Pistachio Macarons

SONY DSCThis little green container has been staring me in the face for several weeks. Silently judging me for not adhering to my (secret) New Years goal of trying to post more timely content. (Just in case you don’t want to read about Christmas cookies three weeks after Christmas.)

This small green jar inspired me to make pistachio macarons for St. Patrick’s Day and then sat there in judgement when I didn’t do it quickly enough. Who does it think it is? Sigh.

I bought this crema pistacchi at the new Eataly downtown. I love the Eataly in New York, and treat it as a can’t-miss tourist destination every time I visit. So, when I heard about the one that was being built in Chicago, I was thrilled (involving all the chills that word implies), and it didn’t disappoint. I was very excited to walk away with this fun pistachio cream. Or is it créme? (P.S. I just figured out why you italicize foreign words! It’s so people don’t assume you’re trying to make up new words, or that you can’t spell, both of which are very true for me. Tangent over.)

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Macarons have a pretty rotten reputation for being hard to make, so I was surprised at how easily these came together. I read that you should age the egg whites … although how long they should be aged was not specific, so I separated the eggs in the morning and let them sit for a few hours. They whipped up quite nicely.

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Macarons seem to be typically made with almond flour or almond meal, which I could not find, but I read that the importance of almonds is that nuts don’t absorb the egg whites as easily as regular flour, so I used ground walnuts. They definitely tasted walnutty, but it worked.

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I used a pastry bag to pipe out the meringue-like concoction onto parchment paper, and let them sit about an hour. Heads up, they spread pretty thin. I pipped out way to much and made some pretty large cookies.  

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Assemble! And, ta-da! No, wait. I didn’t realize how wonky the cookie on the right looked until just now. Makes me love it more.

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Pistachio Macarons
Prep Time: 1 hr 15 min; Bake Time: 17 minutes

Ingredients for Macarons:
90 grams of egg whites (about three eggs), aged
2 tbsp granulated sugar
110 grams of ground walnuts (about 1 cup)
200 grams of powdered sugar (about 1 1/2 cups)

Ingredients for Filling:
Jar of Crema Pistacchi
Powdered Sugar
Milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 275°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Then, continuing to whip the egg whites, gradually add 2 tbsp granulated sugar. 

In a separate bowl, mix the ground nuts and powdered sugar. Fold the whipped egg whites into the nut/powdered sugar mixture. *If you want to color your macarons, add a couple of drops of food coloring about half way between adding the egg whites.

Put the mixture into a pastry bag with a large pastry tip. (Or, as I used, a Ziplock freezer bag with a hole cut out of the corner.) Pipe mixture onto lined baking sheet and let sit for an hour. This creates a hard shell. Bake for about 17-19 minutes. Let them cool on a wire rack.

Directions for the filling:

This is where I get really specific. The Crema Pistacchi was really liquidy, so I added a little powdered sugar to stiffen it up. But then it was too hard, so I added a little milk to make it more liquidy. That’s right. Go to town :). 

This macaron recipe was inspired by:

MarthaStewart.com
Taste.com
BraveTart.com

Baking Music: Flogging Molly (Not true, but it should have been! This was St. Patrick’s Day darn it!)

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