugar (perhaps at least from the buttercream filling?) and is it possible to take something else than orange?

    Thank you and warm regards,

    RT

  24. Aran,

    I made ube and pistachio macarons today using another recipe. It did not rise as much. The batter was a bit too liquid but they tasted great. Next time, I’ll try your recipe!

    http://www.simplydolicious.com/2010/08/ube-and-pistachio-macarons/

  25. Here’s my ube and pistachio macarons. I made them today and they tasted great!

    http://www.simplydolicious.com/2010/08/ube-and-pistachio-macarons/

  26. I tried those lovely cookies yesterday, but even if they all failed raising, the result was a licking fingers lavender and orange flavored. My self and my friends couldn’t stop eating them :)

    Thank you very much for sharing,

    Catalina

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