Lavender makes me think of the summer. I always imagine a countryside in Italy or France with fields of violet, or seemingly carelessly placed pots of lavender and rosemary basking joyfully under the hot sun as bees frolic from flower to flower. I think of lavender and lemon squeezed over desserts and fish alike. These visceral memories inspired this macaron. I felt like the violet flowers would pair beautifully with the flecks of lemon zest in the buttercream, and the flavors would meld beautifully together and help us celebrate the beginning of summer during our Memorial Day Cookout (see the rest of the menu here!). I do not like to use food coloring, but for a more pronounced violet, you can add a few drops of red and blue food coloring to the merengue before mixing in the almond sugar blend. I prefer to add a few whole lavender flowers to each cap after piping on the rounds.
Due to the famed difficulty of properly preparing these cookies, French pastry chefs would (and still do!) display them in their windows to show off their talent. See, a Macaron is not a Macaron without “Le pied” or the foot. Le pied is that fuzzy bit at the base of each cookie where the dough seems like it is escaping the beautiful dome above. That is exactly what is happening. The cookies are piped onto parchment and left for 10 minutes to form a crust. As the cookie bakes, the air expands and pushes some almond dough out to create the foot. When I first started making these 10 years ago, I read that you must smack the cookie sheet against the counter before letting the crust form. I have, without question, been following this advice and will require you to do the same!
Not into this flavor? Try out my Earl Grey Macaron with Lemon or Lavender Buttercream or my Chocolate Macaron with Orange Blossom Buttercream!
Lavender Macaron with Lemon Buttercream
3 cups confectioners sugar
2 2/3 cup ground almonds
4 tbsp dried lavender flowers
6 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cream of tartar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment (or measure 3 sheets of parchment for your cookie sheet). Using a pencil, draw 1 1/4 inch rounds 1/2 inch apart on your cookie sheet. I used the smallest of my biscuit rounds as a tool, bottle caps work too. You need about 160 rounds.
- Mix confectioners sugar, almonds, and lavender together and grind in a food processor until smooth. If chunks are formed, break them apart with your fingers in a bowl.
- Whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
- Carefully add the sugar and whisk until smooth and shiny.
- Fold half of the almond mixture into the merengue.
- Carefully fold the second half into the merengue.
- Fill pastry bag with thickest round piping attachment. Pipe into pre-drawn circles, one cookie sheet at a time.
- Whack the cookie sheet against the counter and leave uncovered for 10 minutes to allow a shell to form. Do not skip this step!
- Bake for 15 minutes and slide off of cookie sheet onto cooling rack.
- To assemble, sandwich about 1/4-1/2 tsp buttercream between each set of shells. Store in an airtight container between layers of parchment in the fridge. Bring out at least an hour before serving.
Zest of one lemon
Juice of 1/4 lemon or a few drops of lemon extract
2/3 cup confectioners sugar
7 tbsp butter, softened
- Beat butter with sugar and lemon zest.
- Add either lemon juice or extract depending on how hot it is when you will be serving. I add juice if it is below 70 degrees and extract if above.
Total cooking time: with the piping and filling, about 3 hours, makes 60-80 Macaron
I am so excited to announce that I am publishing my first book!! If you have loved the recipes on ChezNousDinners, please consider funding my Kickstarter to publish Chez Nous: Communal Dinners!
I am thrilled to announce that we have raised over $2600 in the first 11 days! More than half way there!